What’s your stress meter reading these days? Is it reaching new heights? Do happy, feel-good days seem a thing of the past?
There is, in this 21st century, an unending supply of sources of stress, from the moment we awake, dreading the long workday ahead, to the worrisome thoughts that keep us restless through the night.
Stress is self-perpetuating, and continually feeding on itself until depression or illness brings the individual to a full stop.
Not a good way to go. It makes much more sense to break the cycle with something as simple as journaling.
How can journal writing make a difference to your stress level?
Journaling is your opportunity to take a step back and observe. It’s your chance to reflect, ruminate, and even rectify. Your journal can become your little piece of heaven on earth, the sanctuary that keeps you on the safe side of sane.
- Build into your day a solid twenty minutes of alone time, somehow. Yes, it may be hard to do. Lock yourself in the bathroom if necessary. Twenty minutes is not too much for anyone to ask.
- Keep your notebook and pen somewhere that’s both handy and very safe.
- Write continuously for twenty minutes. When you find yourself pausing, start the pen moving again, if only to write gibberish. Do not rush; just maintain a steady, slow pace.
- Write whatever comes out of the end of your pen. There’s no need to think.
- When the time is up, stop writing.
- Do this practice daily for a week. Then spend the next journaling time re-reading your entries.
- After that, you may continue this same pattern or choose to spend a longer time with the practice each day. You may also continue the stream-of-consciousness writing or shift to more focused storytelling. Be sure you’re busy writing, and not daydreaming, though! If your pen’s been inactive for more than a minute or two, go back to free writing for a while.
- Periodically review your writings. Notice the ways the practice has had an impact on you.
Journaling is fun, easy, and readily available. It is also very likely to provide the antidote to stress that you so badly need. Twenty minutes a day, faithfully practiced, is all it takes to face everything else in your life with confidence and calm.
By Mari L. McCarthy – The Journaling Therapy Specialist, founder of Journaling for the Health of It™. Mari offers counseling and encouragement to writers through her many online journaling resources as well as private consultations. Please see http://www.createwritenow.com/journaling/ for further information. Mari’s latest publication is titled, Get A Job! Journal Your Way to Your Most Rewarding Career. Go to http://www.createwritenow.com/jobs-journaling-ebook/ for details.