Stress is a regular part of our lives. Where people differ, is how to go about dealing with it. There are healthy and destructive ways of dealing with pressure, and the route you take can ultimately alter the direction of your life for the better or worse. If you’re looking for an outlet, try journaling.
Over the years, there have been journals and diaries of soldiers published. For these brave men and women, journaling for them was a way to deal with the mental, emotional and physical stress that comes with being in combat. If it worked for them—and still to this day—then taking this approach will prove fruitful.
If you’re still on the fence or contemplating whether or not journaling is for you, here are six benefits of journaling for stress management.
1. Journaling helps you unplug from the world
Pen and paper have a way of grounding you. In a digital age where most of our day is spent looking at a screen, journaling provides the perfect opportunity to tune out from life, reflect and recharge. In this space, everything slows down. Journaling helps you bring into focus the things that affect you. Away from the distraction, you can come up with sober and firm ways to manage your stress.
A lot of the time we have a lot of voices going on around us. They can be coming from your phone, computer, colleagues, TV, friends, you name it. When you journal, you get to sit alone with your thoughts and find your authentic voice. You can make up your mind about specific issues and know where you stand. In essence, you see your true identity away from what others and society dictates.
2. Journaling teaches you gratitude
Keeping a gratitude journal or writing things you are grateful for in your journal dilutes the negativity in your life. Even in stressful moments, you become thankful for the things that are going right in your life. There are some great apps that you can use to remind you to check in throughout the day.
Another advantage of journaling what you are thankful for is that you’re able to be more empathetic toward others. Even if you’ve been mistreated or given negative feedback, you are less likely to be aggressive or retaliate in response.
In case you’re not convinced, here’s a video of people who tried journaling for just 30 days. It’s amazing how much of a difference journaling can make for relieving stress and providing you with mental clarity.
3. Journaling reduces stress quickly
Journaling has been used for emotional release and stress relief for centuries. No matter your age or life situation, journaling is an outlet that gives you a different perspective on an issue. Journaling reduces stress by helping to facilitate problem-solving. As a byproduct, your negative thoughts diminish and your gain a victor’s attitude toward trouble areas of your life.
In the same way that walking on fire can be beneficial, journaling has the same effect. Being honest with ourselves is a hard, especially when you’re continually uncovering things you don’t like about your behavior and character. It can quite honestly feel like an ordeal. But it’s also one of the biggest benefits of journaling for stress management.
4. Journaling gives you a sense of control
Journaling helps you see patterns of people, experiences, and thoughts that make your life stressful. Don’t stop at just writing your stressful times down, set self-improvement goals that’ll put you on track to a happier life.
For every problem or stressor in in your life, there’s something that can be done to make it better.
It doesn’t have to be dramatic; positive thinking has the power to transform your life. Writing is one of the paths to get to that state.
The concept of the law of attraction has its critics, but the fundamental idea is helpful. When you’re positive, your self-esteem increases and you’re able to make bolder choices. You can get “out there” more. Eventually, preparation (thinking positive thoughts and making positive changes) meets opportunity, and you’re able to get that which you’d always wanted.
5. Journaling helps you understand the source of your stress and anxiety
Have you been in a situation where someone asked you why you’re stressed or anxious and your answer was “I don’t know? I just am.” Then journaling is for you. If you’ve been journaling for many years, or even a few months, one of the basic principles is that it’s never always what you think it is. A lot of factors affect our outlook on life.
The first place to look for the reason why certain things cause you stress and anxiety is your childhood. Does being in a relationship bring more sorrow than joy? Do you always self-sabotage, ruining opportunities you’ve always wanted? It is likely that your mind is running a script from your childhood.
Journaling opens your eyes to the reality that a lot of what you do is unconscious. Your brain has a lot more information stored than you think. Turn it into a useful resource center to find solutions to your stress.
6. Journaling helps you track your progress
Journaling is an excellent tool for acknowledging milestones. This technique has been used by many psychotherapists to help patients track their progress. Doing this empowers you and gives you more confidence to continue setting goals, and actually accomplish them.
At the end of every week or month, have a check-in in your journal. Here, write down the ways you’ve handled stress, both good and bad. Highlight the things you need to change and applaud yourself for the steps you’ve taken.
Journaling is the Ultimate Tool for Stress Management
Consider the benefits of journaling for stress management that have been highlighted. Now, think about the ways in which you have been dealing with stress. If your current approach brings you more stress, then it’s time to consider a change. It may appear cumbersome if you’re not a writer, but it’s worth turning into a habit.
A lot of things that are beneficial to us don’t always come easy. When you feel stuck, read through this list again and push through.
For those who’ve been using other methods of stress management such as exercise, meditation and yoga, journaling will enhance your results.