Why Is Journaling A Form Of Stress Relief?

JournalsQuite often when you are under a lot of stress, or going through a traumatic situation, such as facing surgery for any reason, you may be advised to “write it down”.  This is therapeutic writing, or journaling as it is called, and it can really help you to get the the root cause of your stress and help you work through it. 

Like all forms of stress relief, though, it is not for everyone, but most individuals can benefit from taking time to write out their thoughts and deep feelings if they are willing to try.  And learning how this method of stress reduction can benefit you is one of the tricks to adopting it into your arsenal of stress relief tools. 

I first came across journaling after emergency major back surgery. Afterwards I was left relearning how to sit, stand and walk, knowing that I could have been paralysed had it not been successful. Journaling helped me because it acted as someone I could talk to – a close friend who wouldn’t judge or interrupt me. I used my notebook to pour out my fears, my frustrations and my struggles. I recorded what I’d found hard that day and what I’d found a bit easier. And I wrote down all the painkillers and antibiotics I had to take so that I could see the progress I was making as the dosage reduced. I can look back at the notebook I filled at the time and realise just how far I’ve come.

And all this is exactly why journaling works.  It promotes mental healing.

When you start to journal you begin by writing about all the negative stuff in your life – the why? why me? sort of things.  And as you write, you tap into all the negative energies and thoughts that you have lodged inside you – things that would grow and eat away at you if left alone – and you give vent to them.  This helps you to release all your mental anguish into the past, move through your negativity and help you to start to think more positively.

Journaling leads to physical healing too.  As you start to think more positively, your stress levels begin to reduce.  Lower stress levels cause elevated blood pressures to fall back to normal levels.  This helps to  improve heart health and also has a beneficial impact on the immune system.  In the long term this can lead to a significant improvement in general health and energy levels. 

And these days it couldn’t be easier.  You could of course do it the old fashioed way with pen and a notebook, like I did all those years ago, but most people seem to be online now and so you could set up a blog and write directly into that.  Or you could Facebook your progress, or type it into a Word file for your own private benefit. 

However you choose to do it, people who journal have access to a greater range of stress relief benefits than those who do not.  It is one of the easiest forms of stress relief I know.  Reading and writing are learnt together so the very fact you are reading this now means you have the ability to journal.  So if you don’t already, why not try journaling the next time you feel you just cannot cope.

Do you journal?  Please feel free to leave a comment below with your experiences.

The Only Guaranteed Way To Beat Stress is…

Best Stress Relief Techniques
No, It's Not Eating Chocolate!

I wonder how many people take stress relief seriously.  Sure, stress can lead to many serious, even fatal health conditions, can put untold pressure into already strained relationships and can cause untold misery as sufferers get pigeon-holed into desperate situations as they become blinkered to realizing their full potential (if you want help on this last one, just click on the ebook, top right). 

And all this can make anyone complain about their stress levels. But is it enough for them to take stress relief seriously?

I have discussed stress relief techniques and methods in numerous posts before, but the more I think about it, the more I come to realize that actually there is only ONE form of true stress relief.  Everything else simply alleviates the symptoms of stress for a finite length of time, and nothing more.

I know that everyone who exercises regularly, or who does a weekly yoga, salsa, zumba class or whatever, is going to think I’m wrong.  After all, exercise releases natural endorphins, but actually I don’t think even exercise is the ultimate stress relief.  I think it is an excellent way to manage the tension and stress that is built up in static muscles and so reduce your blood levels of stress hormones.  But again, these are only ways to deal with the stress once it has ALREADY built up.

So I’m going to stick my neck out here and argue that the ONLY way to reduce the stress in your life is to change your mindset.  If you change your attitude to it, then you will stop seeing every situation as stressful.

Think about it.  Not everyone perceives the same situation as equally stressful. I am sure that whenever a seasoned singer steps onto a stage to perform, they would be MORE stressed if there was nobody in the auditorium to hear them sing than if the 50,000 seater stadium was full. On the other hand, I would be more stressed in exactly the reverse situations!

So, it’s really what’s in your head that makes you stressed.  And to become less stressed you have to CHANGE what is in your head, your beliefs and attitudes. Let’s face it that is hard, and takes time to achieve.  Which is probably why people prefer to do “stress relief” in chunks, as and when they can fit it in.

But there is a “cheat’s” way of changing your mindset, if you want to try it.  And this works for me so it may also work for you.  Think of someone YOU believe is “laid back”.  It can be anyone at all, and you needn’t know them particularly well. But it is important that YOU believe they are relatively easy going about stress. Then next time you get into a situation that you find stressful and you start to feel the tension in the back of your neck, simply imagine yourself inside the “easy going” person’s head and imagine how they would feel and react. You will find that you do not get so stressed.

This is because imagining how your easy going friend would view the situation is actually an easier way of changing your own mindset.  By putting yourself inside their head and reacting in the same way as they would, actually lowers your own stress reflex, helping you to adopt a lower stress perspective.

So next time you are feeling pressured, rather that getting stressed and medicating your stress levels later, why not try this technique and choose not to get so stressed in the first place?

Leave a comment and let me know what you think.