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Journal Writing as a Way to Relieve Stress

Learn how writing down your thoughts can help after a hard day

Our life becomes more and more stressful each day. People tend to search for different ways to relieve the negative pressure of the modern world. One of the most popular ways to do so is to write a journal, in which you can put out everything that is on your mind. Various researches of expressive writing show that people who write their thoughts down make their immune system work better. Their blood pressure and sleep also normalize.

Writing a journal is a way to order your thoughts as well as to sum up your experience. It can bring you some important ideas. When you write something, your brain activates its left hemisphere that is responsible for creativity. Thus, making writing a journal your everyday habit will boost your creativity hugely. This helps you to unblock certain powers of your mind that can push you toward finding solutions for many problems. It is true that student who writes their journals face fewer difficulties in their studies. ‘The primary challenge of written tasks lies in the fact that such work requires creative skills from a student,’ says Charles Ebert, managing editor of EduBirdies. So, there is no wonder that any extra boosting of creative skills, such as journal writing, gives you some advantage.

Handwriting Vs. Typing

There are no strict rules for staying creative. Nevertheless, there are some general guidelines. Writing a journal is an indelible part of this process. Each person makes it uniquely. Digital ways of writing journals become really popular. However, scientists advice to use pen and paper. When you write something, you focus on the information that is on your mind. This helps to concentrate on the problem itself. More than that, handwriting is far more individual than typing. This process is based on creativity but not on mechanical process. Another feature of writing a journal with your own hand is that it keeps us from editing your thoughts. This helps you trace your own way of thinking and find out what lies in the foundation of your problems. Handwriting can also reduce the stress levels. So, even though handwriting becomes less popular nowadays, we advise you to restore this skill. It may seem difficult from the start but be sure that you will manage it in a short time. This skill is crucial even for college students, as good handwriting can heighten your test score from the 50th percentile to the 84th percentile.

Are there any limits?

In most cases, people tend to set their own limits when it comes to writing a journal. It is quite normal if you do it regularly. Some prefer to limit the number of pages they write. Others limit the time spent on writing. In our opinion, the second option is more effective when it comes to reducing stress. Limiting the number of pages can be stressful itself. After all, it sets a very specific milestone, while spending a certain amount of time is more connected with creativity.

Prevent perfectionism

Some people who start writing a journal are really concerned about the quality of their writing. Unfortunately, this can, once again, lead you to stress – especially if you are not satisfied with the content. Don’t forget that you do this for yourself. When you write a journal, you deal with your own emotions, thoughts, and ideas. Concentrate on what they mean to you and try to be honest with yourself. The more sincere you are, the more stress-relieving the process of writing a journal will be. Don’t accept it as a professional activity, as if you are a fiction writer. It should be a mere dialogue with yourself, not with the reader.

Let your writing flow

If you write a journal and want it to have the curing effect on you, forget about grammar and punctuation. Let your writing be a stream of consciousness. This will help you get to the roots of your problems and find a solution to them. It is extremely important when it comes to stress-reducing activity. Don’t try to think deeply when you write a journal. Let your intuition work and accept your thoughts the way they are. Your mind can lead you to incredibly fresh ideas when you free from structured thinking.

Find your writing nook

Try to find a special place where you can write a journal. No doubt, you can write down your thoughts whenever you are. Still, scientists advice to choose a special place for this activity. Writing a journal has to become ritual for you. And it will certainly benefit from a place you choose. This will help you make writing a journal your everyday habit which will boost your creativity hugely. Choosing a special place is really an individual thing. Some prefer to do it in noisy places like cafes and public transport. Others like to write their journals in quiet rooms and parks. It all depends on one’s personal preferences. Think over what places make you calm and try to stay alone with your thoughts.

Structure your notes

Writing a journal can not only relieve your stress levels but keep you from making the same mistakes again in future. To make it more effective, leave some pages for the ‘contents’ of your diary. Point out the problems you write about in your journal and put them in the contents. This will help you find solutions to various problems when you face them again the future. Your journal can give you useful tips, remind you how you dealt with troubles in the past and found ways of solving them. This much-needed information can help you avoid stressful situations in future. Structure your journal according to personal preferences. Remember that writing a journal is only effective when it is comfortable for you.

Keep it private

Writing a journal is a personal thing, so try to keep it away from other people. Usually, people don’t limit themselves in describing their thoughts about different events and people. You may write whatever you want in your journal. If your thoughts can give too much out, it is better to keep your journal away from other people’s eyes. This also helps to let out negative emotions connected with other people, especially if you have to communicate with them on a daily basis. This will reduce the number of stressful situations in your life.

Bottom line, writing a journal can be incredibly useful in the modern world. No one can understand us better than our own selves. Trust your thoughts to your journal as it is much cheaper (but not less effective) than going into therapy. Make writing a journal a habit and don’t bother how other people do it. Remember that this is your personal stress-relieving therapy. And, if you have any other ideas on how writing a journal can relieve stress – share them with us in the comments below!

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- MARCUS AURELIUS

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