How to Journal to Reduce Stress
Journaling is a form of self-care, and it’s trending (for good reason). So many of us are experiencing a surge of feelings and emotions related to turbulent times and all the compounded stress it has caused. That’s why we’ve gathered practical, meaningful tips on how to journal to reduce stress.
What are the benefits of journaling?
Journaling is key to any self-care routine and a simple way to reduce stress and improve your well-being. According to the University of Rochester Medical Center , journaling can help you gain control of your emotions and improve your mental health. Journaling can also increase gratitude and mindfulness, improve your memory, help you keep your goals on track, expand your intelligence, and more.
Fun Fact: Marie Curie and Albert Einstein kept journals.
How does journaling reduce stress?
The practice of writing down your feelings can help stop the negative cycle of worry, fear, and escalating anxiety. Studies show that journaling can alleviate anxiety, give you clarity, even improve your physical health, all of which reduce stress.
Downloading your mind onto a paper journal can help create the mental space you need to decompress, reflect, and reset. Additionally, learning how to journal can also help you control your focus and improve problem-solving, which are essential for successful stress management.
How do you start journaling to reduce stress?
All you need is paper and something to write with. Then, write whatever’s on your mind as if no one will ever read it (because they won’t—it’s just for you). That’s the simple part. The hard part is learning how to journal consistently. Most of us struggle with sticking with journaling once we’ve started, and that’s okay—now’s your chance to start up again. Whether you’re a journaling beginner or a lapsed pro, here’s are our top tips for getting started and sticking with it.
1. Get a journal that inspires you.
Have you ever come across a beautiful, inspirational quote or image and experienced a flood of creativity, motivation, and emotions? Harness that. Find a journal that makes you want to open it and fill the pages. Whether it’s a journal you find beautiful or one with a quote that moves you or features an image that makes you smile, if it inspires you, you’re more likely to use and enjoy it!
2. Share your intention to journal to hold yourself accountable.
Sharing your goals and intentions can create accountability that helps you follow through. However, it can backfire if you choose to share it with the wrong people. You’re more likely to stick to your journaling intention if you share it with someone you trust and admire.
3. Block off time in your schedule to journal.
How often have you had the best intentions of journaling, working out, or prioritizing your self-care, but you just didn’t have time for it? (We’ve all been there … often.) That’s where the power of writing it in your planner or calendar comes in. When you block off time to journal, you make it a natural part of your day, and you're more likely to do it. Way to prioritize your self-care!
4. Create a journaling trigger.
A great way to form a good habit like journaling is to create a habit trigger. A journaling habit trigger can be as simple as linking it with something pleasant you experience on a daily basis. For example, if you take a break every afternoon to enjoy your favorite beverage, try journaling around that existing habit. You can also link it to a time of day like just before bedtime. Explore a bit and find what works best for you. Before long, journaling will become an effortless, automatic practice.
5. Keep it short and sweet.
It’s so easy to go overboard and wear out your motivation when trying something new and rewarding. To ease into a sustainable journaling habit, start with just a sentence or two. Whatever’s on your mind at that moment, jot it down, set it down, and move on. Try this for a minute or so every day. Once you get into a rhythm, you may find yourself writing a paragraph, a page, or more without even realizing it. Until then, keep it short and sweet.
6. Jumpstart journaling with guided or prompted journals.
If you find it hard to get started or just don’t know what to write, consider getting a guided journal with prompts that fit your current goals and lifestyle. For example, if you want to tap into the power of daily gratitude, try a gratitude notebook with prompts that make it easy to write and develop an attitude of gratitude. Same goes with self-care, health and wellness, even goal setting. There are guided journals for all of that good stuff and more.
Ready to begin your journaling journey? Start with a new journal or notebook that inspires you!