Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Journal Your Stress

Get It Off Your Mind

"It is so important for each of us to take that inward journey and discover what attitudes and beliefs we hold within ourselves. Then the healing begins." ~ Louise Hay

And Down On Paper

The observant among you may be seeing a theme forming with some of these "stress relief" snippets I've been posting lately.  An integral part of the healing process, managing stress is one of the easiest things you can control in regards to your long term health and wellness.  This year my day job in education has been especially stressful because of the changes and cuts being made due to the economy.  I know I'm not the only one dealing with this type of stress and with the holidays just around the corner, why not take control of stress before it tries to control you?

Journaling your thoughts and feelings is a fantastic way to deal with stress. It helps to settle all of the thoughts that sometimes occupy the mind. There are times when one concern is joined by another and another and so on. The best way to ease the mind is to remove these worries by putting them to rest, on paper. When you are ready to address the big issues in your life, you can approach them clear and focused.

One of my favorite journaling exercises is from life coach, Cheryl Richardson. In her book, Life Makeovers:52 Practical and Inspiring Ways to Improve Your Life One Week at a Time, she suggests journaling three pages, first thing in the morning for a month. Some of the prompts include: Today I am feeling, Today I am concerned about, Today I am happy about, and so on. It is a fantastic way to focus your mind before your day begins. You get in touch with any concerns or emotions that might be occupying your mind that you weren't aware of. Through this process you acknowledge your mental stress and are able to put it to rest before the inevitable stress of the day arrives.

It is also a great way to identify the sources of regular stress that are present in daily life. With as crazy as life can be, it is often difficult to completely understand where the stress is coming from. Sometimes it's easy pinpoint, for example when a deadline is approaching. But many times, with all of the issues we confront on a daily basis, it's hard to tell exactly why we are so stressed out. By keeping track of when stress occurs, and other details, patterns will emerge giving you a game plan for addressing the pressure in your life.

Journaling is also a great way to put life's experiences and lessons into perspective.  You may not be able to see what's truly going on in regards to any challenges you may currently be experiencing, but writing out your feelings and perspective can bring enlightenment over time.  I've even burned journals after learning all I could learn from a life situation.  It's a great way to truly release the situation and embrace the lessons.

I always prefer to journal on paper, to give my eyes a break from the physical stress of focusing on a computer screen. But if you are more comfortable, there are many online journals available for free where you can deal with your stress discretely or share it with others.

Here are some to get you started:

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