Many people keep diaries or journals to record down the events they experienced during the day. However, did you know that keeping a journal can be very therapeutic for stress sufferers?
Writing in a journal as a method for managing stress isn’t the same as using a journal to keep a log of daily events. In order for a journal to be therapeutic, a person must write in detail about the emotions and cognitions they felt in relation to the events that caused them stress. Essentially, writing in a journal for stress relief is almost like opening up to a psychiatrist.
There are many benefits to writing in a journal. It can help you clear your thoughts and understand your feelings, allowing you to learn more about yourself. It also helps to solve problems, by allowing you to analyze and pick apart a problem, so it is easier for you to find a solution. Furthermore, by writing down details after suffering a traumatic event, it helps a person to process how the event truly affected them, so they can explore and release all the emotions that were felt.
When using writing as a therapy, during the process a person uses both hemispheres of their brain, which enables their experiences to become completely integrated into the mind. In addition, aside from relieving the negative side effects that accompany stress, writing as a form of therapy also promotes these health benefits:
- Reduces the symptoms of arthritis, asthma and many other health issues
- Fortifies the immune system, helping to prevent a number of illnesses
- Improves cognitive functioning
Not everyone can use writing as a form of stress relief. For some people, such as those with a learning disability or perfectionists, writing may actually cause more stress instead of taking it away. In the case of those with a learning issue, the act of writing would be difficult and frustrating. On the other hand, perfectionists would likely nitpick at their work, wanting to edit or re-work their writing until it is acceptable to them. Ensuring you write a grammatically correct entry into your journal is not what journaling is about, because it doesn’t allow you to access emotions.
Aside from perfectionists and those with a learning disability, writing as therapy is also a discouraging method for those who don’t want to relive their negative experiences, or who only record their negative thoughts and emotions without also including positive ideas on how to overcome their problem.
Nevertheless, writing has proven to be an excellent form of stress relief for many people. All you require is a pen and journal, or even a piece of paper and a quiet area where you can explore and write down your thoughts. This makes it one of the most inexpensive forms of therapy out there. Also, don’t forget that if you find writing too hard on your hand, you can use a computer for writing therapy.
If you haven’t yet considered writing to relieve stress, there is no time like the present. You’ll find that while you may not release the tension stress may cause your body, writing can release the tension in your mind by providing you with self-knowledge and allowing you the chance to heal emotionally.