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Stress affects everyone at some time in their lives. For some people, it’s more of a problem with their genetics, and for some, it’s due to their situation. Whatever the reason you are stressed, congratulations on recognizing it and wanting to do something about it. Here are some effective ways to use journaling to relieve your stress.

gray ballpoint penWrite on A Daily Basis for 5 to 15 Minutes

The thing about journaling that is important is you need to do it daily and over the long term for you to maximize the positive benefits. It takes a lot of writing and insight to figure out why you’re dealing with stress and how to overcome it. It’s worth the effort to make journaling a consistent and positive habit and reap the benefits of relieving stress.

Write about Your Worries

Focus on the problem and write about your worries. Describe them from every single angle you can produce. The more descriptive, the better. Go back to the first time you felt this feeling regarding this topic so that you can find the underlying cause of it.

Describe What’s Happening Nowbrown wooden post with red and white number 8 print

Put out of your mind what you did, what someone else did, or what can be done – right now write about precisely what is happening right now and where you stand with the issue causing your stress. Get the facts down, without the emotional “color” that can affect your perceptions and your emotions. If it’s generalized stress, try to make a list of things that might be contributing, then analyze the list at a later time – just get the information down on paper and out of your head.

Document the Worst That Can Happen

As you look at the situation, one thing that often causes stress is the unknown, or the “worst thing” that you think can happen. Describe this worst thing but make it realistic. For example, don’t make up something like an airplane falling on your wedding party. That isn’t realistic. However, harsh weather, rude in-laws, and other issues may be.

white and brown floral paper on white textileDocument the Best That Can Happen

Let’s get serious by thinking about and writing about the best (realistic) outcome of the situation you’re stressing about. Dream a little – how might this situation be resolved in an enormously positive way? Include potential steps and tactics to achieve this best-case scenario so that you can see it to fruition if you so choose. Put your energy toward what you WANT to happen instead of dwelling on the negative possibilities.

Document What Is Really Happeningblack ballpoint pen on white spiral notebook

As you are writing, be careful to be realistic and honest more than anything else. Other than when you imagine the best and worst, ensure that you are also documenting the reality of what is happening to you right now. That way, you can narrow down identifying the stress-inducing situation with a cool head and a clear mind.

Write a Counterargument to Yourself

One effective way to relieve stress about a situation is to argue with yourself. First, tell your story as a letter to yourself about what is happening. Then write a letter back to yourself in answer, arguing all the negativity and turning it into positivity. If your best friend wrote that, what would you say back?

It’s surprising that writing can accomplish so much, but if you go into journaling to help relieve stress with the right attitude and with a goal in mind, you can achieve a lot. The important thing is that you need to be honest with yourself so that you can find out the true causes of your stress. In this way, the actions you take to overcome it really are effective.

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About the Author Dianne Daniels

Born and raised in Detroit, Michigan, and currently residing in Norwich, Connecticut, Dianne M. Daniels' mission is to empower women 50+ to Amplify their Self-Confidence, Deepen their Self-Knowledge, Inspire Creativity, and Glide into the next phase of their lives with the Power of Journaling, Affirmations, and Assessments.

You can learn how to use these time-tested, proven practices to create and manifest the life you want (and deserve) to live.

Dianne is an ordained Unitarian Universalist Minister with a Master of Divinity degree from Starr King School for the Ministry. She's an avid reader, a lover of old houses (she renovated an 1850s vintage Greek Revival home with her family) and has been journaling since the age of 9.

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