As it is National Stress Awareness Day today it seems appropriate to write about what I feel is one of the most beneficial activities a person can do to overcome stress and pain. That is expressive writing, or journaling. Don’t just take my word for it. This article shows there is scientific proof of the benefits of writing.
You may already be aware of this but perhaps feel a bit unsure as to how to start. So here are a few tips to get you going.
What do I write?
Anything that is on your mind. This could be present or past worries. All you need to do is put pen to paper and offload those worries. Perhaps you have a number of significant stressors in your life that you fear tackling. That’s ok. Start with easier, small stuff at first, and build up to the bigger issues. The key thing is to be as honest as you possibly can.
When do I write?
There are no rules and varying opinions but most suggest at least a few minutes of writing a few times a week. Ensure, if possible, that you will be undisturbed and make sure you feel comfortable and relaxed. The end of the day can be a good time and may also help prepare you for sleep.
How do I write?
Write as freely as you can, letting the words find their way onto the paper. Don’t try to plan too much and certainly don’t worry about writing ‘properly’, using correct grammar and spelling! This is for you only, no one else will read it. You don’t even need to read it back yourself. The benefits come from the actual process of offloading. If you have any worries that it might be read by others then destroy the paper afterwards.
When you have finished give yourself a minute or two to just sit and be. Reflect on how you feel. Hopefully you may feel a little ‘lighter’ by letting go of some of these feelings.