A Beginner's Guide to Journaling to Better Manage Stress

by Quan on September 21, 2021

 

It is far too easy, especially in these uncertain times, to be consumed by a swarm of sometimes seemingly unrelated or unwanted thoughts, hopes, speculations, concerns, worries, and general disquiet. Productivity and self-care are difficult to maintain when the mind goes into overdrive, which is why journaling can and should become a critical part of your daily routine.

journaling to manage stress

Original photo by Hello I'm Nik on Unsplash

According to research by Michigan State University, journaling can help you organize thoughts, clear your mind, facilitate problem solving and gain perspective. Setting aside time to collect and reflect on your thoughts on paper, or digitally, lends to a more organised and efficient mental state, which is why Quan has provided you with a beginner’s guide to journaling. Don’t mention it!

Step 1: Arm yourself

Find a journal (and even a pen) that you find aesthetically pleasing, or appeal to you in some way. Adding a personal touch to your journaling equipment will increase the likelihood of you sticking to your journaling goals. Additionally, a small journal that can be carried with you comfortably will allow you more opportunities to reflect on your thoughts, anytime and anywhere.

Step 2: Plan your journaling

While journaling whenever the opportunity arises is effective for situational stress relief, to reap longer-term benefits it’s best to pick a consistent time of your day to journal. For example, while you’re waiting for your coffee to brew in the morning, try writing down your goals for the day, or something you’re grateful for in your life. Or before bed, write down a positive experience you had during the day, no matter how small - just appreciate that it happened. So, even if you have had a hectic day, with no chance to take out your journal between responsibilities, you can be proud of the fact that you started and/or ended the day with some personal reflection.

Step 3: Log your day

We touched on this earlier, but logging your day before bed is a valuable process which contributes to organisation and proper planning. Take some time to note what you accomplished during the day; that important email you finally sent, the job interview you aced (or bombed!), the workout you rocked. 

Arguably more important, take stock of the little things that made you happy during the day. The stranger who held the door for you, the puppy whose head you ruffled, the friend you caught up with. Life tends to pass by so quickly that we often miss the most important things. Observing and recording these small but meaningful occurrences is a step in the right direction to managing stress and maintaining a positive mindset.

Now that you’re familiar with the steps required to adopt a healthy journaling habit, make sure to put them into practice! Don’t be afraid to go for it; you might even learn a thing or two about yourself while you reflect. Feel free to let us know how you got on via our socials. 

Topics: Guides & Toolkits