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Journaling Ideas for Stress

Stressed or overwhelmed? Putting your feelings on paper can help shift your mood. Journaling is the adult version of writing in a diary. It’s an entirely personal practice, and your journal entries can be about anything.
However, real change and awareness can only come when you are intentional with your journal time. Direct it toward your biggest challenge or goals, and you may be surprised what comes up. The ideas below are a good starting point for those who have never journaled before or simply need some guidance to start again.

3 Simple Stress-Reducing Journaling Prompts

Whether your stress is from family, work, or the overall state of the world, these prompts can help you process your thoughts and feel more present and calm.

#1: Focus on the Positive

Cultivating a gratitude practice helps focus the mind on positivity. It also trains the brain to think of the “silver lining” first, instead of feeling stressed or overwhelmed with negativity. This technique is a simple gratitude list and takes less than two minutes.

1. Sit comfortably and take two slow, rhythmic breaths.

2. Write down 3-5 things that you’re grateful for right now.

3. Read them aloud to yourself, smiling at the end of each one.

#2: Make it Manageable

This journaling technique allows you to brain dump everything stressing you out. You decide if the stress is something you can control. If it is, choose whether to handle it yourself or ask for help. Following this prompt idea is a quick way to get to the root of your stress and create a way to manage it.

1. Sit comfortably and take a deep breath. Exhale with an open mouth.

2. Write down in your journal everything that is creating stress in your life right now.

3. Take two highlighters or markers of different colors. With one color, circle or highlight the items you feel are outside of your control. With a different color, circle or highlight the things you can control and change. Be honest!

4. Create a list of the top five things from the “can control” group that would give you the most relief if they were done or gone.

5. Choose one you can either accomplish yourself or ask someone else to handle for you within the next 24 hours.

6. Now, either do it yourself or ask that person to help you.

7. Continue down the list at your own pace until your major stressors are either completed or delegated.

#3: Add Some Fun

Mundane things are part of life, but that doesn’t mean you can’t bring joy to them. This journaling technique helps you recognize those routine areas of life that can become more fun with a little intention, helping lessen your feelings of stress.

1. Sit comfortably and take a full breath cycle.

2. Write down your daily routine.

3. Circle the tasks you don’t love but have to do.

4. Write one way to make each of those tasks more fun for you. For example, listen to your favorite music while cleaning the kitchen or cooking.

5. Take action! Try out your ideas and see what happens.

As with every new activity, journaling takes time to incorporate into your lifestyle. Try adding it to your calendar at least once a week, to start. Choose your favorite prompt idea from above and test it. Be open to this stress-relieving process, and have fun!

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