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Will Journaling Help Reduce My Stress Levels?

Written by
Bethany Gill
Medically approved by
Dr Earim Chaudry
Last updated
15th April 2021

In 10 seconds

Journaling can help you reduce stress by creating a way to organise the thoughts in your brain. It can help you to become more productive, challenge your brain to think positively, and provides your creativity with an outlet. 

Most importantly though, journaling can help you identify the unique situations and moments in your life which trigger the most stress. 

Once you are more aware of these patterns, you’ll be able to manage them more proactively, which in turn, will make a huge impact on your stress levels.

What is Journaling?

Keeping a diary is no longer only associated with teenage narratives, instead journaling has become a sophisticated staple of the wellness and productivity worlds. Praised as a method of de-stressing, to journal is to remove the thoughts from your head by writing them down in a notebook. This way you are enabling yourself to ‘save them for later’ which stops you over-thinking, getting distracted and over-analysing.

It’s a little like an organiser, combined with a therapist. In notebook form. Sounds great right?

How is it related to stress?

There are three ways journaling can help you manage your stress, as well as providing you a space to vent and process.

  1. It will help you notice patterns when it comes to feeling stressed and in turn identify the triggers that exacerbate it
  2. You will be able to track your stress levels day-to-day so you can keep track of progress when making changes.
  3. It can provide you an opportunity for positive self-talk and re-frame your perspective on stressful scenarios.

Think journaling might be for you? How can you get started?

There are different ways to keep a journal. All the methods of journaling we discuss in this article will be helpful when managing your stress, but each one has unique benefits. Choosing the method that works for you is important, as with starting any new habit. If you don’t enjoy it, it will only add to your stress!

Choosing a method that works for you

Ultimately, it’s about what works for you and figuring that out will take time. In the beginning though there is some logic to picking a ready-made structure and sticking to it. Starting a new habit or activity can often feel like adding something else to your hectic schedule, so why not make it easier for yourself by following in ready-made footsteps. Then, as you develop the habit, you can always tweak your method to work for you.

Bullet Journal®

Bullet Journal® is a methodology coined by Ryder Carroll. It’s simple to do. You have different shaped bullet points for different types of tasks. It enables you to organise your what but also keep in mind your why. Bullet Journal® has become an online phenomenon, with a whole host of online tutorials and fans, so you won’t be hard-pressed connecting with others for advice and motivation.

Morning pages

Morning pages is a habit done first thing every morning on a daily basis. The idea is to wake up, open your journal, and write three pages of longhand of any thoughts that come out of your head. Get ready for that aching hand feeling. The benefits of Morning Pages include processing your emotions and unleashing your creativity, which can be a great outlet for stress.

Gratitude journalling

What were you grateful for today? Think of specific moments. Instead of writing ‘family’, try put what it is about them you are grateful for. Are they supportive? Funny? Clever? Starting your journal each day with this sort of prompt, is exactly what gratitude journaling is. Designed to help you shift perspectives and boost your endorphins, it’s no wonder this method of journaling has grown popular and has advocates such as Ranjan Chatterjee, Tim Ferris and country singer, Brett Eldridge.

Final Thoughts

So there you have it. A quick summary on how journaling can help you reduce your stress levels. If you’re the kind of person that wants to get a new notebook to symbolise the beginning of this new life changing habit, we do recommend checking out the Five Minute Journal and the Productivity Planner from Intelligent Change.

Thanks for reading!

While we've ensured that everything you read on the Health Centre is medically reviewed and approved, information presented here is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. It should never be relied upon for specific medical advice. If you have any questions or concerns, please talk to your doctor.

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