Seriously. That idiom about nothing being certain except death and taxes? That needs to be revised to: “Nothing is certain except death, taxes, and stress.” Amirite? Although, maybe it’s not true for everyone. After all, according to Gallup, 4% of the American population say they never feel stressed.Then again, perhaps 4% of the American population is engaged in a little bahooey. Ya think?
Stress is a sad fact of life but there are all kinds of things that you can do to manage it. Popular suggestions include:
But, because I’m here on behalf of SohoSpark I’m going to pitch journaling.
And I don't even have to engage in bahooey to do so. Honest. Writing in a blank notebook is a proven and effective method of managing stress.
No one knows for sure why journaling is an effective stress-buster. But there are several theories that make a lot of sense.
As an added bonus, journaling is highly accessible. While you should always seek professional care for mental health concerns, a journal is a terrific auxiliary tool. And it’s a tool that’s available to virtually everyone. If geography, income, or disability limits your access to professional health care, keep your journal on standby. And, if you have difficulty expressing yourself through the written word, turn to an art journal for the same benefits.
Just the act of unplugging, sifting through your thoughts, and brainstorming solutions provides immediate stress relief. But, there are a few things that you can do in your writing journal for extra benefit.
Whether you keep a journal specifically for gratitude or you incorporate gratitude entries into a personal diary, focusing on gratefulness is a great way to lighten the load of stress. As Yoni Cohen points out over at Happify Daily, studies show that “focusing on feelings of contentment and satisfaction naturally counters stress, and leaves you feeling much more grounded and able to deal with whatever life throws at you.”
As you practice gratitude, you’ll find yourself seeking the bright side of things. As well, you’ll be recording positive thoughts that you can look back at later. Both of these things set you up to increase happiness and decrease stress.
The way you journal about gratitude matters. I have a blog that can help you max out the benefits of gratitude journaling.
Tamara Rahoumi makes a great point over at Rise and Shine: stream of consciousness writing is quite similar to meditation. She explains: “when you journal this way, you give your mind a total break from thinking, let alone stressing, as it instead focuses all of its (literal) brain power on keeping the words flowing. In a sense, this kind of journaling allows you to get lost in the words.” Meditation alone is a proven stress reliever. The act of releasing your thoughts to the page offers stress release as well. Kind of a two-for-one deal. #TotallyWorthIt
Sometimes writing prompts can help you dig a little deeper or look at things from a new perspective. This can lead to the discovery of more effective solutions. If this sounds appealing, go ahead a google up “stress relief journal prompts.” There are lots of great suggestions out there; some of the ones that speak to me are:
Stress can get overwhelming at times, but journaling can help, especially if you use certain methods to max out the benefits.
If you already journal specifically for stress relief, what tips and tricks work best for you? If you don't, why don't you grab a journal that evokes calmness and serenity--like SohoSpark's Beach Chair Journal--and start? And then, drop me a comment below to let me know how it's going? I’d love to hear from you.
You already know this: being kind to others makes you happy. And, actually, it's a proven fact that kindness makes you feel happy and feeling happy makes you kinder.
Tracking kindness is a terrific way to keep kindness on our radar and incorporate more of it into our lives. Just as a gratitude makes us more attuned to the things that we’re grateful for, a kindness journal or tracker makes us more aware of those moments of grace. And, especially if we have a goal of recording one (or more) acts of kindness daily, we’ll be more apt to take action.
C'mon. Do it. Who would turn down happiness?