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3 Ways to Release Stress by Journaling

Sep 30, 2020 ● By Laura Stukel

Photo by lovelyday12 -

Over the years, research has shown that journal writing creates therapeutic benefits such as reducing stress. Just a few easy steps can enhance the stress-reducing benefit of journal writing:

Protect Your Space. Journal writing for stress reduction is as much about finding a great pen, a tasty cup of tea and a cozy writing nook as it is feeling safe to write what you really want to say. Privacy set ups range from a stop sign doodle, a note requesting others to not read your private thoughts-in-process, passwords on digital entries or a locked book in a locked case in a locked car trunk.

Say what you really want to say. One of the unique powers of journal writing is to have the "entire floor" to say exactly what you want. Almost nowhere else do you have the chance to speak your mind, scratch out, shred or rewrite later. This isn’t the place to worry about grammar or what others might think. Give yourself permission for your journal to be your private place for saying, thinking and processing.

Change your perspective. Often, we call situations stressful because we feel stuck or out of options. Your journal is a unique place to experiment with possibilities and points of view. The most basic way is so simple—just look at your verbs and pronouns. For example, focus for a moment and envision yourself one year from today. Date the top of your page with the future date and describe whatever is stressing you out in the past tense.

Or write in the present, as if you are experiencing it in real time on that future date. You can get the same effect by changing pronouns. Write about yourself in a challenging situation from the perspective of someone else; a best friend, your beloved grandfather, even your cat or the sturdy
oak tree in front of your house. Sit for a moment to be present with the “author” you’ll be writing as. When you are ready, instead of using “I”, write in the third person using your name and preferred pronoun (he/she/they).

Regular journal writing is a self-care practice that encourages stress reduction. Very simple steps can empower you to release stress in even more impactful ways. Try them out to increase your ability to solve problems, create opportunities and guide yourself in new ways.

Laura Stukel is a lifelong journal writer and advocate. For more information on her online courses, call 773-251-1631, email [email protected] or visit