Want to reduce stress and enhance well-being? Experiment with journal writing.

Want to reduce stress and enhance well-being? Experiment with journal writing.

By: Lisa Gruenloh, MPAP, CPC

For many of us, life has never been more complex, uncertain and stress ridden. It’s reflective of the world we live in, as well has the unique challenges each of us faces. Developing regular, effective self-care practices has never been more important. One practice that has significant benefits for our mental and emotional health is journal writing, or journaling. Investing in quiet time each day for reflective writing can enhance our experience of inner peace, self-regard, joy, meaning and resilience. Here are just a few ways journaling can enhance our well-being.

Challenge negative thoughts

It’s easy to get caught up in the habits, routines, and obligations of our day, allowing our thoughts and feelings to run unconsciously in the background. That’s problematic since our brains are wired to focus more on the negative than the positive, according to neuroscience research. Journaling helps us identify, process, and understand our thoughts and emotions, giving us the opportunity to deliberately manage and transform them.

Harness inner wisdom

Journal writing can improve problem solving and decision-making, providing the space to creatively consider a multitude of possibilities that align with our values and goals. Try outlining options with pros and cons to gain insight and clarity. These days, it’s not uncommon to feel inundated with complicated, confusing, and contradictory information and opinions, making it all the more important to access our own inner wisdom and intuitive knowing.

Live with intention

Journaling can also help us be more mindful about how we are spending our time and energy. As we get clear about who we want to be and how we want our lives to look and feel, a regular journaling practice can help us map out a vision with actionable steps. Then we can we hold ourselves accountable to that vision and approach life from a higher perspective of purpose and meaning – more evidence-based indicators of well-being.

How to get started

Adopting any new habit can be difficult, so starting with some simple practices with high payoff – at the beginning or end of the day – can be helpful.

In the morning, take just five minutes to write down intentions for the day. It is helpful to consider questions such as: “What on my vast to-do list represents my highest priority?”, “How can I make a difference today?”, or “What character strengths do I want to activate to help navigate challenges and be at my best?”

At bedtime, end the day on a positive to set the tone for more restful sleep. Use purposeful reflection to let go of the day’s disappointments with a sense of hope. If you are stressed about tomorrow’s tasks, jot down what you plan to do to release it from your mind. List what you’re grateful for, such as meaningful connections, nice surprises or small wins.

Resources and support

If you are inspired to start a reflective writing practice, explore additional free tips, techniques and journal prompts in the Journaling Lounge at  www.purposejournal.com.  To learn more about the benefits of journaling, click on our Introduction to Journaling video here. 

LINK:  https://vimeo.com/607684355

Lisa Gruenloh is an ICF certified executive coach and emotional intelligence coach, as well as a lifelong journal writer. She’s Founder and President of Purpose Journey®, a consulting, training and coaching company that helps individuals and organizations activate their unique values, strengths and purpose to optimize well-being and impact. Learn more at www.purposejourney.com and www.purposejournal.com .          

Jul 01, 2022 | Blog

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