In a recent workshop on “Mastering Stress for Optimal Health,” at a Hawaii Health Getaway, Ann Doherty, RN, CDE, introduced journaling as a way to find the underlying causes of stress in your life and evaluate the best ways to manage it.
There are numerous journaling techniques to improve mindfulness, set goals and improve well-being. In fact, Sigmund Freud, the father of psychotherapy, had his clients write in a stream of consciousness without censoring in order to bypass their “inner critic.” This allows access to a hidden reservoir of wisdom, knowledge, and creativity beyond the conscious part of the mind, Freud contended.
A more recent use of journaling, shared by Doherty, is the 28-day Stress Management Journal developed by Porter and Rosch of The American Institute of Stress.
“If you don’t clearly identify the stressors in your life, you’ll have almost no chance of reducing or eliminating your stress,” she said. “Whether you create your own format for writing about your stress, or use The Stress Management Journal, you will be able to identify patterns and emotional reactions that you can change for greater peace and health in your life.”
Start with writing down the obvious causes of stress (like a fight with your spouse, or difficulty with your boss). This helps you identify the subtler, underlying causes of stress. For instance, when you get into an argument with your children during the morning rush to get to school and work, you'll learn that it's probably not the kids -- but time pressure -- that's really stressing you.
Keeping a diary to see where their blocks to health and happiness originated worked well for the characters in The Chakra Diaries.
So, get out a ruled notebook, fancy diary or purchase a Stress Management Journal at www.stressstop.org.
Becca Chopra, author of The Chakra Diaries