Featured Topic: Techniques to Relieve Stress
I kept a diary when I was young, like so many young girls do. It was a place to keep secrets and a place to bare my adolescent soul. But as I got older and started forming relationships with others with whom I felt safe in sharing confidences, I no longer felt the need to record my deepest thoughts in a diary. It seemed like such a childish thing to do.
Then there came a time in my adult life, nearing age 50, when I heard a voice inside telling me, “Go buy a journal and start writing.” I scoffed at this, as I looked at journaling as an activity for those who needed some type of therapy, and I didn’t need help. Or did I? I found myself at Barnes & Noble one day, perusing the section containing journals, and found one with a moon and stars on the cover that caught my eye. Pretty, I thought, with the half-hearted intention of ever filling the pages.
But something told me to at least give it a try, to at least write down some of my thoughts and observations on life that no one else seemed to pay attention to. Well, once I started writing, the words came out in a flood. And in the midst of all of this, I found myself experiencing a soul awakening that needed to be shared with someone, and my journal came to be that someone. As I worked through the upheaval of my life, I filled page after page with all that my soul was spilling out, giving me the much-needed release I could not seem to find in anyone close to me. So many times I couldn’t wait to grab my pen and journal, and feel the letting go of so much stress as I wrote about all that I was experiencing.
I find writing in a journal to be a conglomeration of a number of things. It is a place to write down musings I have on any given subject, and I am able to discuss my opinions on things without the fear of being attacked. My journal allows me to vent, to rant and rave, as well as writing out words of joy and appreciation. I write down dreams, visions and intuitive hunches that I get, which oftentimes helps me to “see the light,” when my light may be dim. I often feel as if my soul writes these words, and I pay no mind to spelling, grammar or punctuation, as I write the words out in a flow of unconditional love for all I have to say.
I have a morning routine of coffee and my journal, starting out my day with any thoughts I may have, letting it all out. The key is to just let it flow, not really “thinking” about the writing, but more “feeling” the writing. I find that time slips away, and I often look back at what I’ve written, amazed at what has come forth.
There are plenty of eye-catching journals available that have wonderful covers with lovely pictures or perhaps inspiring words. These can be found in bookstores, office supply stores, and New Age stores. But really, any type of notebook will do. One does not need a book specified as a journal for it to be a journal. Lately I have found myself creating my own journal from a composition notebook, which usually costs only a couple of dollars. And since I fill up a journal about every two months, this is proving to be much more cost effective for me — and fun as well! I can decorate the cover any way I desire, and this in itself is a great activity that helps me to relieve stress, as well as letting out some of my creativity.
The practice of keeping a journal is not only a great way to relax and help with stress, but I find it is also a helpful narrative for me, as I look back on all I have written and see how truly far I have come.