We talked about doing a brain dump, but what about something a bit more intentional? How about journal writing for stress relief? This is a bit different from just dumping all your random thoughts on paper in a stream of consciousness, chaotic fashion. But, it doesn’t have to be well-thought out, either. After all, it’s very personal and for your eyes only. I like to journal about all the ideas racing through my brain. Homeschooling ideas, vacation ideas, business ideas, and ministry ideas all make their way into my journal. Let’s take a closer look at how you can use this technique to relieve stress in your life.
Journal writing for stress relief
While it doesn’t have to be on the nightstand, keeping a notebook with you or within close proximity is a great idea for lots of reasons. I keep one in my purse and a separate one on my nightstand. Usually, while I sit in the car waiting for my daughter to come out from one of her classes, I write all those ideas down (and sometimes aha! moments, too). This gets them out of my head so I don’t have to hold so much in my memory. Then, I can come back to them without the strain of holding it in the forefront of my mind. It’s stressful trying to keep everything in there and try to remember it for later!
This process of writing things down to get them out of my head does wonders for freeing up space so that my mind can process things more efficiently. It doesn’t have to be a major brain dump every time, though. You can simply jot things down as you think of them, just like I do. Check out this article to learn some other benefits of journaling for moms.
Morning pages are sort of like a notebook, but it involves a routine of writing, you guessed it, every morning. This practice allows you to get your thoughts onto paper each day in order to process them and to find patterns in your thinking. It’s awesome for working through personal issues and for sparking new ideas. Morning also tends to be when God speaks to me most clearly, how about you? I often find myself waking up with some profound insight that the Lord gave me. If I don’t write down it right away, the barely formed thought slips away. That’s why I keep that notebook on my nightstand.
Adult coloring books
Research shows that coloring relaxes the mind and reduces stress and anxiety for many people. It takes our minds off our own thoughts and fears and redirects our minds to a simple task. Engaging in a simple, creative task as opposed to the complexities of our busy lives, allows our minds to say, “ahh.” It is also just fun! It takes us back to childhood pleasures and invites us to focus on the now, instead of future possibilities or past regrets. Being mindful–being totally present in the here and now–releases us from our worries. Adult coloring books help us do that. Take a look at this Bible Psalms Adult Coloring Book and Gratitude Adult Coloring Book.
Nature study as an alternative to journal writing for stress relief
Tools to calm your mind don’t always have to be something you can hold. Activities do a wonderful job of helping you to clear your head, as well. There’s nothing much better than taking a nature walk when you want to feel calm and centered. A change in environment can really help when you’re feeling uptight. There’s something about the fresh, cool breezes, the complex smells of flowers and leaves, the stillness. We enter the creation and somehow hear His whispers more clearly. At least, that’s often true for me.
If I take a blank notebook with me, I can stop and sketch. The calm focus and different sort of thinking that drawing requires helps me let go of everything else. All my problems seem more trivial under the vast canopy of ageless trees. Sometimes, I feel particularly inspired to write and songs and poetry fill the pages of my notebook. Try it!
In addition, the exercise required by walking through nature triggers our bodies to release feel good chemicals that lift our moods. The longer you walk (and hey, the kids benefit, too, of course!) the better. You can do just a light stroll or amp up the intensity for a longer hike if you wish. The results will be beneficial, no matter which you choose.
Other stress relief ideas
Water is a soothing element to surround yourself in. Taking a bath lets you soak your troubles away in warm water that can also alleviate physical stress on your body. Adding bubble bath or oil can contribute to the calm with aromatherapy. Plus, the process of taking a bath forces you to slow down, giving your mind time to unwind.
These are some of my favorite suggestions for relaxing your mind. Give them a try to see what results you get and then you can begin to add to your toolbox of relaxing tips as you desire. You’ll soon find things that work well for you.
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