Stressed? Instead of gnawing on that pencil, put it to paper to help erase tension and increase self-esteem . Recent research suggests expressive writing can be a therapeutic, constructive way to cope with stress and reduce symptoms of depression . So the next time life feels a bit overwhelming, grab a pencil and follow its lead…
Write On, Dude — The Take Away
Researchers suggest keeping a daily journal can be a simple way to clear the mind of stress and combat anxiety. Jotting down emotions before a test has shown both and, in one study, even boosted exam performance in students . Expressive writing is also a reflective, meditative activity, which can promote creative expression and positive self-awareness . Plus, recording thoughts can be a private way to solve problems— without having to mind p’s and q’s (or a broken wrist after punching a wall).
Journaling has also been shown to encourage a positive body image and improve self-appreciation among young women . After all, it's a great way to record awesome accomplishments (no modesty required).
Getting started on the path to writing away stress is easy. Find a favorite journal and a comfortable writing tool— anything from a pencil to that mac-and-cheese colored Crayola— and write off into the sunset. Studies indicate expressive writing might be especially effective leading up to a stressful situation, so start by scheduling regular paper sessions before that next big test (in the classroom or otherwise) . Don’t know what to write? Try jotting down some positive affirmations or documenting daily events and feelings. Soon, the only writers’ block will be in the form of a hand cramp.
Relieve stress (the write way) by keeping a journal.