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TIP: Write To Relieve Stress

Set aside a little “me” time and write in a journal to help reduce tension and boost self-confidence.
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Stressed? Instead of gnawing on that pencil, put it to paper to help erase tension and increase self-esteem [1]. Recent research suggests expressive writing can be a therapeutic, constructive way to cope with stress and reduce symptoms of depression [2]. 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 [3]. Expressive writing is also a reflective, meditative activity, which can promote creative expression and positive self-awareness [4]. 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 [5]. 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) [6]. 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.

Tip

Relieve stress (the write way) by keeping a journal.

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Works Cited +

  1. Effects of written emotional disclosure on implicit self-esteem and body image. O'Connor, D.B., Hurling, R., Hendrickx, H., et al. Institute of Psychological Sciences, University of Leeds, UK Unilever Discover, Colworth, UK.British Journal of Health Psychology. 2011 Sep;16(3):488-501.
  2. The durability of beneficial health effects associated with expressive writing. Sloan, DM., Feinstein, BA., Marx., BP. National Center for PTSD, VA Boston Healthcare Systems, Boston, Massachusetts. Anxiety, Stress and Coping. 2009 Oct;22(5):509-23.
  3. Writing about testing worries boosts exam performance in the classroom. Ramirez, G., Beilock, S.L. Department of Psychology and Committee on Education, University of Chicago, Chicago, IL 60637, USA. <a title="Science (New York, N.Y.). Science. 2011 Jan 14;331(6014):211-3.
  4.  Journaling: creating space for "I". Charles, J.P. Clayton State University Morrow, Georgia, USA. Creative Nursing. 2010;16(4):180-4.
  5. Effects of written emotional disclosure on implicit self-esteem and body image. O'Connor, D.B., Hurling, R., Hendrickx, H., et al. Institute of Psychological Sciences, University of Leeds, UK Unilever Discover, Colworth, UK. British Journal of Health Psychology. 2011 Sep;16(3):488-501.
  6. Writing about testing worries boosts exam performance in the classroom. Ramirez, G., Beilock, S.L. Department of Psychology and Committee on Education, University of Chicago, Chicago, IL 60637, USA. Science. 2011 Jan 14;331(6014):211-3.

DON'T WORRY, BE HEALTHY.
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