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Journaling for stress relief: How to Use Journaling for Stress Relief

How to Use Journaling for Stress Relief

Sometimes, simple coping tactics can help when you’re stressed. Journaling is a habit that may help more than you might expect.

Journaling is an activity many people have enjoyed for decades, whether it’s to organize our thoughts or to nourish writing skills.

Journaling simply means writing down your thoughts and feelings. This seemingly simple act has proven benefits in managing stress and coping with mental health conditions.

Some 2021 research shows that journaling helps reduce stress. And a 2018 study says that journaling is associated with fewer symptoms of anxiety and depression.

A stress relief journal is also known as a stress relief notebook or stress management journal, or an anxiety journal if you live with this condition.

Although journaling may seem like a chore at first, there are many benefits. Here’s why journaling is good for you, and tips to help make it become a habit.

Journaling can be a tool to cope with stress and mental health conditions, such as anxiety and depression.

In fact, 2018 research shows that writing down our deepest feelings and thoughts can improve our physical and psychological well-being.

Journaling may help you feel in control of your emotions. If you live with anxiety or depression, journaling can help you cope with the condition. Journaling can help you:

  • identify fears or concerns that may be causing you stress or anxiety
  • recognize triggers that exacerbate feelings of stress
  • manage your stress more efficiently in the future
  • practice positive self-talk to build your confidence
  • identify and reduce unhelpful thoughts and behaviors

There are many types of journals that can help you relief stress.

While you can start with a simple notebook and pen, there are other types of journals that can help spark thoughts and creativity. These include:

  • bullet journals
  • gratitude journals
  • calendar journals
  • drawing journals

Once you’ve chosen a type of journal, you can consider establishing a routine. There are steps you can take to adopt a journaling habit for stress relief, such as:

Set aside time to journal every day

Setting time to write every day, even if it’s just 5 to 10 minutes, can be helpful.

Though it can sometimes be difficult to carve out time for journaling, even spending a minute or two journaling each day can provide benefits.

Creating a schedule can help you to stick with the habit, and journaling can help you decompress and achieve mental clarity.

Keep it simple

It can be a fun notebook, a proper journal, or a plain notepad or spiral notebook — the medium in which you journal doesn’t matter.

You may also find it easier and more helpful to keep a journal on your smartphone, either through a designated journaling app or on your Notes app.

Choose the format that best suits you and with which you feel most comfortable for writing down your thoughts and feelings.

And, remember, just keeping a pen and paper — or your phone — on hand is key for developing and nourishing the habit of journaling.

Keep it free of rules

Creating a routine for journaling is important. But if it’s too rigid, doesn’t work well for you, and ends up creating more stress, you have another option.

You can also journal whenever the mood strikes.

A key part of journaling is consistency, but not necessarily structure. Regular journaling may allow you to identify themes quickly.

Additionally, your journal doesn’t need to follow a certain structure when it comes to how you write. Just write your words and ideas as they flow and come to you. Don’t worry about spelling and grammar errors.

You can also use the space to draw if that helps to improve your mood or spark creativity.

Decide if you want to share it

You can use your journal as you see fit. While you don’t have to share your journal with anyone, you may want to share some of your thoughts with your partner, close friends, or family members.

This can be especially helpful if you have trouble talking about your feelings and would rather write them down.

Consider bringing it to therapy

Even if you don’t show your therapist your complete writings, bringing your journal to therapy or talking about it can be helpful during sessions.

Chances are, your therapist will encourage this activity, especially if it’s having a positive effect on your mental health.

Journaling may have positive effects for people who are experiencing stress or symptoms of some mental health conditions.

It may sound like a chore at first, but you may find that journaling can help you create order when it feels like your world is in chaos.

From creating a habit and a routine to choosing pen and paper or a phone, the steps to journaling are simple but have a great potential to improve your mental well-being.

Journaling is only one step on the path to healthy habits and self-care. Eating a balanced diet, exercising regularly, and getting enough sleep are lifestyle habits that are key to your well-being.

By focusing on self-care in all aspects of your life, you can work to get a handle on life’s daily stressors.

Looking for a therapist but not sure where to start? Psych Central’s How to Find Mental Health Support resource can help.

Looking for a way to help reduce stress, anxiety? Journaling might be worth a try

Writing in a diary or journaling has long been a tradition to help outwardly express thoughts and emotions, which can also help reduce stress and anxiety. As part of the Healthy Boiler Program, there are monthly challenges listed on the Healthy Boiler Portal specific to each Healthy Boiler pillar. The August behavioral health challenge encourages individuals to keep a journal for 20 days.

VeryWellMind shares that journaling is a highly effective tool for stress relief when individuals write in detail about their thoughts and feelings related to stressful events, similar to how they would talk about them in a counseling session. Additionally, PositivePsychology.com shares “83 Benefits of Journaling for Depression, Anxiety and Stress.”

There are several journaling practices individuals can engage in in order to find the one that best meets their specific needs. They include:

Bullet Journal:  Listing out things that need to be done each day, goals, memories that are made, things that are important, brainstorming ideas and so on can help someone stay on track and help them remember the important things and stay organized. The “Easy Bullet Journal Setup Guide (2021) Step by Step Tutorial” provides more information on this type of journaling.

Collage Journal: Also referred to as an art journal, this journal practice is similar to creating a vision board or scrapbook by using pictures and words to create visually appealing pages that reflect an individual’s thoughts. For ideas, look at “365 One Word Journal Prompts for Art Journaling, Writing & Creativity.”

Emotional Release: Writing about the emotional response to the things that happened in a day is a way for individuals to process their emotions. PsychCentral shares “12 Journal Prompts for Emotional Health and Wellness” to help get the ink flowing.

Gratitude Journal: As its name implies, a gratitude journal is simply a place where someone can write down the good things, the things they are thankful for each day.  See “How to Maintain a Gratitude Journal for Stress Relief” for help getting started.

Unsent Letter Journal: Ever wanted to write something to someone and be brutally honest, but know that it’s probably not the best option? This type of journal provides the space for individuals to write their feelings and thoughts toward someone or some situation that they would be uncomfortable saying out loud. It provides a way to release their feelings and put those feelings into words. Unsent letter journaling is very personal and can be a cathartic experience for many. The Journaling Collective shares more information it is article, “A powerful journaling tool – Unsent letters.”

More information on how to use journaling to help relieve stress and anxiety is available via online resources from SupportLinc, the behavioral health resource provider for Purdue’s West Lafayette campus.  

  • Self-confidence writing prompts
  • Words That Help Heal
  • Writing Out Your Worries Helps

This month’s Healthy Boiler behavioral health challenge could be the jump start that some need to begin their journaling practice.


To assist faculty and staff

Review the Mental Health Resources webpage for a variety of available resources for faculty and staff, including behavioral health resources for all Purdue campuses and information on Purdue’s health plan coverage for mental health and substance abuse. 

To assist students

Faculty and staff who work with students or have a student at home can direct them to the resources below for behavioral health assistance. Note: United Healthcare Student Resources (UHCSR) – medical plan provider for students and graduate students – offers 292 unique mental health providers serving at various locations that are in-network with UHCSR within Tippecanoe County. The list is available here. Additionally, students have access to HealthiestYou, which provides virtual access to mental health care as part of UHCR’s plan. All services are free for students covered under the UHCSR insurance plan.  

Office of the Dean of Students

  • Continuous Network of Support
  • Services and Information
  • Presentations & Trainings
  • Student of Concern Reporting Link

Counseling & Psychological Services (CAPS)

  • Therapy Services at CAPS
  • Self-help Resources
  • Group Therapy
  • CAPS YouTube channel
  • NAMI On Campus – A free, virtual support group on campus.
  • Thriving Campus – Service that provides students a way to search for mental health providers locally and across the country.
  • WellTrack – Interactive, self-help therapy app for students.

Diary to reduce anxiety. How Journaling Helps Relieve Stress. • FamilySearch

Society functions at a frantic pace. We face the challenges of organizing our time and spending energy, which affects our sleep patterns and eating habits. For some people, the future may seem extremely vague or uncertain. If you are tormented by disturbing thoughts, you are not alone.

It is important to give your mind and body the resources to cope with everyday tasks. One resource you can turn to is keeping an anxiety diary.*

What is an anxiety diary and how can it help?

The Anxiety Diary is a place where you can write down your feelings about stress, fear or insecurity. The diary does not require special design; enough space to write down your thoughts.

Journaling has been proven to help people cope with stress. This gives you time to sort through all the thoughts and emotions that come with anxiety. Regular journaling can also help you get to the bottom of the problem that caused your feelings. The more examples you write down, the more patterns you discover.

Remember that anxiety is the body’s reaction to a detected danger. If you can pinpoint exactly what is causing your body to react in this way, you will be able to find more ways to deal with the situation. The following diary tips can help relieve stress; Below you will find our guide to keeping an anxiety diary.

How to write about feelings?

Thoughts and feelings are sometimes difficult to express on paper. They are often intimidating and in some cases can even sound like strangers. Remember that the purpose of an anxiety diary is simply to record experiences. It’s often more helpful to acknowledge these emotions than to try to suppress them, so write down your genuine feelings and fears.

In our article on developing resilience, we discussed three ways to increase resilience. Based on what is known about resilience, here is what we suggest in the practice of keeping an anxiety diary.

Start where you are

Start by describing what is happening right now. Returning to the present can help you see the bigger picture of reality. Ask yourself: “What is happening to me right now??” Write down some of the fears and anxieties you are experiencing. In the next step, you will revisit these thoughts.

Rethink the story

Now that you have considered what is happening now to you – the story you are telling yourself – it is time to rethink everything. Try to find ways to challenge your fears. Ask yourself how real are they? Is there a positive aspect to what is happening? What personal qualities have helped you in difficult situations in the past? Is it possible that this fear you feel will give you the impetus to achieve greater success?

Make sure there is balance in your reimagined story. There is nothing wrong with admitting that everything is complicated; otherwise, you may be caught in a network of toxic positivity that will only make your anxiety worse in the long run. Studies show that people who rethink their situations, noticing the good, and bad in them, become more resilient to stress.

Communicate and strengthen connections during difficult times

Communication is an important source of strength when a person struggles with anxiety and fears. But what if the alarm is 9Is 0027 preventing you from communicating with ? Even if you’re overly anxious and unable to communicate with anyone, you still have a few options for staying in touch.

For example, you can connect with your family members, living or deceased, by reading their diaries and stories, or even just looking at family photos! You can also review your favorite moments of love and warmth and write about how you felt during those times. (These journaling tips will help you get started.) Warm, nostalgic feelings connecting you to other people can give you enough motivation to reach out to those around you for support.

When you are ready, consider reaching out to those you trust and share your experiences. Even hearing their stories can be a source of strength. Try using the #52Stories template to find out what questions to ask.

The impact of your diary on future generations

Anxiety diary can also be a resource for other people. Of course, it may seem intimidating that these dark moments are recorded somewhere. However, we as humans crave the kind of connection that comes from common challenges, especially when we see that someone has already managed to solve similar problems.

We are drawn to our ancestors because they were people like us. They had difficulties that they struggled to overcome, and their stories strengthen us in our own trials. Don’t underestimate your own history. Since anxiety is a widespread problem in society, you can be an inspiration to someone.

*While an anxiety diary can be an effective stress management tool, it is not a substitute for a doctor.

Related Articles

How to Keep a Gratitude Diary for Stress Relief – The-Femme


Developing an attitude of gratitude towards the people, things, and events in your life is a life-affirming and effective way to increase your emotional resilience and reduce stress, among other things. Keeping a gratitude journal makes it easy to get into the habit of focusing on the positives in your life as well as reap the rewards of journaling.

The following are simple steps for keeping a gratitude journal, which is a useful tool for managing stress.

Decide on diary . You can keep your diary online or on paper. When deciding which diary method to use, think about the following:

  • Whether you prefer to type or write. If you spend all day at your computer, writing on paper can be a good alternative.
  • Where you would like to make the most of your letter. Want to journal in bed before bed? Can you steal a few minutes of solitude every night?
  • Is a privacy issue that could affect your decision. Keep in mind that a computer is not completely secure, especially online word processing software. Similarly, your personal laptop may be better if you want to keep your thoughts private at home.

Decide on a frame. There are several ways to structure diary entries. Do what works best for you and change it if you need to. The main idea is to get into a place of reflection and gratitude. You can write long descriptive paragraphs about what you value in your daily life.

  • Your gratitude journal may be composed entirely of lists.
  • You can write a preset number of items per entry (eg 10 per day).
  • You can simply decide to write about what seems appropriate for a particular day.

Follow the schedule. An important aspect of the long-term success of your gratitude journal is the frequency with which you use it. It’s usually best to practice once a day or a few times a week at first, but give yourself some leeway if things get busy.

  • You want to make a commitment that will inspire you to write even if you’re not always in the mood, because this exercise can help change your mood.
  • Just don’t let your schedule get so tight that you’re tempted to abandon the whole plan if you get it wrong once or twice.