Sometimes, we feel tense and stressed and don’t know exactly why. Journaling is a great way to get things out of your head and onto paper. It is a way to explore what may be causing you stress. When doing so, questions may help you seek the information that will be helpful to you. Here are 5 journaling questions for stress for you to try.
Let’s get started! Get out a notebook, journal or piece of paper and something to write with. Actually physically writing things down has benefits, such as nurturing creativity and memory as well as being therapeutic and calming. If you don’t have any or prefer digital, open a document on your phone, tablet or computer.
Next, take a few minutes to answer each of these questions:
What are some things that are challenging for me right now at work, home or with my relationships?
If I could plan to change things, what is something I could do about these challenges?
How do I know when I am overwhelmed or not coping?
What do I do to quiet my mind and stay in the moment?
What am I grateful for in my life right now?
Now that you have completed the journaling questions for stress, we can review the questions and answers and use the resources below to help you make a plan. Based on the first two questions; What are some things that are challenging for me right now at work, home or with my relationships? and If I could plan to change things, what is something I could do about these challenges? we can reflect and identify what is causing us stress at this time as well as how we can show up for ourselves and makes choices that may reduce some of those stressors.
You may have noticed that there were some causes of stress that don’t have a visible solution or any real action that you can take at this time. However, you may have noticed other stressors that have simple or somewhat simple solutions that you can implement this week, today, or at this very moment.
The following resources were chosen to support in identifying what causes stress and what that might look like, as well as how we can begin to take action on those stressors that are within our control. There are also resources to help understand what we can do about stressors that are outside of our control.
Next, we asked ourselves, How do I know when I am overwhelmed or not coping? According to Mayo Clinic, burnout is a term used to describe “a state of physical or emotional exhaustion that also involves a sense of reduced accomplishment and loss of personal identity”.
Some of the common signs are challenges with sleep, focus, attention, an increase in the use of caffeine, alcohol, drugs, sadness and over or under eating food. There are things one can do to reduce the stress that can lead to burnout; chose to do something about the situation, get support, engage in relaxing activities, exercise, use sleep strategies and mindfulness.
Then we asked ourselves, What do I do to quiet my mind and stay in the moment?
Being present and in the moment means not thinking about the past or future, but focusing on what is right in front of you. We can also turn off everything around us and be present in our body by noticing how it feels and slowing down. Deep breathing is one thing we can do to turn off the fight, flight or freeze response in stressful situations.
Finally, we asked ourselves, What am I grateful for in my life right now?
Scientists studying gratitude have found it to help reduce stress, increase optimism and happiness and reduce inflammation. Here are some ways to get started on your gratitude practice.
Use these journaling questions for stress as often as you need to keep yourself on track and keep those stress levels at bay. We hope this exercise was helpful for you!
*If you need immediate support around anxiety or excessive stress, please refer to our recent post.*
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