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Stress Management Challenge Day 11 – Journal

🎯 Today’s Mission:

To successfully complete today’s mission:

  • Spend 10 mins journalling. (If you do not have a journal or notepad then just use some blank paper)
  • Feel free to continue for longer if the words are flowing.
  • [OPTIONAL] Share your experience with us, in the Stress Management Support Group
  • Complete the form at the bottom of the page when done.

💡 More Info:

✒️  Manage stress the “write” way with a journal.  

If you’re like most people, you’ve learned to bottle up “unacceptable” emotions, such as anger, fear, frustration, and grief. Sometimes, of course, the cap slips off. Then these emotions spill forth at high intensity, although not necessarily in the right direction. One safe way to decant any emotions—even the most hurtful, terrifying, or sad feelings—is journal writing.

A blank sheet of paper and a pen, or a blank document on your computer, can offer enormous release and, possibly, insight into hidden conflicts that are often a source of stress. 

But journalling is not only about processing your tough emotions. It is equally about celebrating the good things in your life, having gratitude, acknowledging your thoughts, being creative, hopeful and planning your dream life. It is also a reflection of your life experiences.

There are many suggestions out there on how to journal and what to write about. However, the beauty of journal writing is you can do it in your own way. This means that you can really make it your own creative and life enhancing practice.

Living in a digital world full of distractions we often do not take the time and space to be with our thoughts and emotions. The process of journalling forces us to spend valuable time in our heads and hearts. It is a real gift you can give yourself as a part of your self-care routine.

✍️ Benefits

The focus of this 21-Day Challenge is Stress Management. Journalling not only benefits emotional issues but may also improve physical health. Psychologist James W. Pennebaker who conducted studies in this area theorised that confiding bottled-up feelings relieves stress that otherwise would ratchet up blood pressure, heart rate, and muscle tension. 

There are tons of mental health benefits to keeping a regular journaling practice. Here are 9:

  1. It gives you a chance to get all of your emotions out on paper, reducing your stress and releasing tension;
  2. It facilitates learning by creating a record of the lessons and key ideas you have discovered and helps you remember them more effectively;
  3. It boosts your overall sense of gratitude and your sensitivity to all that you have to be grateful for;
  4. It offers you a daily opportunity to recover from the daily stressors and leave the unimportant stuff behind;
  5. It promotes and enhances your creativity;
  6. It propels you toward your goals, helping you bring your vision to life;
  7. It can help you identify things that would otherwise go unnoticed, such as patterns in your thinking, the influences behind your feelings and behaviour, and any incongruences in your life;
  8. It makes you a better writer and helps you discover your “voice;”
  9. It leaves a written record of your experiences, which can be helpful today and extremely precious years into the future.

🤦 “But… I’m a lousy writer!”

“I don’t have time to write a journal!”
“I don’t know what to write about!”
“How do I get started?
“I’m a lousy writer!”

Thanks to the Center for Journal Therapy for this simple method to assist you. Just try these five easy steps. You’ll be writing!

W – What do you want to write about? What’s going on? How do you feel? What are you thinking about? What do you want? Name it.

R – Review or reflect on it. Close your eyes. Take three deep breaths. Focus. You can start with “I feel…” or “I want…” or “I think…” or “Today….” or “Right now…” or “In this moment…”

I –  Investigate your thoughts and feelings. Start writing and keep writing. Follow the pen/keyboard. If you get stuck or run out of juice, close your eyes and re-center yourself. Re-read what you’ve already written and continue writing.

T – Time yourself. Write for 5,10,15 or 20 minutes. Write the start time and the projected end time at the top of the page. If you have an alarm/timer on your cell phone, set it.

E – Exit smart by re-reading what you’ve written and reflecting on it in a sentence or two: “As I read this, I notice—” or “I’m aware of—” or “I feel—”. Note any action steps to take.

In summary….it’s easy to W.R.I.T.E. !


W hat topic?
R eview/reflect
I nvestigate
T ime yourself
E xit smart

Still lacking inspiration?

You can write about your day including your thoughts, feelings, problems, challenges, upsets, joys, successes and dreams.  You can write about anything you want to write about. For example, here are some journaling prompts to help you get started:

  • Right now, I am feeling…
  • In the moment, I notice…
  • Currently, I am thinking about…
  • So far, the best part about my week is…

You can write about what you don’t really want to write about and explore your resistance.  Resistance offers you information about areas you might be feeling stuck, or perhaps procrastinating with, or simply not quite sure how to proceed.  Here are some journaling prompts to play with around this:

  • At the moment, I don’t really want to write about (and then write about it anyways)…
  • I am feeling resistant because…
  • If I wasn’t feeling resistant, what might be different in my life right now…

Still not flowing?

Another great technique is to JUST free write (simply go to the page and start writing). No matter how silly it sounds start writing whatever comes into your mind and ‘dump’ it on the page! Keep going until your time is up.

🌈 Develop YOUR individual practice

Given that writing in a journal is such a personal experience, it may take some experimentation to find what works for you.

  • Materials – Pen, pencil, basic or fancy notebook? – All up to you!
  • Time of day – Morning? Noon? Night? Whenever? All up to you!
  • Time – 5 mins?10 mins? 20 mins? 30 mins? All up to you!
  • Frequency – Daily? Weekly? Whenever you need it? All up to you!
  • Style – Free writing? Structured? Prompt led? Mind maps? All up to you!
  • Subject matter – Creative? Reflective?Career focussed? A mix? All up to you!

➕ Expand your practice

Want to be better at journalling?

Thanks once again to the Center for Journal Therapy for these 8 Suggestions for new journal writers:

1. Protect your privacy.
Store your journal in its own special place so that the temptation for others to read is diminished. Ask for agreement with the people you live with that your journal is private. Reserve the first page of any new journal for your name and phone number or e-mail address, along with a notice: This is my personal journal. Please do not read it without my permission. Or keep your journal on a flash drive. Make your privacy an intentional act.

2. Start with an entrance meditation.
Nearly every journal technique benefits from a few minutes of focused “quieting” before hand in a style that suits you. You can use visualization, soft music, candles, deep breathing, stretches, whatever works for you.

3. Date every entry.
If you only establish one habit in your journal, let it be this one! Dating every entry allows you to chronologically reconstruct your journal by date. It also lets you hear the silence between your entries.

4. Keep (and re-read) what you write.
Often the entries that feel like throw-aways contain the seeds for future insight. Keep it, re-read it later, and surprise yourself with how much you knew that you didn’t know you knew!

5. Write quickly.
You can outsmart dreaded “journal block” by writing so fast that the ‘internal critic’ and the ‘internal censor’ can’t keep up. Keep your pen moving!

6. Start writing; keep writing.
Start with the present moment (“What’s going on?”) Or start with a feeling (“I’m so mad I could bust!”) Or start with a story (“Today the weirdest thing happened….”) Once you’ve started, don’t go back to edit or rewrite. And don’t think too much. Let it flow.

7. Tell yourself the truth.
Your own truth is not your enemy. Don’t try to talk yourself out of knowing what you know or feeling what you feel. Give yourself permission to tell the truth. Also give yourself permission to pace yourself. If the truth seems too bright or harsh, then slow it down. Assume nobody else is going to read what you write so there is no need to edit your thoughts.

8. Write naturally.
If there is one major rule of journal writing, it is that there simply are no rules! Do what works. Don’t worry about what you’re not doing. Give yourself permission. Let yourself enjoy the process!

💀 A caution

Although there are tons of guides and tips out there on what to do when journaling to maximise effectiveness, there are also a few things to make sure you don’t do:

  • Don’t let it allow you to live in your head too much;
  • Don’t let journaling turn you into a passive observer of your life (make sure you experience your life instead of thinking about how you’ll write it up);
  • Don’t get self-obsessed by writing about yourself all the time;
  • Don’t let journaling become an exercise in self-blame instead of finding solutions;
  • Don’t allow yourself to wallow in the negative aspects of your life


✅ Mission Accomplished?

Fill in the form below once you’re done to keep track of your progress.

Which day of the challenge have you completed?
Name(Required)
Used to automatically email you a copy of your mission submission so that you can keep track of which missions you have completed.
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