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A Valuable Tool To Help You Head Off Stress

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We all know how stressful our lives can be. To lead a healthier, less anxious existence, it's important for all of us to do what we can in our daily lives to help cope with these overwhelming feelings.

Yoga, meditation, exercise and pursuing hobbies are all great activities that can help us redirect our energies to a healthier, happier outcome.

But in some areas of our lives, stress is inescapable. Mindfulness, awareness and meditation aside, we all need a little help recognizing these stessors so we can cope with them in a productive way.

I journal religiously for lots of reasons; to record the events of my life, capture important insights and help achieve long-range personal goals. Because I have been trying not to think about work 24/7 (though it is not working lately), I didn’t make the connection to journaling about and focusing on it as clearly as I should have until very recently. Honestly, it seemed like work to even think or write about work. But a health scare, and the subsequent–-and rather stern–-advice from my physician and a nurse practitioner to remove myself more from such stressful situations as often as possible is advice that I personally need to take a lot more seriously.

So where does journaling come in? Well, the journaling is helping me recognize what Buddhists call the “spark before the flame,” or that point I reach before I switch into hyper-stress mode, so I can stop myself, and decide whether or not I really, truly need to react.

Yoga and meditation both help with this as well, and I would not have been able to effectively reel myself back in on many occasions if I had not built a strong practice of patience through both of these activities.

I think the real lesson here is that sometimes we do need to stop ourselves. Journaling offers me an effective way to put the brakes on and simply think and record what might be triggering these unhealthy emotions. We all can suffer from moving too quickly in this fast-paced world, making hasty, emotional decisions and often paying a price for them. Sometimes a heavy price.

Add a Comment2 Comments

I love that you point out journaling. I have been doing it in my good ole moleskin notebooks for over ten years now. It helps me clear my head and even come up with creative ideas!

April 2, 2009 - 8:00pm
(reply to rachieheather)

I know, it's a great tool! I'm glad you're having such success with it.

April 2, 2009 - 8:53pm
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We value and respect our HERWriters' experiences, but everyone is different. Many of our writers are speaking from personal experience, and what's worked for them may not work for you. Their articles are not a substitute for medical advice, although we hope you can gain knowledge from their insight.


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