How to Start Writing to Relieve Stress

Updated August 18, 2022
woman journaling writing in notebook for stress relief

Writing can provide many mental wellness benefits, such as helping a person cope with stress and depression. If you're a frequent journal user, you know the powerful effects of writing down your thoughts and concerns. If you've never used writing for stress relief, you may be surprised to discover how impactful the exercise can be.

Even if it's just for a few minutes a day, it can be very helpful to carve out time to sit down and write in a journal or otherwise write about experiences. It's easy to get started. By getting into the habit of mindful journaling on a regular basis, you'll have an effective way to relieve stress that is easy to do anywhere, anytime.

How Writing Can Help Relieve Stress

Used as part of your regular routine, writing can be an effective stress reduction strategy. Writing can help you manage stress in many different ways.

Provides a Break

Taking a break from stress triggers in your life, be they situations or people, can greatly improve your mood. Writing will require you to collect your thoughts, ideally in a quiet place with minimal distractions. As a result, writing can provide a form of escape from things that are causing you stress. When you write in a journal, you'll be able to step away from stressors to instead reflect and engage in expressive writing, which can play a role in helping to manage stress.

Helps Identify Triggers

Over a period of time, writing in a journal can help you identify stress-inducing situations and record how you respond to them. The act of writing can help relieve stress on its own. You can also learn a lot about your stressors and response habits from reflecting on what you wrote.

Looking back at your journal can provide you with insight into not only what your stressors are, but also help you identify patterns that may empower you to reduce your stress or improve how you respond to stress.

Provides Perspective

Writing helps relieve stress by giving you a bird's eye perspective on your problems. When you are feeling overwhelmed, you may look at all of your problems and think that they are too big to be overcome. This can cause you to feel even more stressed and overwhelmed.

When you sit down to write in your journal, you can evaluate your problems from a different perspective. Through writing, you may be able to gain insight into how you manage your problems which can help you in the future.

Allows for Expression

When you write in your journal, you can express your feelings about your stress. This process can help you see your stressors in new ways. As you begin to write, you may gain insight into or a fresh perspective on the things that are causing you stress.

You may also find a solution to your problem as you write about it. It's similar to what happens when you talk to someone about a problem. You often talk yourself into the solution simply from the experience of having someone listen to your problems.

Releases Emotions

Writing can help you release the stress and emotions that you've been holding inside. Once you start the practice of writing down your problems, you'll probably find that the act of writing will feel like a release of built-up pressure. Even though your situation isn't likely to change dramatically in the brief time you took to write the entry, you'll walk away with a weight lifted off your shoulders.

Offers a Private Form of Expression

A private journal is the ultimate neutral party. When you write about the stress you are experiencing, you can do so without worrying whether anyone will judge you or criticize you for the way that you are feeling or how you reacted to a stressful situation. After all, your journal is your own private place for reflective writing. You can write as angry, as sad, or as frustrated as you want, without being inhibited by the thought of someone else reading or listening in.

How to Write for Stress Relief

If you are used to keeping a daily log of your events, you may have to make some adjustments to get begin writing for stress relief. These are two very different forms of journaling.

When you journal for stress relief, you'll be expressing your emotions and perspective instead of cataloging what you did on a certain day. You'll be creating an emotional catalog of your day rather than the experiential catalog. Explore how to use journaling to relieve anxiety and improve mental health when you're ready to begin.

How to Start Writing to Relieve Stress