Writing as a Form of Stress Relief

-Aubrey Baucum

There are those in the world who find writing incredibly stressful, even occupational writers. However, there are forms of writing that can help relieve stress such as stream-of-consciousness writing, journaling, blogging, etc. that have shown to be useful in managing all of the crazy things that we have to deal with in the world.

One might say; “I’m stressed out! I don’t have time to sit and write!”

But, I implore you, even taking 5 minutes out of your day to write down the emotions bottled up inside of you can let go of an extraordinary amount of weight that is placed on your shoulders everyday. A lot of times we find ourselves in situations which aren’t appropriate places to express things like anger, frustration, or fear, but finding a minute or two to jot down emotional stress can allow your mind to ease, and your day to continue. Because the world is now filled with more outlets to write, thanks to the internet, anyone who has a phone, tablet, or laptop, is now able to do the same work as someone with a legal pad/notebook and a pen. It is so wonderful that we are able to express ourselves mid train ride, or during a baseball game, or even in complete isolation, and because of technology, we have ways of being connected to billions more people than ever before through our writing.

Below I have listed a few methods that I use when writing for stress relief. And while I acknowledge that every one of us has different methods and styles, I have found my methods to be tried and true for me, and I hope they can at least guide you into some stress diminishing prose.

1. I clear my table/work station of anything that can be stress boosting, like my cell phone or personal gaming systems.

2. For me personally, I love listening to concentration music of some kind, there are lots of great 3 hour compilations on YouTube.

3. I prefer to work on my computer, so I can utilize YouTube, and so my hands don’t cramp up from manually writing.

4. I take a moment before I write and I close my eyes. This is just like a quick little meditation moment, where I become conscious of my breathing, and center my thoughts.

5. I start writing about what is bugging me for 5 minutes. I don’t structure anything, or even use punctuation. I just expel everything I’m upset about on to the page.

6. Depending on who you are, and if anger comes into play, you have the choice of reading what you wrote, closing it and forgetting about it, or some people like to burn things, as a cleansing ritual to rid themselves of the rest of their stress. (Please be careful if you want to burn anything.. and do it in a controlled environment!)

5 minutes is both a long, and a short amount of time for any writer. However, when my 5 minutes is up, I generally want to continue writing in stream-of-consciousness, or by that time another idea has jumped into my brain, and I can work with that thought for a while. However, by the time 5 minutes is up (or however long you want to write), I feel much lighter, not only in body, but in spirit/mind as well. Physically writing out problems allows for the writer to work through just how stupid a conversation was, or just how unfair someone was being, or how unfair they were being. Manifesting words on paper or screen is a great way to sort through conversations that seemed to confuse you or that angered you. Personally, I have found that writing a horrible boss a letter they will never see can be quite relieving and actually pretty rewarding. The point is, Don’t send it!

Whether you are someone who loves writing, or despises it, writing can help with formulating, understanding, and alleviating unwanted anxiety that occurs in our day-to-day lives, and learning how to cope with that unwanted stress is the key to personal success. I really hope my writing ritual steps can help you with your next stressful situation, and if you have any great tips that you employ when you write to de-stress, please feel free to leave them below!



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