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Journaling has proved time and time again to be a healthy and useful outlet for many, myself included. When I picked up the habit of journaling daily, I began by writing in diary-style about my life. This was a way for me to record the goings-on in my days as well as any emotions that came up along the way. I love having physical records of how I was feeling and what I did on any given day. Since filling a quarter of my journal in just a few months, I’ve searched for and picked up a few new techniques, prompts and ideas that spice up my daily journaling. Incorporating these into my routine has kept the habit fun and engaging for me, and I hope they can inspire you in similar ways.

Brain dumping

This is probably the most stress-relieving journaling tip that I can give you. Any time that I’m feeling overwhelmed —which is often— I pick up my pen and put every thought down on paper. I don’t even try to make it make sense, and there is no order to it. If I’m feeling lonely, I write it. If I’m also hungry and am considering ordering sushi, I write that afterward. Brain dumping is all about getting everything that is clogging your mind out and onto the page. You’d be surprised how much stress this technique can lift off your shoulders. Be warned though, these aren’t the pages you’ll flip back to in the future for chronological and sensical outlines of your days. 

Mantra writing

I learned this technique in therapy. All you have to do is search for any mantra (it could be a phrase, a few sentences or even an entire paragraph) that speaks to you at this point in your life. Then, you read and write the same mantra every day in your journal for however long that you need to hear it and however long it takes you to believe it. Your mantra could be something as simple yet powerful as, “I am strong and capable of handling whatever life throws at me.” I recommend Googling mantras for your specific situation and current emotions. For example, if you struggle with anxiety, search for mantras that can aid you in better managing it every day.

Gratitude journaling

Gratitude journaling is my personal favorite, and it is so easy. All you have to do is make a list of things, people or moments that you are grateful for that day. This technique helps me gather a positive mindset, even on days when life feels especially difficult. Sometimes we need to remind ourselves of the good in our lives, and gratitude journaling is great for that. You can either use bullet points or write out each thing you are grateful for and why, in detail. I’ve found both to be beneficial in their own ways.

The best part about journaling is that there is no right or wrong way to do it. When you pick up your journal, you have the ability to relieve stress in more ways than one. The first step is to simply put pen to paper.

Haley Sakuma is a senior at University of Missouri-Kansas City studying communications with an emphasis in journalism and interpersonal communication. She is one of the Campus Correspondents for the UMKC chapter of Her Campus, and her favorite articles to write are blog-style with a personal touch of humor.
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