Write in a Private Journal to Ease Work-Related Stress

Updated on November 29, 2018
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Sally is a business communications coach who gives workshops on how to keep your professional reputation squeaky clean and drama-free.

Everyone experiences some degree of worry at work, no matter how much they love their jobs. Some people are able to let the day's build-up of stress slide off at the end of the day as they head home. Others, unfortunately, end up carrying that stress with them, throwing their work-life balance off. If you are feeling stressed out at work and you don't know how to relax and unwind at the end of the day, have you considered starting a journal?

Can writing in a journal help you cope with on-the-job stress?

Reading endless charts, reports and statistics can be boring and stressful. At the end of the day, journaling about trivial matters, such as silly jokes, doodle drawings and your next dream vacation can help take a load off your mind.
Reading endless charts, reports and statistics can be boring and stressful. At the end of the day, journaling about trivial matters, such as silly jokes, doodle drawings and your next dream vacation can help take a load off your mind.

I believe it can, and that’s why I spend at least 20 minutes a day writing in a journal. Many therapists, psychologists and researchers agree that journaling is a great way to relieve stress at work, at home, or in any area of your life that could use a bit of extra TLC. One of those experts is James W. Pennebaker PhD., an American social psychologist who has studied and written extensively about the positive impact that journaling can have on helping people recover and heal from traumatic life events. In the video below, he discusses the benefits of expressive writing and provides a brief introduction on how to start writing expressively.

A journal is a place to track your creative thoughts, beautiful images, quotes, or other things that inspire you and make you happy is through journaling.

If you have never kept a journal, or think you don't have time to write in a diary every day, here are some good reasons to start journaling:

  • Journaling is good for your mental health.
  • You will become a more thoughtful observer as you start to make notes about the things you like about your surroundings.
  • Writing in a journal at the end of the day can help you debrief and maintain a sense of balance between work related stresses and personal and family related business.
  • Writing in a journal is more expressive than tapping short notes on a PDA or smartphone. You’ll use richer vocabulary to write down your thoughts instead of trying to abbreviate your ideas when you type on a tiny PDA screen.
  • A notebook, when stored away and secured properly, is a safer place than an electronic device for keeping track of your private thoughts. Computer hackers have yet to figure out a way to open a notebook hidden in a locked drawer, flip through the pages and decipher your handwriting.

But what about privacy?

It would be easier for someone to break into your computer and steal your ideas than it would be for them to break into your home and steal your journal.
It would be easier for someone to break into your computer and steal your ideas than it would be for them to break into your home and steal your journal.

What can you write about in a journal or notebook? Your personal journal is a place to keep all of your positive thoughts and creative ideas that can make your quality of life more enjoyable. Here are some things that would be suitable for a private journal or notebook that you write notes in throughout the day, at the end of the day, or even sporadically if that makes it easier for you to keep a journal:

  • Reactions to personal situations and world events
  • Your meal plan and water intake
  • Notes on any exercise or extra activity that you got in during the day
  • Things that you are grateful for
  • Moments of beauty that you noticed throughout the day
  • Personal goals that you're working towards
  • Inspiring quotes
  • Notable figures that you want to learn more
  • Newspaper articles, magazine clippings or images that you come across and want to save: a pretty cancelled stamp, a funny cartoon
  • Pictures from magazines or photos you love
  • Books that you've always wanted to read
  • A compliment that someone gave you that made you feel special
  • A funny joke that you heard
  • Something witty and wonderful that you said that got a good response from a friend or family member
  • Music you’ve heard that you may want to purchase (or reference in a story)
  • Recipes or meal ideas that you want to try
  • Drawings, doodles, diagrams
  • Fashion and wardrobe ideas
  • Places you'd like to travel to on your next well-deserved vacation from work

Where will your journal take you?
Where will your journal take you?

Cracking open a blank notebook and jotting down a few goals is a great way to ease into writing in a journal every day. Here are some fabulous resources to help get you started on your journaling journey!

Writing al fresco

If the weather is agreeable, take your journal with you outside on your lunch break. Fresh air is essential for a clear mind and clear writing.
If the weather is agreeable, take your journal with you outside on your lunch break. Fresh air is essential for a clear mind and clear writing.

Did you write in a journal as a child or teenager?

See results
Writing in a private journal, just like you did as a child, can help you get in touch with your feelings so that you can communicate more effectively with others.
Writing in a private journal, just like you did as a child, can help you get in touch with your feelings so that you can communicate more effectively with others.

© 2017 Sally Hayes

Comments

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  • Ericdierker profile image

    Eric Dierker 

    11 months ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

    Fantastic, I come at this from a perhaps more holistic view. My young 7 year old writes in his journal every day. A struggle at first but now a time to have a conversation with his best buddy, himself.

    Right now he likes to share it with me but not mommy. Judging is just not in my lexicon with children. I think it helps him do better in life. He does both the negative and the positive.

    I think that work journal needs to be done totally at home with no work related stuff written on company time, It is not privileged if done on company time.

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