Some weeks just don’t happen the way they are intended. The train is delayed on the first day back at work or the car won’t start. The boss has tightened the deadline on that report he wants. The kids have a dance recital to go to. By the end of the shift, there’s another long commute before the person sinks haphazardly into the sofa, too exhausted to even talk to their spouse.
If this sounds like you, you may have workplace stress, a common occurrence among America’s workforce. There are around one million Americans who miss work due to stress every single day. Around 40% of working Americans say their job is the most stressful part of their life.
When a person with workplace stress continues to push themselves beyond their own personal best, they may ‘burn-out’ and become depressed.
Using a Journal to Relieve Stress
If changing your job or altering your work schedule isn’t possible, there are creative ways to relieve your stress. Keeping a journal is one of those ways. While it may remind you of your school days or seem like extra work, the written word can provide a valuable outlet for stress.
Writing Slows the Pace
It can give you the chance to be still in your own thoughts. Even if you have to sit at a desk at work, there are still tasks that must be completed. Journal writing is ‘me time’, when you can relax and contemplate and where the rules are up to you.
Writing is a Private Form of Expression
Writing can be better than chatting to a friend because you won’t have to moderate what you say or worry about what others will think. The only opinions on the table will be yours and you don’t have to share your writing with anyone unless you want to.
Pet owners often say they tell their dog or cat all their secrets and worries. These loving animals allow them to say what they think and they are incapable of being judgmental. Journal writing offers a similar type of relief.
If you’re angry and you dislike your boss you can say what you think of him on paper. Just remember to throw it away after you have written it!. This technique can help you avoid arguments while still enabling you to voice your frustration.
Writing Eases Pressure on Family
If you regularly come home from work and complain about the same set of circumstances or people or you end up shouting, chances are that those closest to you will start to feel fed up. Writing down your thoughts instead of venting can take the pressure off your family too. It may improve the atmosphere in your home.
Writing Gives Perspective
Writing down your anxieties and problems can help you clarify what is bothering you and also brings perspective. You may find after reading your entries that the issues at hand are not as troubling as first you thought.
Writing Improves Memory
Keeping a journal has another surprising side benefit – it can even improve the capacity of your working memory. Psychologists have found in experiments with expressive writing that students who journal their thoughts and feelings have a better memory even weeks later. Further, they use more insightful language in their work, something that could be applied to occupational life. This is because putting worries down on paper stops them from intruding into a person’s thoughts and they spend less time trying to avoid those feelings so their mind is clearer. They can then put their mind to better use.
This could mean better work performance and less stress.
Writing Positive Affirmations Keeps You Positive
It sounds simple but if you write down a positive thought or two every day, it really will help you to feel more optimistic. People who work in the caring profession or who are designated carers for a family member have been able to stay positive and keep their self-esteem high with affirmative writing.
You are the author of your life so if you don’t like the way it’s flowing, you can write a new chapter.
Gemma Bridges is a mom of two who left a demanding career in finance to pursue her passion for writing. She is now a freelance writer with a special interest in self-help and inspiration.