Journal-Writing can be Self-Care During the Upcoming Busy Holidays

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"Combining these turbulent situations and emotions with the start of the busy holiday season may cause a toxic stress cocktail. Journal writing can be healing." says Melissa Burch, author at New Memoir Press.

Research has shown that journal writing is an effective method of healing.

"The holiday season can be a challenging time of year," said David Shern, Ph.D., president and CEO of Mental Health America. "Being aware of stressors and taking steps towards managing them is essential to making the holiday season healthy. Neglecting them, on the other hand, can abate a person's well-being and overall health."

33 percent of women and 31 percent of men experience stress during the holidays according to the Mental Health America study in 2006. Financial concerns, grief for a departed loved one and too many activities are some of the most common source of holiday stress.

Research has shown that journal writing is an effective method of healing. In a 1999 study published in The Journal of the American Medical Association, researcher Joshua M. Smyth at the State of University of New York showed that writing for twenty minutes a day for three days significantly improved the wellbeing of his patients.

Here is a simple method for identifying and relieving stress through journaling. Melissa Burch explains:

     "Write as quickly as possible, jotting down the feelings and thoughts you’re currently experiencing. Don’t think about spelling or grammar; just write what comes to mind. Once you’ve done that, it can be helpful to read the writing to a loved one or to a close friend you trust."

Another method Burch shares to relieve stress and anxiety during the holidays is to make a list of all the reasons for your worries, then brainstorm ideas for minimizing the problem. Here again it can be healing to share with a close friend to gain perspective, strategize best steps, and have support during these busy times of the year.

Honoring memories during the holidays is another way to bring joy to the season. Burch says, "Look through a photo album and pick a picture that reminds you of good times. Write the story in your journal. Share your memory, or read what you wrote after a family dinner."

Taking time for self-care is an important way to shift from exhaustion and stress to enjoying the season. Journal writing is a simple, inexpensive and accessible way to connect to what is important and turn the stress around.

Melissa Burch is the author of The Four Methods of Journal Writing: Finding Yourself through Memoir, currently available for free download for the Kindle from November 10th - 14th at Amazon:

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