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Tuesday, April 5, 2016

Journaling for Stress Management

Stress is our reaction to our circumstances and to difficulties we face. Sometimes stress is good - we feel the pressure of a deadline and the exuberance of a task accomplished on time. Sometimes stress is overwhelming when we are trying to color with too many crayons at once. When stress is negative or overwhelming, how can we manage it in healthy ways?

Journaling is one effective practice to manage stress. Pick up a journal--one you have or if you're new to journaling pick up a plain notebook or a special journal at the store, whatever suits your style. Or turn on your computer or tablet. However, you want to record your thoughts, grab your favorite format and begin.

1. Write it out. Find a quiet spot to sit and just write. Write about what is happening, how you feel, the problems you face, the solutions you need but don't have. Write. Let the words flow from your heart and head out through your fingertips until peace begins to fill your heart.

2. Pray it through. Take your concerns to God. Tell Him all that you're facing and seek His direction, His solutions for your need. You may want to also combine this with reading the Bible. Pay careful attention to the connections between what you pray and what you read. When you see connections, jot them down in your journal. 

3. Surrender it. Concern by concern surrender them to God, expressing your trust in Him to take your burdens and to work them out for you. Peter wrote, "Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you" (1 Peter 5:8 NIV).  And He is able to give you strength when you feel depleted and able to give you solutions when it seems none are on the horizon.

Journaling Prompt: 
In a prayer in your journal fill in the blanks:
Dear Father, today my plate is full with _________________ and I feel _________________. I surrender _________________ to You. 

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