We all get stressed out...it’s the body’s natural reaction to change. Even positive changes, like having a baby or moving into a new home, can cause stress. Low levels of stress can actually help you get through tough situations, but when those levels get too high, the problems begin. High levels of stress - especially over the long term - can have serious impacts on our mental, physical, and emotional wellbeing.
So how do we find a healthy balance and walk the path towards our true inner peace?
Here at the karuna school of happiness, we’re normalizing happiness and wellbeing practices within the workplace...and today, we’re going to share with you three simple journaling exercises to help reduce your stress levels and find your inner peace, whether you’re at work or at home.
1. Track your stress
Dedicate a separate diary that’s entirely devoted to keeping tabs on how you experience stress. Make sure to keep a log of your stress levels throughout the day, and take note of any stressful events you experienced. Look for patterns, and make sure to keep a log of both the positive and negative ways you cope with stress.
If you can get your relationship with stress down on paper consistently, it’s much easier to notice what your stress triggers are, how you cope with stress, and how it affects your mood on the day-to-day. Over time, your new perspective will give you the ability to anticipate stressful situations, understand how you react to them, and take personalized steps to make those reactions healthier and more manageable over time.
2. Find your mantra
There are many different mantras out there that can help you cope with difficult emotions like stress, anxiety, or fear. Use them to your advantage! Try writing down a few different one-line sentences that help you feel calmer, more at peace, and content no matter what you may be going through. Here are a few that might speak to you:
I am enough.
This too shall pass.
Let it be.
Find or create a mantra that you love, and go everywhere with it - whether it's more helpful for you to write it down or simply repeat it in your head throughout the day, make sure to carry your personal mantra with you all the time.
3. Practice gratitude check-ins
Take the space in your journal to practice a gratitude check-in at least once a day. Take note and reflect on anything that you’re grateful for at that given moment...no matter what you’re thankful for, taking the time to direct your attention to things that bring you joy, uplift you, and fill you with light can help you better cope with adverse events and feelings of stress or unrest.
Over time, gratitude practices can work wonders...one paper found that people who regularly practice gratitude experience better sleep and less envy, offer more compassion and kindness to others, feel more positive emotions, and even experience stronger immune system functioning. 1
Practice these simple exercises as often as you can. Deepening your emotional awareness of how you experience stress and best cope with adverse events is essential to establishing a more healthy relationship with your stress. Equally important to that emotional awareness is strengthening your understanding of the positive emotions, events, and relationships you experience. Taking note of what you’re thankful for on a daily basis can strengthen your resilience and ability to cope with stress, among many other positive outcomes.
At the karuna school of happiness, our priority is to empower your team to reimagine and reclaim their personal stories of happiness and wellbeing. Happiness lives here. Welcome home.
1 Allen, Ph.D. , Summer. The John Templeton Foundation, 2018, The Science of Gratitude.