Monday, August 1, 2011

Jot, doodle & scribble your stress away!

I have always been an advocate of keeping a journal. One of the first responses I get when I suggest this to someone is "but I don't write". It is not necessary to be a writer in any expert or professional capacity to keep a journal. In fact, one of the best things about a journal is that it does not need to adhere to any specific form. In my own journal, I often just doodle and scribble in addition to writing entries. I find that it helps me to bring clarity when I am anxious, frustrated, confused or overwhelmed (*These afflictions often affect a military spouse.) You can choose to free write. What that basically means is that you pick up a writing utensil and begin writing anything, and I mean ANYTHING! You can begin with your shopping list, how you tripped over your pet, which load of laundry you need to do next...anything at all! The main goal is to just keep writing freely (usually for a set time, between 5-30 minutes, or really, as long as you like). What eventually happens is that through this writing, you touch upon something, something leaks out, something reveals itself or you purge yourself. You also become distracted from whatever stress is weighing you down at the time. Similarly, doodling or jotting down words or phrases can help reveal and release things that are on your mind. I love to doodle randomly (see picture) and as I go along, I see that each little doodle is connected to some thought or feeling, so that means something to me too. A LOT of emphasis is placed on physical health in this day and age, but equally important is your mental health. There are avenues for release, and journaling can be quite therapeutic. I have many different journals, but today, for fun, I created a collage on the front of my next journal (a simple, $1 composition notebook and clippings from mags). It makes it feel personalized and like it will house thoughts and doodles that are unique and private to me. Find a journal, make a journal. I dare say that everyone (really, of any age) can benefit from keeping a journal full of jottings, doodles, scribbles and words.