I have heard a lot of people expressing how crazy the world seems lately. I put that word in italics for a great reason. A lot of our world is based on our perception. We have all heard the cliché ‘Perception is reality’ The reason that it is a cliché, is because there is a great deal of truth to it. The world does seem to be filled with dramatic and rapid change. The same was probably true during the industrial revolution. Also during the dark ages, when any day you could be killed if your neighbor said you were a witch. That must have been some stress to live under. I honestly believe that the amount of stress doesn’t change, just the name and form of stress.
Whatever form stress may take, there is one thing we can say about being stressed out – it sucks. Feeling overwhelmed or out of control of our own life never feels good. There are a lot of new tools to help us deal with this stress. There are meditation apps. I even saw an app where celebrities can read you bed time stories. These are great, but I believe there is a tool that has been around for centuries that can do a better job. In addition to helping us get a handle on our stress, it can do so much more. It can give us a greater sense of mental clarity. It can also give us a great insight into our thinking patterns, acting as a cheap and readily accessible therapist. That way when life is getting at you, or like our poor chap in the picture above, you get a bad phone call, you can use this tool and help avoid overwhelm and burn out.
You might think a tool that can do all of this would be expensive. You will be pleased to know you can get this tool as cheap as a couple of dollars. I wrote about this tool in my first book, A Happy Life for Busy People. I also wrote about it a total of three times on this blog in 2013. Oddly enough, we haven’t spoken about it since then. I think it is long overdue that we bring up the topic again. This amazing tool is the journal. Before you are tempted to dismiss this idea because of its simplicity, let me caution you against doing so.
I am going to share with you some of the reasons this tool is so effective. First of all, a handwritten journal forces us to slow down and record our thoughts. Second, we are…umm… well…recording our thoughts. Trying to keep all of our thoughts in our head can be equated to plugging more and more things into an outlet. Eventually, the circuit will blow. This could be a feeling of anxiety, a panic attack or a full-blown nervous breakdown. These are expensive physically, mentally and with the cost of healthcare, financially as well. The cost of a journal can be as cheap as a pen and a spiral notebook. This takes some of the load off that circuit. It also gives us a record to thoughts we have and what may trigger them. Often, when we write down how we are feeling and read it back later, we can feel a little foolish for how we may have reacted to a certain situation. It is good to have that record.
A journal can be a safe place to share our feelings, even if it is only with the paper. It can be a place of emotional release. A journal can be the cheapest therapist we can hire. Beautiful thing is, this therapist doesn’t have office hours and is always available. In order to keep life from becoming overwhelming for you, might I suggest picking up a journal and just begin recording your day. Getting things out will take the burden off of your mind and will help you from having a melt down, or just blowing a circuit. I would love to hear your stories about how journaling helped you. If you want to learn more about journaling, feel free to check out my book, A Happy Life for Busy People, available on Amazon or wherever fine books are sold. You can also go back and read the posts from 2013 or listen to the episode on my podcast at the link below. Whatever you choose, I would love your feedback!