Imagine if there was a way we could de-stress that was free, quick and effective?

Guess what? There is.

It’s called journaling. And all you need is a pen and paper.

Journaling - all you need is a pen and paper.
Journaling – all you need is a pen and paper.

Journaling is probably not what you’re thinking…

The journaling i’m talking about has no resemblance to a teenage girl’s diary full of happy memories, pictures and stickers.

It’s quite the opposite. It’s a place to let rip!

Say things you would never dream of saying out loud. It’s a safe place for you to empty your busy and complicated mind.

Leaving you free to get on with your life.

Why Journal?

In a world full of distractions, we have become experts at ignoring, bottling up or suppressing anything that doesn’t feel good.

When we have a second of ‘nothingness’ we reach for our phones, watch TV or find some ‘job’ that needs doing.

Some people are true experts at feeling and processing emotions.

But for most of us we keep ourselves so busy and distracted, even if we do notice any feelings of discomfort it’s easier just to ignore them.

On the outside we look like we have it all together and getting loads done. Maybe that is what others expect of us. But on the inside, it is quite a different story.

Think of yourself as an emotional pressure cooker.

Every emotion or feeling that you have not wanted to face throughout your life has to go somewhere. Each ignored emotion will have been shoved into your emotional pressure cooker (Aka your body).

Are you holding any resentment for someone? Yes. It’s in your pressure cooker.

Do you have some kind of fear about the future? Yes. It’s in your pressure cooker.

Are you angry about something that happened to you as a child? Yes. That’s in your pressure cooker too.

We may have been filling up our emotional pressure cooker for years. They say feelings buried alive never die.

There may come a day when your pressure cooker can’t take any more.

You’ll know when this day comes because we become easily angry, irritable, have a short fuse or maybe even start to have physical symptoms. Migraines, skin rashes, shoulder pain, knee injury.

For me it was lower back pain.

What are benefits of journalling?

Getting my thoughts and feelings out on paper helps me de-stress, reset my batteries and leaves me feeling lighter and more optimistic.

There are numerous studies suggesting journaling can strengthen the immune system, drop blood pressure, help you sleep better, and generally keep you healthier.

Can journaling heal chronic pain?


Because pain is often caused by suppressed emotions when we start to get them out on paper our whole body can relax.

Thoughts that have been spinning around our heads, sometimes for years, causes us to be tense. These thoughts make our primitive brain think there is something dangerous. So we are always on guard locked in fear.

But once these thoughts are out on paper they no longer have the same hold over us. We can relax.

Ironically it is easier for us humans to feel physical pain rather than deal with the emotional pain.

How do I journal?

Grab a pen and paper, set a timer for 20 minutes and just start to free write. Write whatever comes into your mind. Don’t hold back. Express exactly how you feel about whatever situation you find yourself writing about.

If you’re not sure how to start, simply pick a subject that has been playing on a loop in your mind and start with “I feel…”

Once you hear the timer buzz put down your pen and take a deep breath.

What to expect?

You may feel nothing…and that’s ok. It may feel awkward. You may cry. You may get angry. Whatever you feel it is ok. There is no need to try and figure out why you feel this way just allow yourself to feel it.

When we’re able to bring up painful emotions, we are also able to feel the emotions fully. Once we recognize our emotions, we can rationalize the thoughts reminding ourselves we are in a safer place now.

When I had crippling back pain, I wouldn’t have said I was the sort of person that was stressed. And I certainly didn’t think I had anything to be upset about.

But when I finally put pen to paper I realised all those years of people a ‘nice person, a people pleaser and a perfectionist’ had meant that I had no choice but to bury my emotions.

Over many sessions of journaling, I started to feel the emotional pressure cooker was finally releasing.

Journaling is a skill that I recommend for my clients with stress or chronic pain.

In this article we’ve covered why journaling works and how to do ‘free writing’. Although this is not the only technique. In part two, I will be sharing some of my clients favorite and most effective journaling techniques.

Journaling is free, quick and works effectively… Why wouldn’t you give it a go?

Ready for more journaling techniques? Check out this post

If you are struggling to find balance in your life or want to heal chronic pain, contact me today at

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