For Finals Week Stress Relief, Try Journaling

For Finals Week Stress Relief, Try Journaling

Stream-of-consciousness writing, gratitude journaling, and more can relieve stress.

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In the last weeks of the semester, it's easy -- even expected -- for college students to spiral down into an inescapable abyss of stress caused by extra homework, studying, packing, and moving out. And, for some students, everyday stress-relievers like facemasks and candles aren't enough to mitigate these high-stress levels; it might be necessary to try something new. One easy, straightforward de-stressor is journaling.

"Journaling can be a great stress reducer through organizing one's thoughts, clearing one's mind, and facilitating problem-solving," wrote health and well-being educator Lisa Tams for Michigan State University.

Stream-of-consciousness journaling is likely the most straightforward way to clear your mind. Write down your thoughts and feelings as they come -- whether they are good or bad, whether they make sense or not -- throw them all out onto the page.

According to Tams, this act "forces you to focus on internal awareness of the present and process thoughts and emotions in the here-and-now," allowing you to clearly channel your focus into what is truly important to you, reducing your overall stress.

If you don't know where to start or simply can't untangle your thoughts, consider using a prompt. Confession: I have a Pinterest board dedicated to writing prompts like "right now I'm struggling with…" and "my life in five years looks like…." Prompts like these can help you unravel the root of your stress and begin to solve problems, or they can exercise your imagination and take your mind off of current stressors.

However, the journaling starting point that I repeat over and over again is gratitude. Sometimes I will simply write my blessings down in a numerical list as they come to mind, or sometimes I'll write in a prayer style -- for example, "Dear God, thank you for today. Thank you for waking me up, and please show me why. Thank you for the Florida sun -- it reminds me why I'm here. Thank you for every opportunity in store for me." Even a short entry like this is enough to calm me down significantly and shift my attitude towards thankfulness and healthy optimism, setting the tone for my day.

But journaling is not limited to mornings only; it can be extremely effective during study breaks or before bed as part of a winding-down routine. It can be customized to fit any preferences -- you get to choose what to write about, where to write, how to write. Do you like writing in a nice notebook with a juicy black pen? In your iPhone notes? In a Word document? Do you prefer to spill your thoughts onto page after page, or would you rather jot down ideas into quick, clear lists?

Experiment with different journaling methods to see what works best for you. Especially with finals week drawing near, journaling is a valuable stress-relief tool. As homework ramps up, try using journaling to stay clearheaded and focused through these last weeks of the semester.

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10 TV Shows That Can Replace 'The Office' On Netflix By 2021

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Netflix has done it again. Created a mass panic. But this time the reason is not that "Friends" is being taken down or renewed for a giant price.

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5 Reasons Why Staying At College For The Summer Is The Ultimate Power Move

No school, no rules, summer vacation at the best place on Earth, also known as college.

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As summer begins, it brings in the joy of no more school but for most what summer really brings is the sad realization that we have to leave our favorite place and go back to our boring home town with none of our new best friends. Although some have decided to stay at college for the summer and they will soon realize why this will be the best choice that they will be making all summer.

1. NO PARENTS 

What's better than no school, warm weather, and most importantly no one to say, "Are you just going to sleep till 2:30 p.m. every day this summer?"

1. It's like the weekend, but every day

Do you know what weekends felt like during the school year when you didn't have anything to do? No? You never had any free weekends? Wow, I'm so sorry. Well, imagine a weekend that you didn't have to do anything. Now multiply that one weekend by seven and you get seven Saturday like days where you do not have a single care in the world.

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4. The bond of friendship

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