Let's talk about stress and journaling

Stress. You can handle it right? The sleepless nights. Clenched jaw and grinding teeth. Upset stomach. Restlessness. Twisting your hair. Out of control heart rate. The feeling like every muscle in your body is at war with you. Faintness when you get up. Sweat. Shakiness. Anger aimed at just about everything and everyone. And that feeling like you just want to lay down somewhere and sleep until it all calms down.

I used to feel the same way. I’d stare at my drawn white face in the mirror at some crazy hour in the middle of the night and tell myself straight out, “I’m stronger than this silly irritation, frustration and worry.” That is until  I started to feel so overwhelmed and negative in my thinking that my thoughts became scattered. I start forgetting things and I lost my sense of humour somewhere between scrambling for my socks in the dark at 3:30 am and finding out my friends had left without saying goodbye at  11 pm. When my husband came into the room to offer a cup of tea to console me  I was so wound up I practically jumped out of my chair.  The more I pushed myself, avoided others and relaxation activities because of my crankiness, the slower my thinking became and the more helpless I felt.

Of course regular bouts of the flu took me to my GP. He was the tough voice it took to make me realize if I didn’t journal my way out of this stress mess, my health would take the same road as my family's. A host of heart disease, cancer, gastrointestinal and immune disorders would come knocking.

I’ve been journaling on and off for over 35 years now and I can tell you that the clinical research done by Dr. James Pennebaker and his associates out of the University of Texas at Austin is bang on. He has proven that most people who journal not only free emotions, but when they write about stressful events their heart rates slow, their bodies are better able to fight infection, and they experience a general sense of well-being.

Stress is a fact of life for any Albertan who hasn’t been living off planet for the last year or so, and if you've been depending on the health care system to help you out, you might have noticed it’s struggling too. Budget cuts. Long hours. These can’t help but increase stress, burnout and compassion fatigue for patients, caregivers, medical professionals and staff.

So here’s your chance to do something about the usual holiday stress your way and put journaling to the test.

There are two, 2.5 hour Cancel Stressmus workshops being offered Nov. 22 and 29/19, just in time to set your calm thermostat before the holidays heat up. Cancel Stressmus offers low cost, accessible and scientifically proven ways to improve physiological and psychological well-being. These are not ordinary journal writing workshops. In 2.5 hours you’ll discover how you can start defusing and managing your stress in as little as 5 minutes a day .

As previous workshop participant Angie says: “Journaling helped me discover that I love to write, express myself in writing and heal as I write.”

If you’re fed up with stress controlling you these workshops offer you unique techniques you can use to manage it your way. No gimmicks. Just you, your wisdom and your journal.

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