Journaling could ease anxiety, stress during COVID-19 pandemic

Coronavirus

RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) — Daily news of the coronavirus could be causing you anxiety and stress during these unsettling times.

Journaling a few minutes a day could help you feel better. It’s called expressive writing and doctors have found that a few minutes can help relieve stress.

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According to an article by Harvard Health Publishing, Dr. James W. Pennebaker at the University of Texas, Austin, tested the theory by studying nearly 50 students who wrote about either personally traumatic life events or trivial topics for 15 minutes on four consecutive days over six months.

Pennebaker found students who wrote about traumatic events “visited the campus health center less often and used pain reliever less frequently, than those who wrote about inconsequential matters.”

Researchers also noted that journaling is not a cure by any means, but could help distract people from negative news.

Kellie Patterson Smith, a co-founder of Archive Collection, spoke to CBS 17 about how to get started.

“My recommendation is to use three different prompts. Write down three things that you are grateful for, three things that you are looking forward to, and three actions that you can take to feel good that day.”

Smith said journaling is a great way to break up negative thoughts.

“It forces you to stop and focus on what’s right in front of you,” Kellie said, “and reminds yourself of the good things that are going on in your life.”

Archive Collection is a family travel journal company that encourages families to archive special moments during family getaways because life is busy and time flies. Journaling is one way to remember special moments that you can’t necessarily capture on camera.

Right now, Smith is hunkered down with her family and journaling during times when she feels stressed by coronavirus news.

“It’s a very intentional way to start the day. So many parents are extremely overwhelmed and stressed right now not only with everything going on, but the children are home and parents are homeschooling for the first time,” said Smith.

She said you can also get the whole family involved and create a positive discussion to start the day.

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