Thank you so much for opening this e-mail! I fully realise that your time is precious, so let’s get going right away.
I’m not a natural journaler. I have never before succeeded in keeping a journal. I started, full of enthusiasm, many times in the past, but never managed to keep it up for longer than a couple of months. When stress immobilised me, not so long ago, I read that journaling can be a great stressbuster, so I decided to give it another go.
On my own terms.
To avoid spending hours staring at a blank piece of paper, I added some inspiration and motivation to my journaling: stress-related quotes, stress-reducing affirmations, prompts and make-a-difference actions each time I got around to journaling. Which wasn’t daily, I hasten to admit.
Let me show you how it works using my QAPA system:
Say, for today, we look at this quote from Eckhart Tolle: “Stress is caused by being ‘here’ but wanting to be ‘there’.” This quote reminds us that stress often comes from our desire to be somewhere else, to have something else, or to be someone else. When we focus on the present moment, accept it as it is, and identify what we are grateful for at the moment, we can dramatically reduce our stress levels.
To the quote, I usually add a stress-reducing affirmation: “I am calm, content and centred in the present moment.” I repeat this affirmation to myself whenever I feel stressed. On my Free Resources webpage, you’ll find a free 4-page pdf: Stress-dissolving Gratitude Affirmations to Inspire, Enable and Empower You as well as a free 25-page pdf Why Affirmations are so Powerful.
Finally, I journal a few lines, in response to a specific prompt.
Identify your sources of stress: What dramatically raises your stress levels? Make a list of the top three stressors in your life right now. Describe each stressor in detail, including the emotions and physical sensations associated with each. How can you change your perspective or approach to them to reduce stress? This exercise can provide clarity and help you develop strategies for managing or minimizing these stressors.
Retreat somewhere where you won’t be disturbed and spend 5 – 10 minutes responding to this prompt. For accountability, you can share your response with the Retreat to ReConnect group – or if you are as fed up with Facebook groups as I am, you can comment on my “Comments” Instagram post.
Finally, I’d like to invite you to perform a “make-a-difference” act yourself, today. Some of my favourites are: smiling at a stranger, calling a friend, making coffee for a colleague, making someone laugh, or complimenting someone. Small acts of kindness can make a big difference in someone’s busy day.
Go on, give my QAPA (Quote, Affirmation, Prompt, Action) system a go!
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