The Stress Management Chronicles – Installment One: Writing Techniques

Today’s post is the first installment of the Stress Management Chronicles. In this installment, I outline my three favorite writing techniques that have helped me to manage my stress day-to-day.

Stress management can improve athletic performance, work engagement and strength of relationships. For this reason, I’ve set out to find the best methods that have worked for me. I invite you to do the same.

One type of stress that I deal with stems from feeling stagnant. This could mean that I dislike the direction that I’m headed or feel that I’m not moving fast enough. When this type of stress strikes, I sit down and write. Below are three examples of my writing practice.

Daily Journaling – This is first for a reason. I swear by journaling just as much as the next guy. The challenge isn’t
knowing that it’s a good thing, it’s finding the time and consistency to make it a part of the day.

I journal at night. After doing the normal journaling routine of writing down gratitude and a lesson of the day, I’ll move into planning the next morning. I don’t plan my days as I’ve found that there is too much variability to do so. What I do plan is the morning. I write down a step-by-step guide to what the next morning should look like. A sample would look like this.

Wake Up/Drink Water/50 Push Ups/Start Laundry/Duolingo Spanish Lesson/Shave/Shower/Brush Teeth/Get
Dressed/Make Bed/Write A Blog Post/Pack Gym Clothes/Switch Laundry/Start Car/Coffee/Drive

Seems kind of lengthy doesn’t it? I want it to be an exhaustive list. It takes the thinking right out of my morning. A To-Do List that gets me out the door without requiring me to think, which I don’t do well when starting the day. Sometimes I’ll add in a morning or afternoon task if something is pressing that day.

Personal Development Plan – You can find templates for these everywhere. Mine tends to include 1-3-5 year goals and action plans to get there. Where are my strengths and weaknesses? Where do I need to be to accomplish these goals? Writing out a development plan serves two purposes: Simplifying your goals and creating action. I’ve found that when I feel stagnant it usually means that I am. A personal development plan does wonders when this type of stress hits.

Dreamlining – This is a concept I picked up from Tim Ferris a few years ago. You can find some sample worksheets
and a detailed description of it at https://tim.blog/lifestyle-costing/ It consists of defining what you dream of having, being and doing in six-month time frames. I use three months and six months instead of six and twelve month plans because I’m a millennial and don’t have that kind of attention span.

This method works best when I’m unhappy with my day-to-day lifestyle. Stress can hit me if I’m not spending the majority of my days doing what makes me feel fulfilled. This exercise helps me to verbalize my wants and more importantly, prioritize them. Sometimes this exercise feeds right into my personal development plan. Other times it helps me to realize that what I’m looking for doesn’t require more work or development and only requires that I adjust the way that I’m spending my time.

Thanks for reading today’s post. As I mentioned earlier, take control of your stress management practices and see
what works best for you.

-Kev

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