In 2021, we sent out this collection of de-stressing exercises to a group of clients over the span of 10 weeks in hopes that they might help alleviate the anxiety of debt as our clients moved through their programs. We received such amazing feedback that we wanted to make sure the rest of our clients had access to these 10 meditation, mindfulness, and awareness exercises as well! We’ll be releasing a new one each Monday morning, so check in at the start of each week for a brand new exercise.
We strongly encourage you to schedule this for each day. Whatever way you can integrate this writing exercise into you life, it will help manage your stress better than most tips we have provided because it involves your thoughts and emotions together.
Give yourself at least 10 minutes of quiet, private time. If you happen to have a journal, write in that. You can look back on your journals over time. If not, create a folder on your desktop or find a writing pad for your brief, stress-reducing writing time.
Step 1. Describe an Event
Think about a stressful financial event that happened recently. Please write down the details as they happened. Don’t focus on your feelings, just facts.
And if you want to add a creative element to your writing, go for it! You don’t have to be J.K. Rowling or Ernest Hemingway. Just be yourself.
Step 2. Detail Your Feelings
Now, add your feelings. Don’t try to explain why you have the feelings. Just describe them as you remember. Relate them to the facts of the event you described. “I felt so ______________ when the collector called.”
Step 3. The Fun Part
Write your own ending! Exert your control in your life. How would you like this situation to resolve? What would be the ultimate, positive outcome for your financial journey? Even if it stretches reality, that’s okay. What would success look like for you?
Don’t use negative emotions or events in your conclusion. This is not designed to create more stress. This is about liberation and allowing you to exhale once your debt is paid off. This is about you finding your success and satisfaction.
Step 4. Reflect on Your Words
This is very important: Use your words to gain a new perspective on this stressful situation.
Journaling is designed to help you see how you can use words to help gain a new perspective. Discover how you go from a stressful event to a potential path forward all by writing.
Journaling doesn’t just have to focus on the events causing your financial stress. If you find journaling helpful and you want to change it up, try doing an entry on the things for which you are grateful. Simply jot down three things that make your life better.
If you don’t want talk about your emotions, just write down a list of the ones you felt. If it helps, look at the Plutchik Wheel of Emotions below to identify what you felt. Use the emotions of the wheel as a starting point to describe your feelings during this event. Be as honest and as descriptive as you can be. Remember this is an exercise for only you.
Join Our Client Sessions
If you’re interested in learning more about ways to stay motivated, cope with stress, and receive other support, contact [email protected] and ask to be invited to our “Join the Conversation” sessions. These private virtual sessions are specially designed as a safe space for clients in the Beyond Finance program. You’ll learn about different topics related to dealing with debt, meet other clients in the program, and participate in a Q & A session where you can ask our financial therapists anything you like.