August 17, 2022

Looking for a way to help reduce stress, anxiety? Journaling might be worth a try


Writing in a diary or journaling has long been a tradition to help outwardly express thoughts and emotions, which can also help reduce stress and anxiety. As part of the Healthy Boiler Program, there are monthly challenges listed on the Healthy Boiler Portal specific to each Healthy Boiler pillar. The August behavioral health challenge encourages individuals to keep a journal for 20 days.

VeryWellMind shares that journaling is a highly effective tool for stress relief when individuals write in detail about their thoughts and feelings related to stressful events, similar to how they would talk about them in a counseling session. Additionally, shares “83 Benefits of Journaling for Depression, Anxiety and Stress.”

There are several journaling practices individuals can engage in in order to find the one that best meets their specific needs. They include:

Bullet Journal:  Listing out things that need to be done each day, goals, memories that are made, things that are important, brainstorming ideas and so on can help someone stay on track and help them remember the important things and stay organized. The “Easy Bullet Journal Setup Guide (2021) Step by Step Tutorial” provides more information on this type of journaling.

Collage Journal: Also referred to as an art journal, this journal practice is similar to creating a vision board or scrapbook by using pictures and words to create visually appealing pages that reflect an individual’s thoughts. For ideas, look at “365 One Word Journal Prompts for Art Journaling, Writing & Creativity.”

Emotional Release: Writing about the emotional response to the things that happened in a day is a way for individuals to process their emotions. PsychCentral shares “12 Journal Prompts for Emotional Health and Wellness” to help get the ink flowing.

Gratitude Journal: As its name implies, a gratitude journal is simply a place where someone can write down the good things, the things they are thankful for each day.  See “How to Maintain a Gratitude Journal for Stress Relief” for help getting started.

Unsent Letter Journal: Ever wanted to write something to someone and be brutally honest, but know that it’s probably not the best option? This type of journal provides the space for individuals to write their feelings and thoughts toward someone or some situation that they would be uncomfortable saying out loud. It provides a way to release their feelings and put those feelings into words. Unsent letter journaling is very personal and can be a cathartic experience for many. The Journaling Collective shares more information it is article, “A powerful journaling tool – Unsent letters.”

More information on how to use journaling to help relieve stress and anxiety is available via online resources from SupportLinc, the behavioral health resource provider for Purdue’s West Lafayette campus.  

This month’s Healthy Boiler behavioral health challenge could be the jump start that some need to begin their journaling practice.


To assist faculty and staff

Review the Mental Health Resources webpage for a variety of available resources for faculty and staff, including behavioral health resources for all Purdue campuses and information on Purdue’s health plan coverage for mental health and substance abuse. 

To assist students

Faculty and staff who work with students or have a student at home can direct them to the resources below for behavioral health assistance. Note: United Healthcare Student Resources (UHCSR) – medical plan provider for students and graduate students – offers 292 unique mental health providers serving at various locations that are in-network with UHCSR within Tippecanoe County. The list is available here. Additionally, students have access to HealthiestYou, which provides virtual access to mental health care as part of UHCR’s plan. All services are free for students covered under the UHCSR insurance plan.  

Office of the Dean of Students

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