In yesterday’s post, I wrote a little bit about what’s stressing me out, as I work on this week’s writing prompt: Write About What Is Stressing You Out. And I immediately started to feel a little better about the things that are stressing me out. It feels like I’m making a small start in the right direction, or at least, a less stressful direction. But after I was done writing yesterday’s post, I still needed a little bit of an emotional and motivational boost too.
The first quote below, Rumi’s quote, helped me gain perspective yesterday and alleviated some of the stress I was having about the state of the world. It came to mind as I was writing yesterday’s post and encouraged me to look for other quotes about stress and reducing stress.
A couple of weeks ago, I wrote A Brief Look Back at 2020 for the writing prompt for that week: Write a Journal Entry About Your COVID-19 Year. And now that I think about it, I suppose this week’s writing prompt is a continuation of that writing prompt, and that journal entry.
2020 was an extremely stressful year for most of us, myself included. We all had to adjust the way we worked and lived, substantially, in one way or another. And if we haven’t yet dealt with the stress we experienced in 2020, chances are high that the same stress is still with us today. Especially since, even after a year has gone by, it doesn’t seem as if much has changed. Except for our newfound abilities to be desensitized and numb to all the chaos and persistent uncertainty that living through a pandemic has forced upon us. There is a reason, after all, that 80% of Americans reported emotions associated with prolonged stress recently.
However, the good news, especially for us writers, is that writing about what we’re stressed about can help us understand our stress better so that we can do something about it. I’ll go first. Here’s my attempt to do just that…
This week’s writing prompt: Write About What Is Stressing You Out.
April is National Stress Awareness Month in the United States. And according to a recent American Psychological Association survey, U.S. Adults Report Highest Stress Level Since Early Days of the COVID-19 Pandemic, more than 80% of Americans reported emotions associated with prolonged stress, and “2 in 3 adults (67%) said the number of issues America is facing is overwhelming to them.”
While writing about something that stresses you out may seem counterintuitive at first, studies have shown that writing in a journal or engaging in expressive writing can significantly reduce stress levels. According to studies covered in this Psychology Today article, “researchers found that expressive writing led to reduced blood pressure, improved immune system functioning, fewer visits to the doctor and shorter stays in the hospital, improved mood, reduced symptoms of depression, improved memory, and more.”
Originally I thought my draft for last week’s writing prompt was going to end with, “…to be continued…”. And I was right.
Reflecting on what justice is, is an important thing for all of us to do. And talking about what justice is might seem straightforward at first because we all seem to have similar instincts and innate perceptions about what justice is and what it is not. However, perhaps ironically, justice becomes a lot less straightforward when we view it from the lens of our legal systems…
Every time I think that maybe I bit off more than I can chew for this week’s writing prompt: Write A Short Essay About Justice, I try to remind myself that it’s only a SHORT ESSAY. And, as I mentioned in my post on Monday, that it is a short essay that will likely conclude with “…to be continued…”. So, keeping that in mind, it was a little easier to not feel quite so daunted by this week’s writing prompt in the end.
In yesterday’s post, I asked a BIG question: What Is Justice? And while we all have our intuition and sense about what it is, and can certainly intuit when it’s missing… how should we define justice and talk about it when we’re talking with others? Especially those who may not agree with us? Is there common ground to be found here?
To get this dialogue rolling, let’s consider some of the notable quotes about justice below.
Before I begin writing my short essay about justice for this week’s writing prompt, I want to take a step back and sincerely reflect on what justice is, and what makes something or someone just or unjust.
My intuition and observations lead me to understand that there are different forms of justice societies value or appreciate, as well as how it’s administered. But are there fundamental beliefs about justice most of us share?
This week is as good a time as any other to consider what justice is to us as individuals and as a collective society, both locally and globally.
With Derek Chauvin’s trial currently underway this week, recent headlines telling us that billionaires became exponentially richer during what was the worst of the coronavirus pandemic for so many others economically, the quest to find perpetrators behind the riot at the U.S. Capitol on January 6, 2021, new science and coverage revealing how climate change severely affects those in certain socio-economic classes globally— and the list goes on and on—it’s time to pause for a few moments and consider: what is justice?
Below is my journal entry for this week’s writing prompt: Write a Journal Entry About Your COVID-19 Year. As I looked back at 2020 this week, it’s hard to believe how quickly yet slowly 2020 came and went.
Don’t forget to share your journal entry for this week’s writing prompt too. More information about how and where to do that is at the end of this post.
Writing a journal entry about 2020, the year of COVID-19, has been an interesting and unexpected journey. A journey I’m still on, I suppose, since COVID-19 is still dictating our daily lives in 2021.
As I write the journal entry for this week’s writing prompt, I’m wishing that I would have taken more meticulous notes about everything that happened in 2020, and what I was feeling and thinking about as everything was unfolding. As I write this journal entry I’m also experiencing a lot of feelings at once: sadness, grief, loneliness, boredom, gratefulness, empathy, compassion, hope, frustration, annoyance… and the list goes on from there. And for me, it’s been interesting to note that as everything was unfolding last year, I wasn’t really noticing how everything, all the day-to-day routines and daily rollercoaster of emotions, were all blurring together and affecting one another.