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Dear diary…

Using journal writing to maintain your sanity

Robyn Tocker
Contributor

Have you ever felt completely stressed out and nothing seems to calm you down? That’s not surprising. You are a university student, but that doesn’t mean all hope it lost. Shayna Stock and her journaling event, Write it Out!, just might be the cure students on campus are looking for.

Stock started giving journal-writing classes a few years ago after taking a course through the Center for Journal Therapy in Denver that taught her techniques she uses and teaches today. In Denver she also learned how to facilitate classes so she could share what she has learned with others. Typically, her courses are in the evenings and are slightly longer. Luckily though, she is running shorter events at the Creative City Centre located in downtown Regina every Tuesday and Thursday until Jan. 31.

“I wanted to create a class that was more accessible to people who are working downtown, something they could come to during their lunch break,” Stock said.

This isn’t the first time Stock has immersed herself in the journaling world, though.

“I’ve been keeping a journal since I was a kid,” she said. “Writing has always been my favourite way of expressing myself and has helped me work through several difficult periods in my life.”


“As sources of anxiety and mental illness become increasingly prevalent in our society, I do think that more and more people will turn to a variety of tools and practices, and I hope that journaling is one of them.” –Shayna Stock


Stock mentioned how, because she has experienced the healing gift of writing practice first-hand, “it always feels like such a gift to be able to offer these tools to others.” In her sessions she shares the techniques that can be done easily enough, usually in the span of five to 10 minutes a day – or longer if you are so inclined – and also teaches how they help us organize our thoughts, relieve the feeling of being overwhelmed, and can also aid us in sorting out confusing and cyclical thought processes.

“We’re focusing on developing a practice of writing – on using writing in some kind of habitual way to support our lives – rather than on how the writing sounds or reads in the end,” Stock said.

Compared to other ways people combat stress such as smoking, drinking too much, procrastinating, sleeping too much, or being on certain medications that can have harmful side-effects, journaling is a safe, easy, and fulfilling way to reduce the amount of stress in one’s life.

For someone who journals regularly, Stock said these techniques are valuable for her own mental and emotional health as have others she has taught and goes on to say that research is already emerging that suggests what she teaches is valuable in stress reduction – especially concerning disorders such as anxiety. This is proven true with the “Let’s Call BS” campaign started last year by the youth of Canada who want to change the way society talks and treats mental health, such as anxiety disorders and stress.

“As sources of anxiety and mental illness become increasingly prevalent in our society, I do think that more and more people will turn to a variety of tools and practices, and I hope that journaling is one of them,” Stock said.

Many have already turned to her classes for assistance, such as professionals who look for a creative outlet or practice. Artists who want a writing practice to support their work also attend Stock’s events. Writers, both professional and beginners, who want to be able to write more freely, use her techniques, as “the techniques are beneficial to pretty much anyone who’s able to write,” she said.

People are already buzzing about the class. Some who attended the first session made notice of the physicality that comes along with journal-writing and how therapeutic the actual physical task of writing something out can be. That physicality is what often draws people to such a thing as journaling. It is an unlikely source of mental exercise, but it appears to be gaining popularity.

ARTS RADAR JAN. 24 – JAN. 31

Jan. 24
Choke w/400 Strong & Tomorrow Starts Today
The Exchange
$15 advance tickets
doors at 8

Cyclone Comedy Night
The Artful Dodger
$5 at the door
show at 8

Jan. 25
Hannah Georgas w/The Belle Game
The Exchange
$13 advance tickets
doors at 8

Everything All at Once Opening Reception
Creative City Centre
no admission
7- 9

Jan. 26
Rebecca Lascue, Mark Caesar, Michael Paul, and Glenn Sutter
The Artful Dodger
$10 adv/$15 door
show at 8

Dubtribe Sound System and Luke McKeehan
The Owl
$15 advance
doors at 9

Jan. 27
Poetry Workshop w/Nathanaël Larochette
Creative City Centre
donations
1– 3 p.m.

Jan. 28
Talkies w/Jayden Pfeifer
Creative City Centre
$5 at the door
doors at 7:30

Jan. 30
Dala
The Exchange
$20 adv/$25 door
show at 8:00 PM

Photo by Arthur Ward

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