When I have a lot of stress, the best way I deal with it is to write. I start in the morning by journaling, writing down things I’m grateful for, what I wish for, things I want to do. When I write things down, it changes my thinking. It makes me think in an entirely new way.

For me, it works with fiction as well as nonfiction. The more I write, the more I think, the better the story. With fiction, writing allows me to move past my own stressors, focus in on a character, imagining what she is thinking or what she would do. With nonfiction, it allows me to focus in on the positive and move the bad out of the way.

I write thousands of words every day, thanks to my client work and my nonfiction and fiction books currently in production. The more I write, the wider my perspective allows me to move. It allows me to look beyond what’s currently making me sad, angry, or upset and changes the tone of everything I do.

Even as a writer, it’s easy to get razor focused on the negativity. The difference is I use writing to change my perspective.

Have you tried list building? List building is the process of creating a list based on a key concept, and brainstorming as fast as you can with that key concept in mind. Don’t think, write. Don’t contemplate, write.

These small exercises help inspire you to move in new directions. They help you change your opinions, relax, find a new focus that might not have been there before.

It’s inspired me to start new businesses, find new direction in my life, and focus on the positive instead of the negative.

It can help you reinvent. Use the following list of 50 lists to make when you feel stressed and are looking for change in your life. They will help you focus and come up with new areas to improve your life for the better.

You

Your best qualities
The best days of your life
Compliments you’ve received
The things you value most
What makes you happy
Your prized possessions
The things nobody can take from you
What you like most about yourself
Your bucket list
What you like doing just for you

Your People

The people you love
How you meet your favorite people
Who inspires you
Who has influenced you
Who would you most like to meet
How you show your love
How you prefer to be loved
What you do for the people closest to you
Date night ideas
The qualities you look for when building a relationship

Your Interests

Your favorite stories
Your favorite adventures
How you describe your ideal home
Places you would like to visit
Hobbies you would like to pursue
Skills you have and would like to improve
What you dream about
How you would describe your future
Your perfect day
Your perfect career

Your Accomplishments

What you’ve achieved
What you’re most proud of
What you’re most grateful for
The scariest things you’ve done
What dreams you’ve made come true
What you’re good at
What you enjoy
How you’ve made the impossible possible
What’s helped you get to where you are
How you choose to celebrate your wins

Your Desires

Life goals
Career goals
Stories you would like to write about
Things you would like to do
Places you would like to visit
Who you would like to share your dreams with
Where you would like to live
Things you would like to have
Skills you would like to learn
What you look like in 5 years, 10 years, 20 years, 40 years

Now take a few minutes and look back over your lists. You’ve done a lot in your life, right?! How do they feed your goals and desires for your future? How can you use these to pinpoint your desires and on them to make a reality?