Over the next few weeks, I am going to do a deep dive into some of the self-care techniques that work best for me to help me manage my anxiety. I decided to start by talking about journaling. Journaling has been a really helpful and effective way for me to manage my anxiety. It is something I still do on a regular basis to help myself process difficult feelings and emotions. Today I’ll be sharing how journaling has helped me to overcome anxiety.
Journaling in the Beginning
When I was a kid, I always kept a journal. I would write in it almost everyday and write about my day, things that were going on in my life, and my innermost thoughts and feelings. Every now and then my sister would steal it and read it, so I was always cautious about what I wrote. I still have a few of those journals stored away with some of my childhood stuff in the basement. I read through them a few months ago and it was funny to look back on them and see what I wrote. In the beginning, I wasn’t journaling to overcome anxiety. I just simply did it because I enjoyed it. After my teenage years, I stopped writing in a journal, and didn’t give it much thought again.
Journaling for Self Care
Fast forward to my late twenties, when I was officially diagnosed with anxiety. I decided to give journaling another try after reading that it was supposed to be good for reducing stress and anxiety. Also, now I no longer had to worry about my sister reading it. I started to write in my journal a few times a week before bed. I could definitely tell a difference in how I was feeling after I journaled. It felt great to get a lot of the worries out of my head and onto the paper. It almost felt like my journal was my therapist and it was freeing to release my feelings. Here are some examples of how journaling has helped me overcome and manage my anxiety.
1. Journaling Helped me to Release of my Thoughts and Feelings
Sometimes when you have anxiety, you have a lot of worry thoughts and it can be hard to pin them down and determine why. Journaling has always helped me to become more aware of my thoughts and feelings. Sometimes, I’ll be anxious and I’ll turn to my journal. I’ll just start writing the thoughts and emotions that are flowing through my head. Before I know it, the whole page is filled and I’m able to release them from my mind. This has definitely given me a therapeutic effect.
2. Journaling Helped me to Put Things in Perspective
A helpful tip that a therapist gave me once was to journal using “fear vs. fact”. When I would get very anxious, I had a lot of fears swirling around in my head, sometimes with no real data to back them up. She told me to draw a line down the middle of the page and on the left side write “Fears” and on the right side write “Facts”. On the left, I listed all of the things I was anxious about. Absolutely everything, no matter how unrealistic or silly it sounded. Then, on the right side, I wrote the facts behind each of the fears.
3. Journaling has Allowed me to Recognize Patterns
As I have journaled over the past few years, it has allowed me to recognize some patterns. I’ve realized that when I start to fall into an anxious mindset, there are certain things that come up for me. This has allowed me to recognize that when I start to worry about these areas of my life, it is really the anxiety talking and the thoughts are not based on reality.
4. Journaling Gave me the Opportunity to Focus on Gratitude
One of my favorite ways to journal is to write what I’m thankful for. This has been really helpful when I feel really worried and anxious. I will make a huge list of everything that I am grateful for, even if it is something small and insignificant. I have found that there are always things to be grateful for!
What are your thoughts?
Have you ever written in a journal?