How Journaling Can Help You Deal With Anxiety
The internet is littered with thousands of wise people preaching about how effective journaling can be for coping with various mental health issues.
Common benefits mentioned are:
- Journaling can be an effective way to deal with anxiety and stress.
- Journaling can help you understand yourself better
- Journaling can help you improve your mental clarity.
And while this does sound good, it's not as easy as they make it seem.
Conquering insecurity is not a walk in the park, and the daily struggle of trapping your thoughts on paper can be pretty frustrating.
You may not know how to start, even if you know journaling is a great way to process your thoughts and feelings.
Don't worry. We've all been there.
Setting guidelines for yourself is the simplest solution we've found to help you tread your path and stay consistent with your journey.
Journaling can be viewed as a tool that you can and should use... but how you go about using that tool will dictate your outcome moving forward.
Are you ready to dive in?
How to start journaling?
If you go on Google, there are numerous studies (and experts) showing how adding journaling to your daily routine can be a great way to deal with anxiety and open up and explore your thoughts, leading to better mental health longevity.
So we aren't going to speak on the benefits of journaling, but rather how you should implement this activity into your life. The process matters more than the product.
The first guideline is to create a section called,
"This is where my feelings and thoughts are right now."
When you first begin a journal entry, your main job is to get your confusing, mind-numbing worries and feelings on the page.
This includes writing about the good and bad thoughts that you are experiencing at that moment. Even if you feel emotionally "numb," jot it down.
By focusing on "where your feelings and thoughts are right now," you will be releasing your emotions on pen and paper— Increasing your chances of removing the blinders from your eyes, and achieving a sense of clarity.
Remember, clarity and peace of mind are essential if you intend to walk down a path that leads to a more fulfilled life.
After your first section, create a second one called,
"This is where I want my feelings and thoughts to be."
You are setting a goal by focusing on where you'd like your thoughts and feelings to be over the foreseeable future.
And although you may not reach that goal in your intended time frame, you are still rewiring your mind to think more optimistically (even if you don't feel like it's working).
Your glass is either half full or half empty, and it's always your choice.
You are taking a necessary micro-step in the transformation process by training yourself to think about the “future you” by jotting it down.
Forward progress is never fast and easy… but slow, methodical, and to be honest, quite annoying.
It's worth it.
Once you've written down a "destination," you should finish your journal entry with a section titled,
"How am I going to get from where I am to where I want to be?"
Understanding how you will get your thoughts and emotions from the starting line to the finish, may be a fruitless activity.
We understand your concern.
Life will always throw new troubles your way with no intention of slowing down, so why should you even bother?
That makes sense.
But the goal of this section is not necessarily to "improve" your feelings but to improve your perception and processes of how you deal with those future anxieties and stresses.
We are all problem solvers, but some solve problems faster than others.
The purpose of section three is to turn you into the type of person who knows themselves so well that you'll figure it out no matter what life throws at you.
Best of luck.
Journaling can be interpreted in two ways:
- To handle your emotions better and help you work towards emotional competency.
- To help you release the anxious thoughts bouncing around in your head.
Sometimes, you won't be able to solve all your problems, but you will have an emotional release.
Other times, you may receive an emotional release, but it won't solve your problems.
Either way, you are making forward progress.
Swimming towards a goal is better than treading water.
How can journaling help me deal with my anxiety?
Journaling can be a great way to deal with anxiety symptoms. When you journal, you can process your thoughts and feelings in a safe and controlled environment. This allows you to think more clearly, devise solutions, and even treat your anxiety symptoms. Furthermore, writing about your anxiety symptoms regularly can help you better understand them, learn to manage them, and even treat them.
Is it okay to share the contents of my journals with others?
Yes, sharing the contents of your journals with others is okay if you're comfortable with it. Journals are an excellent way for people to reflect on their thoughts and feelings, which can help reduce anxiety levels. Sharing journals can also encourage support from others who may understand what you're going through.
How often should I journal to manage my anxiety effectively?
Journaling should be done for at least 15 minutes daily, even if it's just a few lines. If keeping a regular journal is too complicated or overwhelming, try an online diary instead. Online diaries are also a great way to manage anxiety, as you can access them from anywhere there is an internet connection. They're also simple and easy to use, so you can write down anything that comes to your mind without feeling pressured.