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Does Journaling Help With Anxiety

Writing Can Break Down Your Fears

Journaling for Anxiety (5 ways you can use a journal NOW)

Much like staying present, seeing your fears in black and white can make them a lot easier to cope with.

Journaling allows you to break those fears down and get to the root of the problem.

For example, lets say you have started feeling anxious about being a new mom. You might list a fear as:

  • I am afraid of not being a good mom.

With journaling, you can break that fear down by asking yourself questions like:

  • What does not being a good mom mean to me? What have I done that would be considered not being a good mom? How can I ask for help or lighten my workload so that I can be a better mom?

Benefits Of Journal Writing

Research studies have revealed the numerous benefits of journaling. One of the most studied aspects of journal writing pertains to its healing effects. It has been determined that those who keep a journal are more likely to be connected to their emotions and problem-solving skills. Keeping a journal has also been found to help a person relieve stress, let go of negativity, refocus on gratitude, and work through difficult emotions and circumstances.

Used as a coping technique, journal writing can be a helpful way to explore your fears, manage your stress, and enhance your personal well-being. Much like talking to a trusted friend or therapist, your journal can be a way for you to openly communicate your worries, hopes, dreams, and disappointments.

Journal writing gives you the freedom to express your deep inner thoughts and emotions, making it a great tool for personal growth and development.

For people with anxiety disorders, journaling can be a way to help clear and calm the mind. Through writing, a person can release pent-up feelings, escape from everyday stressors, and let go of negative thoughts. Those with panic disorder can use a journal to explore their experiences with their condition, writing about their struggles and successes in dealing with their symptoms. Reviewing past journal entries can also bring self-awareness to your panic and anxiety triggers.

Gain A Better Understanding Of What Youre Feeling

sometimes it can be hard to know exactly what were feeling about a particular situation. Emotions can be difficult to decipher and can change in an instant. Sometimes, all it takes to sort out our complex emotions is a few minutes of self-reflection, and writing it all out in a journal can help us do that. It allows us to put everything that we are thinking into words that we can better comprehend.

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Journaling Helps Your Creative Side

According to an amazing study brought to my attention by Psychology Today, journaling brings out your creative side.

Journaling requires the application of the analytical, rational left side of the brain while your left hemisphere is occupied, your right hemisphere is given the freedom to wander and play . Allowing your creativity to flourish and expand can be cathartic and make a big difference in your daily well-being.

This is so much better than stimulating the parts of your brain that are responsible for insecurity, stress and fear which is what our anxious thoughts often do.

Prompts:

  • If you could create a happy place, where would it be and what would be in it?
  • Draw out what it feels like to be happy

I Guess Ill Write It Down: A Journal For All Kinds Of Good And Bad Stuff By Beth Evans $1049 Available At Amazon And Barnes & Noble

How to Use Journal Prompts to Help You Manage Your Anxiety

Of all the journals I reviewed, I Guess Ill Write It Down leaves the most room for personal creativity. The journal is essentially made up of blank pages , dotted with hilariously relatable drawings by illustrator Beth Evans รข who first cultivated a brand through her resonant comics.

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Keeping A Gratitude Journal For Overall Health

If you know how to keep a journal for anxiety now, you can also think about keeping a gratitude journal or making space in your anxiety journal for some gratitude pages. Keeping a gratitude journal has also shown to improve mental and physical health.

So often we end up in a rut of negativity, and before long, everything just seems bad.

In a different study, Researcher Robert Emmons looked at the effect of keeping a gratitude journal. Participants were separated into three groups. The first group were instructed to write about negative things. The second group was instructed to write about the things they were grateful for, and the third group were asked to write about neutral events.

This study showed that those who wrote about the things they were grateful for ended up showing more signs of compassion and contentment.

It kind of goes without saying that writing about things youre grateful for will give you a higher sense of purpose but its perhaps something that may be dismissed as something thats not important.

When were anxious or depressed, we feel as if the world is crashing down around us. Often, were ignoring what were grateful for because we only focus on the negatives.

If you start a journal for anxiety, consider leaving pages between your logs to write down what youre grateful for each and everyday.

How To Journal For Anxiety

First, pick a place to writea quiet, cozy room where you wont be distracted. Then, simply pick up a pen and start writing.

Most importantly, dont overthink. Just let your thoughts flow onto the page. By writing in a stream-of-consciousness style, youll get an accurate look inside your mind. Even though it feels uncomfortable, dont turn away from your negative emotions. Lean in to them. By acting as an observer of your thoughts, you are taking your power back and protecting your mental health.

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Reduce Stress And Anxiety Levels With Journaling

Stress and anxiety levels are high among many people across the globe as they cope with illness, death, isolation and job losses during the COVID-19 pandemic. While there is no magic eraser for those difficult feelings, there are steps you can take even while stuck at home to help to relieve anxiety and improve your mental well-being.

One proven coping mechanism is journaling. A significant body of evidence demonstrates that recording thoughts and feelings on a regular basis helps people to identify and process negative emotions, and ultimately alleviate anxiety.

A broad review on the topic was published in 2005 by Australian researchers. They looked at the body of evidence on a practice called expressive writing, which entails writing about the effect that traumatic events have on physical and mental health. Their paper includes a meta-analysis of 13 studies that found expressive writing carried a health benefit similar to other psychological interventions, such as talk therapy.

On the whole, the 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.

A randomized controlled study of older adults with ongoing medical conditions and anxiety found that journaling helped to decrease their mental stress load and increase their overall well-being.

How To Start A Journal

CBT Journaling Benefits For Anxiety And Depression

Write whats in your headand your heart. Research suggests that writing in a journal can be surprisingly cathartic and beneficial for your mental health.

Journaling can take you out of a negative thought cycle and the repetitive thought patterns known as rumination, which are not useful to your growth as a person and can even worsen anxiety and depression. It can also allow for needed perspective on situations youre struggling with.

Journaling provides the opportunity for people to organize their thoughts and feelings, and by doing so, they develop agency and control over whats going on in their mind, says Allison Lobel, psychologist at Wellington Counseling Group in Chicago.

If you have anxiety, journaling can help elevate your mood and improve overall well-being, according to a study that compared adults who journaled for 15-minutes three days per week with those who didnt. The research was published in JMIR Mental Health in 2018.

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How Journaling Helps Manage Anxiety And Stress

There are several reasons why journaling can help manage anxiety. Here are a few:

Frees the Mind The first is that once a thought is on paper, it can free the mind from focusing on it. Youve probably experienced this when you had something that you had to remember to do. You might focus on the thought until you get a chance to write it down , then you were able to relax. Its the same thing with stressful thoughts sometimes just writing them down can allow your teenager to relax his or her mind.

Finds Patterns Another way that journaling can help relieve anxiety is by showing your teen patterns that are occurring during times of stress. For example, if he or she notices that theyre writing a lot of negative thoughts after seeing a certain friend, it can lead them to the decision to spend less time with that person because they might be affecting your teens stress levels. Your daughter might find that her anxiety is heightened during a specific time of her menstrual cycle. Encourage your teen to keep track of what theyve eaten, how theyve slept, and other factors during times of anxiety. You can help them set up a habit tracker to help them keep track of these factors easily without having to write it all out each time.

Dealing With Thoughts And Feelings

  • Express whatever is on your mind when you sit down to write. The best way to use journaling to process your thoughts and feelings is to write about whats going on in your life that day. Discuss whats happened to you, how you feel about things, and any worries that you have. Keep writing until your timer goes off or you feel better.
  • You might write something like, Today I felt really sad because it was raining all day. I think the weather affects my mood. I wonder how I can help myself feel better on gloomy days.
  • Write in stream of conscious when youre not sure what youre feeling. Sometimes its hard to know whats really on your mind, and thats okay! To write in stream of conscious, just put down any words that come to mind, even if they dont make sense. Dont worry about punctuation or sentence structure. Keep writing until you recognize a main idea or theme emerging, which will tell you how you feel.
  • As an example, a stream of conscious entry might look like this: Sitting here just not knowing what to say its been a long day and Im tired but I cant figure out why I feel down today and I think its because things havent been going my way so maybe I need to change something but what can I change.
  • Write something like, I cant believe Alex didnt give me the help she promised. I really thought I could count on her. I wanted to yell at her until my face turns blue, but I dont want a bunch of drama from my mom.
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    Indulge In A Happiness Overdose

    It has been proven that the feeling of gratitude activates the hormones of pleasure in our brains.

    Its raising our mood. This makes us feel less nervous about it.

    Just after throwing your concerns on the paper in the morning, you should cheer yourself up by making a note of what youre thankful for.

    Let yourself be soaked in it if youre not fully in it, it wont work.

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    Do It For Yourself : A Motivational Journal

    15 Journal Prompts to Help Relieve Stress and Anxiety ...

    What makes you tick? What drives you on a deep level? Do It For Yourself invites you to pick a goal and go through five stages: getting going, building momentum, overcoming setbacks, following through and seeking closure. Combined with beautiful visuals and writing prompts from Kara Cutruzzula, youll be able to clear your mind and pave the path for your success. Check out the Do It For Yourself : A Motivational Journal here.

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    ‘my Therapist Told Me To Journal’ By Holly Chisholm From $1379 Available At Amazon And Bookshop

    When a sample of this journal was sent to me, the witty, yet vulnerable title piqued my interest right from the start. Upon seeing that the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention reviewed the journal and consulted on safe messaging, my first impression was even stronger.

    It’s clear how much care was put into crafting “My Therapist Told Me to Journal,” from the inclusion of emergency pages right at the start of the journal to the cheerful doodles and encouraging messages dotted throughout. In between, guided activities include visual haikus, mindfulness exercises, and spaces to brain dump. It’s all tied together with the library of resources featured towards the end, which is an especially useful inclusion that readers can lean on even if journaling does not turn out to be the best method for them.

    ‘anxiety Relief For Teens: Essential Cbt Skills And Mindfulness Practices To Overcome Anxiety And Stress’ By Regine Galanti Phd $1619 Available At Amazon Target And Barnes & Noble

    This journal is specifically crafted for teens, but the sentiments and activities within it work well for readers confronting anxiety at any age. Galanti, who is a licensed psychologist with a focus on Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, teaches teens to work through feeling anxiety in their bodies, retraining the brain’s response to anxious thoughts and building adaptation skills.

    Although it’s not exclusively a journal, the information provided between written activities can be just as formative as the interactive tasks.

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    Journaling To Prevent Future Stress

    Speaking of the future, you can also journal as a preventive measure. At times when youre in a good place mentally, try writing down the days successes or positive affirmations to enhance that sense of well-being. Writing out a schedule or to-do list for the next day or week can give you a sense of control over your obligations.

    If you feel anxiety creeping in, stress journaling can also be a useful tool. What do you anticipate causing anxiety in your future? Try writing through these feelings and figure out ways you can tackle the issue before it becomes an overwhelming force in your life.

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