Are you struggling to manage feelings of anxiety?
Millions of people suffer with some form of anxiety, and for some it can prove to be extremely debilitating. Over the last couple of weeks there has been times when my anxiety levels have been off the charts and I’ve found myself tapping into tools and strategies I’ve not used for awhile to help me get back to a calm, more balanced state.
Common treatments include counselling and medication, and both certainly have their place but did you know that journaling can reduce feelings of anxiety?
Today, you’ll discover some of the main benefits of journaling for anxiety and how it can help reduce its symptoms.
1. Increasing your knowledge and awareness
One of the main ways journaling can help to reduce anxiety, is by giving you a deeper understanding of it.
Often, you’ll find you have no idea what brought on the anxiety, or why it happens. It’s something you learn to just accept without really giving it much thought. So, by writing down the times you feel anxious and what was going on just before that feeling, or the “trigger”, you’ll start to understand more about why it’s happening.
So, why does this help to reduce it?
Once you know what’s triggering your anxiety, you have the opportunity to work on tackling it. Avoiding triggers or at least figuring out ways to manage them, will really make a huge difference when it comes to managing your anxiety levels.
It also teaches you to become more aware of your anxiety. When you’re aware that it’s happening and you know why it’s happening, you can use that to reset the mind and switch to less anxious thoughts. Your brain is capable of doing the most amazing things. It’s a “neck-top” computer and it can be programmed and reprogrammed just like a regular computer. Don’t believe me? Check out Neuro-Linguistic Programming or NLP, it was a game changer me.
Journaling about your anxiety can really help you to develop greater knowledge and awareness, in turn helping you to combat the condition.
2. Helping you to develop new coping techniques
Once you’ve written down the things that are making you anxious, it gives you the opportunity to explore them. You can ask yourself why you are feeling anxious, and what you could potentially do to stop it.
You will be able to come up with new coping techniques you could try to minimize the anxiety. By exploring why and when it occurs, it enables you to start recognizing when it happens, allowing you to quickly adopt your coping techniques to minimize it.
3. Getting those anxious feelings out
Even just the act of writing down your anxious thoughts and feelings can help enormously. Keeping negative feelings bottled up can actually cause the anxiety to get worse. So, by writing them all down, it eliminates them from the mind, leaving you feeling instantly calmer.
You’ll also find when you write down your anxious feelings, they have less power over you. You’ll be able to look at them more subjectively and realize they aren’t as powerful as you thought they were.
4. Helping you to monitor your progress
When you’re trying to improve your anxiety levels, it can be pretty tough if you aren’t monitoring your progress. A journal can help you to see how far you’ve come since you started recording your thoughts and feelings.
It also enables you to identify and change any patterns which might be occurring. For example, you may find that you are more anxious at a certain time of day. By writing in the journal consistently, you’ll start to witness these types of patterns and record what you did to prevent them occurring again.
These are just some of the great benefits journaling for anxiety can deliver. As an additional bonus, once you start using the journal to manage your anxiety, you’ll also find it eases and prevents depression too. Those who do suffer with anxiety often suffer with depression too. So, being able to utilize something which can manage both conditions is fantastic.
If you haven’t given journaling for anxiety a go, now is definitely a great time to try it. There are numerous types of journals you can keep to manage anxiety and each has their own unique benefits.
An invaluable resource for self-help in a wide variety of areas can be found at getselfhelp.org. The above prompts have been adapted from the Thought Record resource. Use the above prompts for personal/therapeutic use only.