Journaling For Anxiety: How To Journal Effectively?

journaling for anxiety

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Journaling is one of the most popular stress and anxiety management tools. It can help with reducing feelings of distress and worry. Journaling is known to relieve stress by helping people work through their pent-up emotions. Writing your anxious thoughts down on paper can help analyze them in detail and see where the roots of the stress are coming from

There are many ways to journal, and starting out with this technique can seem intimidating. Some prefer journaling on a daily basis, while others take weekly notes. Some people are journaling on an as-needed basis when they have some feelings to share and analyze.

If you are new to journaling, we recommend you try different approaches to journaling and stick to the one that feels the most comfortable and effective for your lifestyle. 

Does Journaling Help Anxiety?

Journaling can help manage and reduce anxiety if practiced regularly. To start journaling for anxiety, you can try using one of the guided notebooks available on the market that will walk you through the process of analyzing your feelings and finding the reasons behind your stress. Therabook: The Anxiety Edition, for example, uses the power of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy to help you manage anxiety.

Alternatively, just writing down your thoughts on paper and taking a step back to observe them helps to see the stressful situation from a different angle. In addition, the act of writing down your thoughts helps to get them out of your mind so you can feel more clarity. 

Do Affirmations Help Anxiety?

Yes, affirmations can help manage anxiety by strengthening your feelings of self-worth and confidence. Having a list of affirmations that are specific for certain anxious situations can help tremendously. For instance, if you are anxious about flying on planes, you can make use of affirmations that are related to this situation: “It’s going to be okay, I’ve flown multiple times and I’m still alive and well,” or “I am strong and this flight is only going to make me stronger.” 

You can also use affirmations to bring your mind back to a state of calmness in times of extreme stress. These affirmations can include “I am calm and centered,” “I have the power within me,” and “I am healthy and nourished.”

What Is The Best Journal For Mental Health?

There are a number of amazing journals on the market that are aimed at helping people reduce and manage their anxiety. Therabook: The Anxiety Edition is a guided notebook based on proven Cognitive Behavioural Therapy exercises to help you learn to effectively manage your anxiety. Packed with 40 carefully crafted journal entries and CBT materials to help you work through your feelings, Therabook is the #1 anti-anxiety notebook. 

Journaling For Mental Health

 journaling for anxiety

Remember the times when you were a teenager and you kept a diary hidden under your mattress? That time, without even knowing it, you were doing yourself a huge favor – you worked through your intense feelings and felt better instantly. 

However, as we reach adulthood, many of us stop this habit of journaling and writing down our feelings, as we have less privacy and time for self-care. Some even consider journaling a waste of time, but, in reality, it is one of the greatest tools that can be available to anyone. Grab a piece of paper and a pen and get working. 

Journaling for mental health does not only mean journaling for anxiety. This technique can help with depression, ADHD, PTSD, and other mental disorders. With journaling, you are able to gain control of your feelings and significantly improve your mental health. 

See related: Best Anti – Anxiety Rings You Need In Your Life

Journaling To Challenge Anxious Thoughts

As we mentioned before, journaling for anxiety includes writing down your anxious thoughts on paper and observing them. Now, the next step towards a calmer mind is challenging your anxious thoughts and beliefs.

Let’s briefly go through the process together so you have a better idea.

Write Down Your Worries

This first step includes writing down any anxious thoughts that come to your mind. They can be related to a particular situation or can be unrelated to anything at all. During this step, you need to try and be as specific as possible – describe the setting you were in when you felt anxious and note down the time. 

Describe your emotions

Now, think about which specific emotions you felt during that stressful situation. Try and name your emotions as specifically as possible – for example, instead of “anxious”, you can write “helpless” or “overwhelmed”. You can use the Feelings Wheel to identify your specific emotions.

Challenge Your Emotions

The next step in journaling for anxiety is challenging your anxious thoughts. How to do that? Take a look at the thoughts and feelings you’ve described during the first step. Can you see them from a different angle? Ask yourself a number of questions about your concerns:

  • How likely is it that your worries are actually truthful? How do you know? Do you have any proof?
  • Imagine the feared situation does happen eventually – is it really as bad as you imagine it? Can it be more positive or neutral?
  • What potential alternative situation you can think about? Can you think of a more realistic way things are going to happen?

By asking yourself questions about anxious thoughts, you break the pattern of negative thinking and introduce different ways of thinking about a stressful situation. Journaling for anxiety can help take a step back and judge a stressful situation in a more realistic and neutral way, without getting too involved in your emotions. 

Think About Your Strengths

Recall any previous stressful situations that you were able to manage without letting your anxiety take over your mind. Think in detail about how you handled those situations and remember how great and proud you felt after you were able to overcome those difficulties.

This can help you feel more confident in your abilities to live through any future anxious situations, as internally, you already know you are capable of withstanding this level of stress. Even if the current moment is making your feel uncomfortable, remember that you have that inner strength that will not go away anywhere and it keeps you anchored.  

Write Down a Plan Of Actions

When journaling for anxiety, you can write down a “plan of actions” for building your resilience against anxious feelings. Note down some mental health goals you want to be able to achieve and set approximate deadlines.

Then, write down the things you will do to get to your desired mental health state – you can include journaling, exercising, meditating, eating and sleeping well and hobbies. Review your goals at least once a month. 

Benefits of Journaling for Anxiety

 journaling for anxiety

 Aside from one obvious benefit, which is relieving stressful and anxious feelings, journaling has a ton more perks that come with regular practice. 

Helps you to keep your thoughts organized

The act of journaling helps you to organize your thoughts and make them easy to analyze. It’s easy to come back to your previous records and compare your current thoughts against them.

Journaling can help keep you accountable

When setting your goals verbally, it’s easy to forget them, as they do not feel “tangible”. When you write down your goals on paper and prepare the action plan, you are much more likely to work towards achieving them. 

Journaling is perfect for self-reflection

Looking back at your previous records of anxious thoughts you’ve had can help you to see the progress you’ve made over time. It can help empower you and motivate you to keep working towards a calmer life. 

Journaling is best for getting things off your chest

When there is something you’d like to talk to someone, but feel insecure about, journaling is your best friend. You can write anything you want on paper without any filter or fear of judgement. You can burn the paper later if you’d like to get rid of those thoughts and not come back to them.