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Thursday, May 25, 2023

How To Journal For Anxiety: A Complete Guide For Beginners

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There are many ways to journal and even more reasons why people begin to journal. It can help people who want to become more organized, practice self-care, or help set goals. One significant reason for journaling is dealing with stress and anxiety to support mental health.

Anxiety is one of the most common mental health problems across the United States. It might seem trite to think that journaling is a way to cope with the stresses of everyday life. The guide below will explore how journaling can benefit those with anxiety and how you can get started today.

Journal Writing 101

Journal writing is the act of physically writing down your thoughts and feelings. Many people just start by writing whatever is currently on their minds when they sit down.

Writing forces people to organize their thoughts and focus on just one thing at a time. Journaling can provide a lot of clarity for people who feel scatterbrained, have significant concerns, and recognize patterns and emotions that pair with anxiety.

How To Begin Journaling

Before you sit down to write, ask yourself some important questions, such as, “Would I prefer a guided journal that helps prompt me with questions or a blank sheet of paper?” You may need to experiment here to find the journaling technique that works best for you.

Holding a pen to paper can be preferable, and some people may rather prefer sitting down at their laptops to type. You don’t have to limit yourself to one specific method of journaling.

You should also make it fun to journal, so you’re more likely to keep up with it. There are custom notebooks you can purchase, where you can add in fun incentives and extras like tabs, stickers and more to entice you to keep writing each day.

Some essential steps to follow that will help you throughout your journaling as you begin to include the following:

  • Be judge-free - there’s no proper or correct way of journaling. Write whatever you feel; don’t be critical of what comes out. Give yourself the benefit of the doubt and use what you write as a tool to help you relieve your stress and anxiety without judgment.
  • Develop a routine - there are bound to be days you don’t feel motivated to write or have anything inspiring to write down. However, establishing a routine with your journaling is the best way to make it a habit.

a. Helpful tip: Block out a specific time every day for just five minutes as you begin your journaling journey. Consider doing it with your morning coffee or just before you go to bed; this time-setting method helps you prioritize journaling and makes it a habit within your daily schedule.

  • Use prompts - journals that have prompts are helpful for beginners because they give you a topic to help you get writing. Here’s a list you can use when you start journaling to help you when you don’t know what to write about:

b. A challenging situation you’re dealing with;

c. One of your fondest memories;

d. Your favorite vacation;

e. A list of things you’re thankful for;

f. Write a letter to someone;

g. Lyrics to your favorite song and why it’s your favorite;

h. Positive affirmations;

i. Something or someone that made your day better.

  • Nothing is off limits - since your journal is just for you to help you with anxiety, there is no limit to what you can write about. Keep expectations realistic, and don’t expect to have complete stories or narratives in your writing. It’s okay to be messy and creative and write about anything that comes up.

Benefits of Journaling for Anxiety

Your thoughts influence how you feel, so if you’re feeling bogged down by something that’s plaguing you, you tend to think about it often, and it communicates with your feelings and emotions. The process of writing is a way to help release those pent-up emotions and thoughts, giving you more peace of mind.

There are studies proving that people who incorporated journaling reduced symptoms of anxiety and depression. With journaling, you can prioritize the things that concern you, providing clarity and recognizing triggers and avoid self care mistakes.

Journaling can supply you with a method to help relieve those feelings and help you feel calmer. For instance, maybe while journaling, you recognize that exercise helps you when you’re angry, so you can set new goals to exercise more often.

Keep in mind there’s no specific format to follow when you journal. Just get your thoughts and feelings down on a page, and allow yourself to become more in tune with your emotions so you can begin to release your anxieties.

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