The Power of an Anxiety Journal
An anxiety journal is a powerful mental health tool. Keeping an anxiety journal can help you reduce anxiety and move forward freely into your quality life. Beyond that, an anxiety journal can empower you to know what that quality of life will be like and how to create it.
There are numerous strategies and tools for reducing anxiety, and the more you gather the better able you'll be to break free from anxiety's constraints. Journaling is a powerful strategy. Here's a look at what it can do for you and your anxiety to help you decide if it's something you'd like to try for your mental health and wellbeing.
What Is an Anxiety Journal?
An anxiety journal, or diary, can be as simple as a spiral notebook or loose-leaf paper in a binder. It can also be a special book designed for the purpose of addressing your anxiety. Some journals take an electronic form and are available as apps on your smartphone. You can engage in free-writing, in which it's just you and a blank page that you fill with what comes to mind at the moment. You might encounter guided journals, books with prompts for reflection that target specific aspects of anxiety.
There are so many different types of journals for anxiety because we are all unique with our own type of and experience with anxiety as well as personal preferences. This is one of the refreshing things about anxiety journaling. There is no right or wrong way to do it, no rules, no restrictions. It's you and your unique expression. That alone is empowering.
Regardless of what type you gravitate toward, anxiety journaling offers specific benefits. Here's what it could do for you.
Benefits of an Anxiety Journal
When you sit down with your journal, pen in hand (or fingers on a touchscreen), healing happens.
- Are confidants and companions, friends to whom you can disclose your thoughts, feelings, and experiences without fear of judgment or stigma
- Invite you to explore your anxious thoughts and replace them with different, more effective, thought patterns
- Help you express your emotions and thus better understand them--what triggers them and how you react to them
- Inspire revelations and ah-ha moments as you notice patterns and discover new perspectives
- Lead you to solutions as you see everything out in front of you rather than bouncing around in your brain
- Encourage you to learn about the "you" that is trapped and hidden under the anxiety
These two examples illustrate how a guided anxiety journal can help you understand and transcend your anxiety.
- Write about a recent situation when you assumed the worst. Try to reframe the moment by accepting the reality of the situation free of judgment. What do you feel as you look at the situation in a new light?
- Our negative, anxious thoughts can be brutal and make us hard on ourselves. On the left side of your, list words or phrases your anxiety uses to describe you. On the right, make your voice stronger than anxiety's voice and use positive, reality-based words to describe yourself.
Prompts in guided journals deal with many different aspects of anxiety, tools for overcoming it, and self-explorations. In an open-ended journal, you freely write about topics of your choice at the time of writing. Again, there is no right or wrong. You can choose what works for you, and you can have multiple formats if you prefer.
The most powerful aspect of any anxiety journal is what you do with the insight you gain. When you use your discoveries to formulate a workable, personalized plan to move forward, you create and live a quality life in which anxiety is no longer bothersome.
Peterson, T. (2020, February 20). The Power of an Anxiety Journal, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2022, August 15 from https://www.healthyplace.com/blogs/anxiety-schmanxiety/2020/2/the-power-of-an-anxiety-journal
Author: Tanya J. Peterson, MS, NCC, DAIS
Love this post. I've had a diary/journal since I started learning how to write. I've always loved books and reading and writing, so being someone with anxiety I'm glad to read that people other than myself use writing and journaling as a way to help with and express their anxiety. My favorite line in the post was "Anxiety Journals are confidants and companions, friends to whom you can disclose your thoughts, feelings, and experiences without fear of judgment or stigma" and that is something I've thought of about my journals my whole life: that they're my confidants and the one place that I feel fully comfortable talking about my true feelings.
Thank you so much for your comment/feedback! I am always grateful to read about people's thoughts and ideas. The line you mentioned is my favorite, too. I love that I can devote a special place to express myself without fear of judgment. That's important for everyone, especially those of us with anxiety who tend to fear judgment! :)