Most people have heard of journalling these days, but did you know it’s not just for a gratitude practice or goal setting, it can help if you experience anxiety or have a tendency to over-think & worry about situations too?
Why is it helpful? - It offers a safe space for you to offload any pent up feelings, anxious thoughts and beliefs about situations and allows you to distance yourself from and re-evaluate what you might be feeling once the initial emotion has been released.
Here’s an interesting fact… the average person has between 50,000 to 70,000 thoughts a day. That’s an average of 60 thoughts a minute!
A lot of those thoughts are repetitive or low-level. But if you’re constantly repeating the same anxious, negative thoughts, you’ll keep yourself stuck in an anxiety inducing, hyper-vigilant state.
When you journal you can start to notice, and then challenge some of those repetitive thought loops, & then free yourself to be able to start changing those anxious thought patterns.
As you becoming more practised at recognising, understanding, and managing your emotions you will naturally increase and strengthen your emotional intelligence.
So how do you journal for anxiety?
Here are a few quick pointers to help you get started & get the most out of the experience.
- Sit down with no distractions, set yourself a timer if you are limited on time (10-20 minutes is a good place to start) and just allow yourself to write freely.
- Don’t worry about spelling, grammar, sentence construction or how neat your writing is, it doesn’t matter - just write.
- Allow your thoughts to just flow, about anything & everything which is in your mind right now - just write.
- Don’t worry whether it makes sense or not, no one else is going to read it, this is just for you, you don’t even need to read it back afterwards if you don’t want to.
- Let the thoughts in your head just flow out, any & all of them are welcome. Allow yourself to express your emotions & thoughts freely. Don’t judge what is coming up, be a passive observer just letting whatever you think & feel to flow out through your pen.
- As you write, notice any repeating patterns of overthinking or anxious thoughts.
- Now you have finished writing you have 2 choices.....
i. You can either step away & let the experience be an exercise in offloading & processing your emotions & anxious thoughts. (If you do this, notice how you feel having done this exercise).
ii. Or you can re-read what you wrote & notice what came up for you.
If you choose to reread it then the benefit comes from challenging those anxious thoughts, patterns of over-thinking, & worries you have….
- How true are those anxious thoughts?
- Is there any action you can take over what worries you or do you just need to let it go?
- What is the best way for you to deal with the anxiety and over-thinking you are experiencing
- What have you learned about yourself?
- What is going to help you most of all in dealing with the anxiety you experience moving forwards?
Journalling can be a great way to release anxiety, & question negative thoughts, or patterns of worry & rumination.
But if you are one of the many people for whom the anxiety, worry or patterns of negative thinking or rumination has become too much & you’d like to look at ways to set yourself free- to feel, think and respond to situations differently, then drop me an email or fill in the contact form below & I’ll be in touch.