Journaling for Anxiety: How to Calm Your Anxious Mind
Struggling with an anxious mind? Journaling for anxiety relief is a flexible, low-cost practice that guides your mind away from overly anxious thought patterns and steers it toward identifying and overcoming your triggers.
It might come as a surprise to you, but anxiety is normal and even beneficial at times. It’s a natural stress response that helps you stay alert in dangerous situations.
However, for some people, this fear and worry is so intense and persistent that it interferes with their ability to function, hindering them from experiencing life to the fullest.
In this article, we discuss how journaling can alleviate anxiety, delve into its benefits, and show you how to get started!
How Journaling Can Reduce Your Anxiety
Think of anxiety as an internal alarm system triggered by real or perceived threats. If set off too frequently, this intricate behavioral response system can negatively impact you mentally, physically, and behaviorally.
This practice can potentially reduce your negative response toward emotionally charged memories and flush out chronic worry from working memory, minimizing its distracting effects on your ability to think and function.
But the proof, as they say, is in the pudding. Fortunately, journaling has a well-documented history, with numerous studies examining its positive impact on anxiety and overall mental health.
For example, a 2018 study asked participants to journal three times a week over 12 weeks. After one month, participants reported experiencing a reduction in their anxiety levels alongside increased levels of resilience toward stress.
Similarly, a 2021 study found that using an informative journaling app reduced anxiety and depression symptoms among young adults.
The above suggests journaling can help quiet an anxious mind. So why not give it a try? It might just be the answer you’ve been looking for.
What Are The Benefits of Journaling for Anxiety?
The research tells us that journaling does seem to have a positive effect on anxiety levels.
It’s understandable, then, that journaling for anxiety can help you:
- recognize patterns and triggers that cause feelings of anxiety
- determine which of your anxieties are real or perceived
- understand the way you see and react to the world around you
- practice positive self-affirming talk
- acknowledge that you may need further assistance to work through your anxiety
- workshop ways to de-escalate and even overcome your anxiety
- remember that you’re capable of dealing with difficult situations
- face uncomfortable emotions
- focus on what is within your control
- Improve your self-esteem by reminding yourself of your victories
If you’re going through a rough patch with your anxiety and feel like you could do with some of these benefits, then it might be time for you to tackle your worries with some journaling.
How to Start Journaling for Anxiety
Tackling your anxiety through writing can feel daunting. So take a moment to recognize this critical step to working on your mental health — you deserve it!
Now, what’s the next step? Here’s what you need to do:
First, choose a medium you’re most comfortable using, whether pen and paper or a digital platform.
Next, establish a routine so that you remain as consistent as possible. Journaling in the morning can help you tackle the day with a clearer mind, whereas journaling before bedtime can help you unwind for a good night's rest. You could even pen your thoughts whenever you feel a spike in your anxiety coming on.
Tips for Making Anxiety Journaling a Habit
Finally, you’ve made it to the writing part. If you’re feeling slightly overwhelmed and don’t know where to begin, try the following suggestions:
- Challenge your thoughts. The goal here is to de-escalate your thoughts and emotions so that you can separate real vs. perceived threats. Once you’ve done this, you can start workshopping ways to tackle them.
- Be positivity-focused. Humans are biased toward negativity, even at the best of times. Anxiety can exacerbate this and cause us to get stuck in extremely negative thought patterns. A great way to combat inherent negativity bias is to practice gratitude journaling. This helps you foster a more positive outlook, which is incredibly important while dealing with anxiety.
- Ground yourself. Bring yourself into the present by writing down five things you can see, four things you can touch, three things you hear, two things you can smell, and one thing you can taste.
The last thing you need on your plate is more worry. If the idea of journaling makes you feel scared or nervous, but you really want to give it a bash, consider trying Rosebud for free.
This AI-journaling companion takes the anxiety out of journaling with its thoughtful prompts and insightful reflections, providing you with a safe, relaxing space to work on your mental health.