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Many of us struggle with anxiety and stress from our daily lives, but not many of us seek out ways to cope or eradicate this anxiety. From medication to therapy to yoga, there are many different ways that an individual suffering from anxiety may find some relief. One additional way that many people don’t think about is through journaling. Journaling may also be an effective tool for helping those with PTSD and depression.

When I discuss journaling, I am talking about it in the sense of writing down anxious and stressful thoughts and then analyzing these thoughts. This tool can be beneficial for relieving anxiety and stress, but also for increasing happiness and health. Although there are different ways that you could go about journaling, here is one method you can try.

Step One: Begin by journaling for around ten minutes about things that may be causing anxiety, stress, or are just bothering you at the moment. Write all of these thoughts down until you feel that everything that you are worried about has all been put onto the page. You can then expand on these ideas by describing what current events are difficult for you. For example, this would mean writing down some concerns you have about what is currently happening or what could happen.

Step Two: Next, you can focus on your current fears. Begin by writing down one of your fears or stressors, and then think about what you are worried may happen due to these fears. Once you have written down all of the difference possibilities of events that may happen based off of the anxious ideas, fears, or stressors you may have, you can examine how the outcomes of these possibilities would affect you if they were to happen.

Step Three: Once you have all of your fears, causes of anxiety and stress, and possible outcomes of these events written down, you can now go back over what you have written and reflect on these thoughts. You can ask yourself whether or not you can change your circumstances or how likely certain events are to happen. By challenging these fears, you can work towards relieving your anxiety over them. You can then go through each of your fears or stressors and try to write down one or more ways of how you can think differently about them. By thinking through what you would do in one of these stressful situations, you may find that you fear them less and instead feel more prepared in case they were to happen.

While journaling, try to focus on obstacles that you have faced and prevailed through in your past. Focus on your strength and ability to handle these previous stressors and fears. It can also be helpful to write down events or ideas that induce these feelings of fear and worry in between therapy sessions so that you have a reference of what you were thinking and how it made you feel when it comes time to discuss these ideas. Journaling is a cathartic way to actively work to reduce daily stressors, anxiety, depression, PTSD, and other mental illnesses.

– Haidyn Emmerich
Nourish Your Mind Blog Contributor
Neuroscience & Psychology Student – Syracuse University
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