Whenever people hear the word “journaling,” they picture a teenage girl writing in her diary with her feet dangling from the bed. This visualization is a misconception that journaling only caters to the young generation. However, this technique is perfect for all ages, especially for individuals battling anxiety and depression.
Effective journaling helps you improve your quality of life. There is no single approach to this, and it varies from person to person. Overall, this writing practice has been proven to deliver the following results:
- Improved mood
- Enhanced sense of well-being
- Reduced intrusion of stress
- Enhanced working memory
- Reduced symptoms for anxiety and depression
- Healed traumatic experience
- Increased self-awareness and self-expression
To get you started, here are some tips on the best practices in creating and maintaining your self-help journal.
Make It A Habit To Write
Remember, making a regular habit out of journaling will help you feel its benefits more. Decide on the time of the day where you will sit down, reflect on your emotions, and start writing about it.
Some people prefer to do this practice in the morning to go forward and start their day right. On the other hand, some are more inclined to journaling at night to check up on themselves with regards to how their day went. Whichever you choose, make sure to have a place for this activity in your daily routine.
Focus On Your Intention, Not Your Plan
Making a plan defeats the purpose of journaling. If you’re not the type of person who is spontaneous when it comes to writing, then focus on your intention or goal instead of a detailed plan. Avoid dictating what the outline is and what you should and should not include in there. Take note that your journal should be a safe space where you can jot down uninhibited thoughts and emotions. This practice will help you relieve your anxiety.
Take Note Of Important Questions
The best way to tap your real emotions is to connect with the realities of your life. Here are some questions that can guide in your self-reflection:
- What are the fears that are holding me back right now?
- What are the areas of my personality that I need to fix?
- What factors contribute to my anxiety?
- Are there relationships (friends, partner, or family) that I need to work on?
- What is/are my coping mechanisms?
Make sure to answer these questions as honestly as possible so that you can adequately express and process your emotions.
It might be a little bit challenging not to be horrified with what’s happening with your life if you’ve been through a lot. However, you must always remember that even though things may get ugly at times, it does not mean that you are an awful person. Almost everyone goes through this stage.
What you should do is to practice self-compassion and non-judgment every day. These should be present, especially if your journal is full of negative narratives. Once you reach this kind of mindset, it will be easier for you to write, assess, and forgive yourself for what you are currently going through.
Anxiety and depression are difficult to address. With the help of journaling, however, rest assured that you will ease the burden brought by these mental health issues.