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Journaling is a highly effective tool for managing anxiety, and using journal prompts for anxiety is a great way to get started!
According to psychologists,
“If you struggle with stress, depression, or anxiety, keeping a journal is a great idea. It can help you gain control of your emotions and improve your mental health.”
But journaling is not anything new.
People have been keeping diaries/journals for thousands of years.
Oscar Wilde said,
“I never travel without my diary. One should always have something sensational to read on the train.”
I have kept a journal for as long as I can remember.
As a little girl, I used to draw in my journal creating beautiful flowers and hearts in bright colors.
When I was nine years old my family and I lived through a war and during that time I wrote about my pain, fear, anger, and overall frustration with the world. By expressing my thoughts, feelings, and emotions freely, and honestly, I was able to hold myself together and spare my mum from my tears who had a lot to deal with.
In my teens, I continued to journal to release my emotional pain of trying to fit in a new country.
Later and in my 20s when my anxiety got out of control, I began journaling intensively to try to make sense of everything that was going on in my mind and to identify when I was more anxious or less anxious. This helped me to make significant lifestyle changes, which was one of the main reasons why I overcame chronic anxiety.
Today I use my journal to write creatively, give thanks, and release anything that is bothering me.
In this article, I am going to teach you how to journal for mental health and give you a list of my favorite journal prompts for anxiety to get you started right away!
Table of Contents
How Journal Writing Helps with Anxiety?
Journaling Can Help You Identify Your Fears, Worries, and Negative Thought Patterns
Most anxiety sufferers struggle with excessive worrying as this is one of the most common anxiety symptoms. And while we may believe that we know everything we are worrying about, there are too many thoughts that go through our minds for us to keep a track of.
At the peak of my anxiety, I was worrying constantly!
I worried at work, at home, in social situations, before going to bed, in the morning, on the train, while driving, when with friends, while cooking and eating. I also used to grind my teeth at night which meant that I was anxious during my sleep as well!
An until I started journaling I wasn't aware of some of my worst fears, worries, and negative thought patterns.
Once I identified them, I started to work on them.
According to psychologist Barbara Markway
There’s simply no better way to learn about your thought processes than to write them down.
Journaling Can Help You Track Progress
Journaling doesn't only have to be about writing down your thoughts and feelings.
You can also use your journal for more practical record keeping.
For example, I used to keep a record of the following list of items. This information was invaluable, because I was then able to set specific anti-anxiety goals and track my progress.
Journaling Can Help You Discover Things at the Root of Your Anxiety
I had spent most of my life trying to ignore my anxiety. But when I couldn't ignore my symptoms any longer I was forced to do something about my mental health.
This is when I started using journal prompts for anxiety.
While journaling is truly great, journal prompts can be even more effective because they make you think about anxiety in a way that you might not have thought of before.
For example, if I asked you to answer the following questions you may discover something that you weren't aware of.
- What would you be without anxiety?
- What do you need to let go of?
- Make a list of people that you feel very anxious about?
- Are there any areas of your life that can be more organized?
Journal prompts for anxiety are designed for you to think more deeply about the root issues of your mental health.
Other Benefits of Journaling for Anxiety
The above benefits of keeping a journal are not the only ones!
There are many more journaling benefits for anxiety !
Research shows that journaling can help
How to Journal For Anxiety?
Step 1 - Get the Right Equipment
To start journaling all you need is a notepad, a pen, and the willingness to write! Choose a good quality notepad that you like because if it is ugly, you’re probably not going to use it. Also, find a pen or pencil that you are comfortable writing with. And don’t confuse willingness to write with being a good writer. Your journal is only for you!
Step 2 - Make Journaling a Daily Habit
The most effective way to track your anxiety, and what impacts your anxiety is to spend 10-15 minutes journaling daily. If you leave days, weeks, or months between your journal entries, it becomes more difficult to identify patterns because you’ll likely to only write on your worst anxiety days. Try journaling for 30 consecutive days and you’ll see what I mean.
Step 3 - Schedule a Time to Journal
In your phone calendar schedule a time when you plan to write in your journal. Try to pick a slot that is realistic so that you’ll easily fulfill your journaling task. I tend to journal in the mornings but that’s just my personal preference.
Step 4 - Carry Your Journal with You
If you choose to write first thing in the morning or last thing at night then keep your journal and pen on your nightstand. Otherwise carry both in your bag so that it’s easily accessible. You’re more likely to journal if you do this.
Step 5 - Honesty is the Best Policy
When you go to therapy the more honest you are with your therapist, the more you’ll get out of therapy. The same goes for your journal. If you let go and write honestly, you will get more out of this process.
Step 6 - Use Journal Prompts for Anxiety
Even if you prefer to write freely, try to use journal prompts for anxiety at least once a month. They are designed to make you think about your anxiety in a way that you wouldn’t normally, and I have found this to be extremely helpful and eye-opening.
Step 7 - Regularly Review Your Journal
One of the main reasons for writing in a journal is so that you can go back and read what you have written. Re-reading your entries is a highly effective way of identifying patterns and issues that you need to work on. But also, to see how you are doing. You can do this once a month, or once a quarter.
42 Journal Prompts for Anxiety
Get started with the following 42 simple journal prompts for anxiety.
The first six are daily journal prompts, while the rest you can answer once a month.
Simple copy each question in your journal and answer freely and honestly!
Remember to regularly review your entries to see how well you are doing over time.
- Daily Prompts
1. Today’s Anxiety Rating
On a scale of 1-10 (1 being the worst and 10 being the best), what would you say your anxiety is right now.
2. Current State
What do you feel most anxious about at this moment and why?
- What is the best scenario that is likely to play out?
- What is the worst scenario that is likely to play out?
- What is the “most realistic” scenario that is likely to play out?
- What evidence do you have for each scenario?
3. Daily Dose of Positivity
What three positive things have happened to you today? Write as much detail as you can.
4. Today’s Worries
Make a list of everything you are worried about. Write as many things as you can. They can be big or small.
5. Daily Gratitude
What 3 things are you grateful for today.
6. Knowledge is Power
What have you learned today? How is your life better because of this new knowledge?
- Monthly Prompts
1. Biggest Fears
What are three things that you are most afraid of and the reasons why.
2. Dream Job
Take a moment to think about your dream job. If you could be anything what would you be?
Make a list of your favorite compliments that you have received from others.
Write about 5 occasions in your life when you were truly happy?
5. Lessons Learned
Think back to a moment in your life when you failed at something. Write about what you have learned from this experience.
6. Anxiety Relief Techniques
What strategies have you used to help you cope with anxiety? Rank these coping strategies from 1 to 10; 1 being the least effective and 10 being the most effective for anxiety relief.
Make a list of situations when you are anxious. If you are anxious all the time, then make a list of situations when you are the most anxious.
Rank the items on the list from 1 to 10; 1 being when you are least anxious and 10 being when you are most anxious.
8. Anxiety Triggers
What triggers your anxiety or makes your anxiety worse?
Write down at least 10 activities you can do to give yourself better self-care.
Think of someone who has caused you pain. Write a letter to this person explaining that you forgive them. You can give this letter to them or just do it as an exercise for yourself.
11. Anxiety Lessons
What have you learned from anxiety? Write about the three greatest lessons you have been given by your anxiety.
Make a list of values that are important to you.
13. Inspirational Quotes
Write down three quotes and/or affirmations that you like.
14. Letting Go
Is there a situation or person that you need to let go of? Write your reasons for holding on.
Make a list of all the things that you are grateful for in your life. Try to write as much as possible.
Take a moment to imagine your life without anxiety. What would you be doing in this life?
17. Things that Make You Smile
Write down at least 10 things that always make you smile.
What are your greatest qualities? Try your best to come up with a longer list, or at least 3.
19. Inspiring People
If you could meet anyone in the world who would that be and why?
20. Greatest Supporters
Who has been your biggest supporter? Write a thank you letter to that person. You can give this letter to them or just do it as an exercise for yourself.
If you could visit any country in the world where would you go? Make a list and the reasons why.
22. Overcoming Fears
Choose a fear that you would like to overcome and write a list of ways how you could overcome this fear.
Describe your biggest accomplishments.
24. Body Scan
Make a list of things that you like and don’t like about your body. Next to each item write a reason why.
25. Admirable Traits
What traits do you admire most in others? How do you see these traits in yourself?
26. Bad Habits
What are your ten worst habits and how do they impact your anxiety and life in general.
Make a list of your talents? Write next to each one what you are doing to nourish this talent?
28. Good Relationships
Write down all the people with whom you have a good relationship with and the reasons why.
28. Bad Relationships
Think about people who you have a bad relationship with. Make a list of these people and the reasons why. Also, write next to each person why they are still in your life.
29. Negative Thoughts
Write down your most re-occurring negative thoughts and the reasons why they keep repeating.
Decide on one goal that you’d like to accomplish and create an action plan for how you can achieve it.
What brings you peace and why?
32. Making a Change
Make a list of 3 things that you want to change about yourself. Then write action points on how you could accomplish this.
33. Safe Zone
Where do you feel the safest and the reasons why?
34. True Love
Who loves you truly for who you are?
35. Looking Forward
Write about what you look forward to every day and the reasons why.
Selection of Beautiful Journals
Journal prompts for anxiety are a powerful technique that can help you identify some of the core issues that are triggering your symptoms.
Make a habit of journaling and answering prompts regularly, but also set actionable anti-anxiety goals and track your progress.
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