Journaling To Relieve Anxiety and Reduce Stress
It's Monday morning and you wake with that familiar inkling of anxiety stirring in the pit of your stomach. It starts to seep insidiously, into every fibre of your being.
You don't want to go to work or solve other people's problems today. Nor do you wish to face the myriad of impossible 'to-do' tasks that you know lie ahead.
The alarm blares a loud 'LAST WARNING!' reminding you -insultingly- that it's your final chance to 'get up and get going' if you don't want to be late!
'Arrrrgh, late! God forbid...' So now you rush…
You stress about what you have on your already overly-full plate, the people you have to deal with and feel panicky…
2020 THE YEAR THAT REALLY SUCKED!
Goodness knows this year: ‘THE YEAR OF 2020’ will go down in the history books as one that has caused way more stress and worry for many of us than possibly any other year in our lifetime. If you didn’t have anxiety before 2020, experts predict 95% of people will certainly have experienced some by the end of it.
What if I told you, there’s something that can instantly relieve some of your anxiety and with time, do so in a monumental way? It is something you can obtain and do, that will immediately help reverse your negative mindset. Indeed, it allows you to focus with clarity on the positive every day.
Well, there IS something and I know it works, because it helps me every, single day to stay positive, move forward and be optimistically focused.
RECOMMENDED AND ENCOURAGED BY THE EXPERTS
Today I am recommending a simple, inexpensive, time-honoured yet forgotten proposal that provides immediate relief for stress, anxiety and depression. It will soothe your psyche, permit you to vent -in a safe way- if needed, and enable you to think more clearly and confidently.
Our wise elders knew all about this special, little commodity ‘back in the day’. In fact, I remember when growing up, every girl had one! It is recommended by a myriad of professionals (psychologists, psychiatrists, doctors and life coaches) because its benefits are backed by science.
It is called a THOUGHT DIARY, aka a JOURNAL.
THE HOW & WHY OF A THOUGHT DIARY
Research proves there are incredible benefits gained both physically and mentally from the art of journaling. Many people use a journal to doodle, jot down lists, display their creativity, plan ahead, draw pics, chronicle their thoughts and diarise their lives.
Yes, it IS that simple! Let me tell you why and how it has changed my life for the better.
For me personally, it’s about keeping a gratitude journal. I’ve been keeping one for a while now and it has truly helped me re-evaluate my mindset and subtlely enabled me to think more confidently. In fact, it has helped in many ways.
About a year ago, a friend, having gone through previously troubling times herself, recommended journaling to me. She had recognised my increasing anxiety and suggested it as a great way to learn to focus on YOURSELF by writing about some things you love and the small things that make you happy. I remember her raving about how much it had helped her feel better in herself and about others.
‘OK,’ I thought. ‘What have I got to lose? 5 minutes in the morning and 5 minutes at night.’ So I invested in a beautiful journal (see below).
(1) Because I was more likely to use it, and
(2) It looked gorgeous on my bedside table, plus it had a wonderful inspirational quote that I really resonated with.
And so it began…
When I first started, I told myself I would try to write 5 things I was grateful for every night. – Frankly, I thought that might difficult!
Yes, I was in a bad way, with a very negative attitude and a seriously flawed state of mind.
Huh! These days though, my gratitude lists are overflowing and my positivity endless.
Gratitude begets gratitude.
HOW TO START
It may be as small and simple as ‘the weather was good today’ or ‘I am happy it rained, I am grateful to be able to hear the sound of rain on the roof’ or how ‘I really enjoyed the different tastes and textures of my dinner, ‘how I appreciated my legs for carrying me on my walk today’ or that I was thankful that ‘I could walk at the beach, smell the sea’ or ‘a gorgeously aromatic flower’, appreciate how ‘perfect nature made that flower’ etc…
Pretty soon your thought patterns change, your eyes open and your gratefulness expands enormously. It’s like you get a new zest for life!
I have found that writing down my positive thoughts boosts my sense of gratitude further and allows me to focus on ‘all the good things’ in my life. It leads me to be way more optimistic in my overall outlook and fosters respect for myself and others.
WHAT THE EXPERTS SAY
It has been proven that feelings of gratitude increase the happy hormones in our brains which raises our mood and makes us feel less stressed.
Experts report that ‘keeping a gratitude journal can be profoundly life-altering’ and I concur.
Psychology Professor – Dr Robert Emmons says clinical studies have shown that the art of writing about gratitude “can lower blood pressure, improve immune function and facilitate more efficient sleep.”
Expressing gratitude can help with depression, fatigue and insomnia. It strengthens resilience, centres your feelings and emotions, leaving you feeling happier and more peaceful within yourself.
Positive Psychology says that “expressing your gratitude makes you less materialistic. It also helps prevent burnout and encourages patience.”
Journaling is a wonderful way of diving deep to discover yourself. It helps you unpack all the layers, emotions and thoughts that can build up in your mind, to bring you a calmer way of life.
MY JOURNAL, MY PERSPECTIVE
Journalling for me has become a profoundly powerful tool to create and maintain my everyday happiness.
My journal is my little corner of peace at night where I can instantly, reflect, wind-down and know it will soothe my worries and improve my headspace. It allows me to put aside the technology (phones, Ipads, laptops and the like) and disconnect from my problems.
I feel like it has trained my brain to relax before bed, thus inducing sleep.
I find that writing is very therapeutic, it’s fun and it’s a skill worth practising.
Essentially, it brings me clarity, control and a sense of infinite calm.
They say that learning a new skill when you’re anxious gives you a feeling of self-worth and accomplishment.
There are so many other ways in which a journal aka a ‘thought diary’ may benefit you, but today I am telling my story.
Whether you want to make sense of your feelings, deal with challenging times, address your anxiety (like me) or simply connect deeper with yourself, journaling is a wonderful tool to assist you on your journey of self-discovery.