The most important thing I have learned about anxiety is how to give myself the time and space to experience it without letting it get out of control and totally consume me. Journaling has helped me gain self-awareness around my emotions, my thoughts, and my belief systems. In order to overcome my anxiety I have had to sit with it, explore why it was coming up, and work through it. The following journal prompts have helped me learn to process my anxiety in a healthy way.
- Define your anxiety. What are you experiencing in this moment? Write down: “I feel (worry, frustration, regret, shame, panic, anger, irritability, impatience, etc.) and that is okay.”
- What is the source of this anxiety? What triggered it? When did it come up? What are all the contributing factors?
- What thoughts are you repeatedly having? What do you believe to be true? What proof do you have that this is actually true?
- Spend 2-5 minutes sitting in this feeling and fully experiencing it. Do not skip this step. Set a timer on your phone, sit in a quiet space, and breathe. Did any other thoughts or beliefs come up?
- Things might not be working out how you want right now, but what can you possibly learn from this experience? What can you take away from this situation? How could this be happening for you? It’s okay if being positive is too out of reach.
- What is in your control? What is out of your control?
- What do I need right now?
- What would your highest most compassionate self tell you in this moment? If this doesn’t resonate with you then what would you say to your friend right now if she/he was going through this?
- What are you grateful for in this moment?
- What is one thing I can do to make myself feel better right now (see my post on Self-Care for Anxiety for ideas).
Remember to give yourself lots of compassion when you feel anxious. It’s just a feeling, it’s not who you are, and it will pass!
Does journaling help you process your anxiety too? What prompts give you the most insight?