by Zara Mohammed, Lifestyle Columnist
Published in Lifestyle on 24th August, 2018
Journaling can help you to keep track of your negative thoughts and manage them so that they don't have a crippling effect on your everyday life. Worry, stress and anxious thoughts will take over if you let them, so get them down on paper and out of your head with these 5 journal prompts for relieving anxiety.
Sometimes the best thing to do if your mind is consumed with anxious thoughts and you feel like you can't do anything about anything is to get it all out of your head immediately.
A good way to do this would be to talk to someone, but unfortunately not everyone in our lives may understand why we feel the way we do, and it can be difficult to talk to people if they don't relate to how you are feeling.
Instead you can use your journal to extract your crippling thoughts. A big worry purge is when you write down everything you are worrying about in your journal without thinking about it. Don't think about whether you are stupid for feeling in a particular way, or if it makes any sense, don't try to explain it, just write it down. Write without stopping.
It is especially important to write down all the little insignificant things that have been bothering you that you wouldn't dream of telling anyone else because you know they wouldn't get it.
Once you have written everything down, allow yourself the luxury of leaving your thoughts in your journal and get on with something else for a while. It's okay to leave your worries behind you and come back to them later when you have a clearer head and will feel less overwhelmed.
Writing down the things that are getting to you in the form of a letter feels more like sharing your problems, even if you have no intention of sending the letter to anyone in particular.
Writing a letter that you aren't going to send gives you the freedom to rant without boring your friends. You can say anything you feel you need to say, even if it sounds bitchy, unfair or totally out of character, because you are safe in the knowledge that nobody else is likely to read it.
You can address it to someone if you want to secretly express how you feel to them without causing problems. This can be particularly helpful if you find it difficult to communicate with someone like a partner, family member, or work colleague.
Alternatively you can use it as a kind of practice run in order to organise your thoughts before having the real conversation.
Interviewing yourself in your journal can be a positive and effective way to face up to fears, thoughts, actions and more. It is easy to put yourself down and feel inadequate, but when you actually face up to your thoughts, you can sort out what your real feelings are. Sometimes we think one thing but don't realise that those thoughts are a reflection of some other fear.
By interviewing your past, present and future self you can reflect on how much you have grown, and develop a more positive outlook for the future.
Here are some questions ideas:
It can be useful, not to mention quite fun for those of you who enjoy stories, to turn your life into a work of fiction. If there is an event or situation that is causing you anxiety, or a conversation that you have to have, or a decision you have to make, try playing it out as you write about yourself as a character in a story.
The fun thing about this is that your character doesn't have to be you. You can put anyone you want into your shoes, whether it is someone you know, a famous person, or just make someone up! You can play about with what happens in the story too. Take it as seriously as you want or have fun with it and write an unlikely ending.
Writing about yourself and your life can help you to relax, use your imagination and think more positively. At the end of the day there are endless possibilities in real life as well as in your story, and perhaps this will help you to free yourself from any fears you have, and go with the flow.
Take some time to write about what an ideal day would look and feel like to you, from the moment you wake up in the morning to the moment you put your head down to sleep at night.
Include small details and don't forget to mention things like the weather, what your food tastes like, and what you would want to achieve throughout the day.
Writing about all of the positive things that you want to be part of a normal day, that make you feel happy and balanced, helps you to manifest those things into your life.
If you wrote about taking your dog for a beautiful peaceful walk and stopping at a cafe for a cup of tea to read your book, you are more likely to actually do these things in real life, because they are already there in your head.
Writing about what you want to do instead of worrying about what you aren't doing is much more positive and will lead you in the right direction.
Don't forget to write in your journal often. Think of it as your best friend and confidante. It is a little part of you, and if you keep it nearby you will always have something to help you banish your anxieties before they control your life.