Using Journaling and Logging To Manage Anxiety
Journaling and logging your thoughts and patterns are two extremely effective ways to manage anxiety. While they may appear to be the same, journaling is quite different from logging. By incorporating the two practices into your daily routine, you can ultimately overcome a good part of your anxiety.
What is Journaling?
Journaling is a technique highly recommended by therapists where you write down your thoughts and feelings via free-form writing, bullet journaling, or gratitude journaling. The core premise of just putting your thoughts on actual paper can be immensely therapeutic and provide a release for your emotions that you aren’t able to express verbally. Journaling can lead to a better understanding behind the root causes of our stress and anxiety so that you can begin to find strategies to manage it.
What are Benefits of Journaling?
Journaling comes with a variety of benefits, but specifically it allows us to reflect on our experiences and gain perspective on why we feel the way we do. When you feel anxious, it’s common to spiral into your negative thought patterns. By stepping back and writing your thoughts down, it aids in identifying any irrational or exaggerated thinking. Once that’s done, you can take specific steps to challenge the thoughts.
Another benefit of journaling to reduce anxiety is it can help showcase patterns in our thoughts. By being able to go back and review previous journal entries, you may begin to notice recurring themes and triggers that impact your anxiety levels. For example, you might find that sleep deprivation directly correlates to higher levels of anxiety. On the other hand, caffeine intake could be your trigger on more anxiety-filled days.
What is Logging?
Logging involves tracking specific behaviors or symptoms that relate to your anxiety. You can track your exercise habits, sleep patterns, and consumption of alcohol through logging. By tracking behaviors such as these, you can insight into how they are impacting your overall anxiety.
Logging can also be effective in tracking various management strategies and coping techniques you are implementing to reduce anxiety. If you begin meditating daily or using deep breathing exercises, you can track how often you are doing them and how it is impacting your anxiety. Similar to journaling, you can backtrack through your previous logs to see which strategies have been most effective for you.
How Can You Start?
Journaling and logging are both relatively easy techniques to incorporate into your day to day life. Start by trying to set aside specific times per day to do them. Many people try to make journaling or logging the first thing they do every morning or the last thing before they sleep.
There’s no right or wrong way to journal or log. You can free-form write in a journal, write bullet points in your phone notes app, or even just jot down random thoughts on a laptop. The most important thing to do is be honest with yourself and be patient as it may take time to see results, but journaling and logging are both powerful tools in managing your anxiety.