When worries threaten our sense of safety and security, many people turn to friends for help. Others may choose to “check out” by indulging in books, TV shows, music, or other forms of entertainment that promise an escape.
In this fast-paced world of technology, though, we should consider reviving one lost art of self-care: writing in a journal.
For some people, maybe that means starting an anonymous blog. However, many therapists stand by the old-fashioned method of using a paper and pen to spill your deepest worries and fears.
Journaling is more than just penning words onto a page. As validating as it is to share our feelings with friends or family, there are many reasons why that is not always convenient.
Our friends can sometimes be busy or immersed in their problems. Furthermore, the family can be a little too close to our worries or issues.
But the journal is an unbiased, non-judgmental space that is always available to listen. You don’t need to call to set a date or take anyone out to coffee. It is always there when you need it, and will never tell you that you are worrying over nothing.
Journaling Grants You Privacy
You may have a best friend you share everything with. But now and then, something may come up that you need to process for a bit before sharing it with others.
Or, maybe you are not ready to share certain worries with others because of a stigma that is attached. Maybe you struggle with a worry you think is silly, and are afraid others will judge you for it. You may not ever want people to know that you felt this way.
Having a journal to place your feelings is a valuable resource. Sometimes people find it helpful to journal the things they are too afraid to say out loud.
Journaling Offers Perspective
Something this week may be worrying you, for example, and you write about it to process your thoughts. But come next week, or several weeks or months later, you may turn back to this present period in your journal and realize that your fears were overblown.
Looking back on previous entries can help put things in perspective and remind you that the world did not end. This practice can help shape your response when new worries come into your life.
Journaling Supports Organized Thoughts
Our minds are often a messy swirl of thoughts and emotions. Sometimes ones that contradict each other.
A journal can help you write out all the different angles and possibilities of particular worry. You can examine the best and worst-case scenarios of the situation that scares you. Plus, you can explore what you would do if X, Y, or Z happened.
Confronting the worry rather than ignoring or downplaying it can help it seem less scary. You may also feel more prepared for the outcome after writing all your feelings down.
How to Start Journaling
Don’t be intimidated by the fact that you’re not much of a writer. Find a notebook with a cover that speaks to you, grab a favorite pen, and simply write.
Set aside five to ten minutes every day and go wherever your thoughts take you. Don’t worry about writing in complete sentences, your spelling, or grammar; this won’t be published.
Make sure you keep it in a safe place when you’re done!
A therapist can help you with some journaling tips to help reduce your worries and anxieties. Please, reach out if you’re ready to start navigating your thoughts more effectively. For more information about anxiety or depression counseling, click here.
About the Author
Julia Nelson, LPCA, LMFTA is a psychotherapist and owns a private practice in Henderson County, (Flat Rock) NC and Rutherford County, (Forest City) NC. In general, she specializes in couples counseling, anxiety and depression counseling, premarital counseling, and parenting classes. She is also a Certified Clinical Military Counselor. To find out more about Julia click here: Nelson Christian Counseling.
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