10 Journal Prompts for Anxiety
It’s no secret that therapists recommend journalling to relieve anxiety symptoms. But why is that? What are the benefits to journalling? Let’s take a deep dive into the journaling for anxiety.
Benefits of Journalling
Anxiety causes multiple thoughts to race through your mind at once. These thoughts are often negative and at times debilitating. Anxious thoughts take over, and are hard to control. As such, our mood often decreases, which gives way for more anxious thoughts to rise. But journaling can help with this.
Journalling is an exercise in mindfulness. It makes the writer focus on one thought at a time. Essentially, the writer has to slow down and really concentrate on what they are writing. A journal exercise like this makes it harder for anxious thoughts to take over as you’re controlling your mind. This creates a peaceful, controlled and centered state of mind, which helps relax us and lifts our mood and emotions.
How to Get Started
Getting started with journaling is easy. You can let your mind go and allow your thoughts to naturally flow on paper as your hand makes movement with the pen. This method often surprises us with what comes out. Alternately, you can use the prompts below to add a little bit of structure to a free-form activity.
10 Journal Prompts for Anxiety
1) What are 5 different phrases that you can say to yourself to self-soothe? Practicing relaxing phrases when calm will make it easier to repeat them when in a state of anxiety.
2) How has your anxiety helped you in the past? Recognizing the lessons anxiety has taught you will put anxiety in a different light. It’ll allow you to work with anxiety instead of against it.
3) What is the cost of your anxiety? How do you pay for it? What does it take from you? Understanding what your anxiety is costing you helps you decide if it’s worth keeping around.
4) Make a list of everything that worries you. Writing them down takes their power away, and frees up space in your mind for more positive thinking.
5) Challenge false beliefs. List negative thoughts you make to yourself that contribute to feelings of anxiety. Then challenge those thoughts with truth. For example: “My family and friends love me and tell me they do” challenges “no one loves me.”
6) List at least 10 activities you can do to take better care of yourself. Self-care is important. Setting aside a few minutes each day to do something we enjoy doing, helps to decrease stress. When we are less stressed, we can better handle anxiety.
7) Outline what is making you anxious. What are the specific situations, events, triggers, etc.? Is your anxiety trying to tell you something? Are you hiding something from yourself? Discovering the underlying reasons for your anxious thoughts could motivate you to deal with them in a healthy way.
8) How can you treat yourself more kind when you are having an anxious thought? We all deserve kindness, especially when we’re not feeling 100%. Give yourself permission to be kind to yourself.
9) Write a love letter to yourself. Think about your future self. What is different about them? What is the same? How can you support your future self? What do you admire about them and how can you become that person? Writing down the ideal version of yourself will help you take steps to become that person.
10) Write a letter of forgiveness to your past self. Anxiety can make us feel less than and lower our self-confidence. It can make us regret the past, and the things we did or didn’t do. Forgiving ourselves for the past is powerful as it frees is to become who we want and need to be. We can’t change the past but we can change our future.
To make the most out of journalling, make it a habit. Commit to writing in your journal at the same time everyday. If that’s too much, then try every other day or just on the weekends, and go from there. I find writing in my journal first thing in the morning over coffee is a great way to start the day off in a positive way.
Do you want to take your understanding of anxiety to the next level? Consider one of our Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) courses.
Written by Jackie Kamrowski, R. Psych