Anxiety journals are a common treatment for any anxiety disorder. They may also be referred to as thought dairies. It helps you keep track of your thoughts, triggers, and panic attacks.
There are lots of articles out there that discuss how to use an anxiety journal or a thought diary. In this article, I want to discuss the multiple uses that a journal can have when it comes to treating your anxiety and what has worked for me.
It Forces You To Pay Attention
At first, keeping track of my thoughts seemed ridiculous. Early journal entries of mine sounded pretty much the same: “I’m freaking out right now. I screwed up another order at work.”
Okay, yes. That does sound like a trigger. But as time went on, I was able to document more than just the situation:
“My hands are shaking. My boss just came in and asked me to correct an order and she sounded mad. I’m scared that I’m going to get fired. I can’t lose this income.”
It takes practice to get good at grabbing details. Just keep at it. Try and hit these three areas when you record an entry: your physical reaction, your emotional reaction, and your thought process.
Worry About It Later
Anxiety forces you to hang on to extra worries that drag you down. Take a moment and write down all those worries, no matter how big or small. Don’t worry about making a neat, coherent list. Simply document any worries you have, and then set aside time to read through the worries later:
I’m going to get fired for not doing my orders correctly
I can’t stop thinking about that fight with my mom
I’m scared about my upcoming performance review
Be sure to go back and read through your entries. They will help you keep track of your anxiety disorder, and help you determine your triggers. The results may surprise you.
I used to think my anxiety was socially triggered. I used to think the only treatment was to avoid human contact altogether. Throughout my entries, I noticed I just had an intense fear of negative interactions. I felt any negative interactions, even if it was just work, reflected who I was and made me feel horrible.
Anxiety journals can be any simple notebook or scratchpad you have laying around. There are also anxiety journals for sale, which offer prompts for your entries. Here are a couple that caught my eye at the book store:
I’ve seen this one at Barnes and Noble. My book budget is really tight these days, but I plan on buying this and writing a review on it.
I’ve heard lots of good things about this journal. There are tons of reviews on YouTube. While it’s more designed for people with self-destructive tendencies, I still feel it’s a great device to help battle your anxiety.