How Journaling Helped Me Cope With Anxiety

journaling. painted woman holding a book open in front of her face to hide it.

Are you journaling? Learning how to deal with your anxiety is the first step to overcoming its ramifications.

Fear of the unknown can be overwhelming when we actively choose recovery. The more we deal with food or our bodies, the more we experience waves of worry and anxiety.

But what if there is a routine that could help you to overcome these waves?

A 2018 study showed the positive effects of journaling on adults suffering from increasing levels of anxiety. It is said that Journaling was associated with decreasing mental stress and increasing well-being.

During my journey to recovery, journaling was my go-to choice to deal with what I was going through every day. It helped me to get over catastrophizing my new reality and build a healthy relationship with my thoughts.

Journaling is a suitable choice to communicate with ourselves. In order to achieve a stable mindset, we have to keep writing without judgment and stop trying to escape from our emotions.

During my recovery journey, I learned about the therapeutic effects of journaling on both body and mind. Below, I am sharing 10 reasons why you should start journaling now.

1. Journaling is affordable

All you need is paper and a pen. Stop overcomplicating your choices, and remember that writing what you are experiencing is the crux of this activity.

2. It doesn’t have to be perfect

Write what you really feel without thinking about how to make it perfect. Use your own words, and express your authentic emotions. When I started journaling I was seeking perfection in terms of choosing specific words and the correct grammar. My mind was bombarded with the idea of embellishing regardless of the content. As time passed I realized that it doesn’t have to be perfect.

3. It takes a huge burden off your shoulders

During recovery, you will face many stressful situations with food, your body, and with others’ comments on your choices. These situations could make you feel stuck in a loop, not to mention that it could give your eating disorder the chance to have the upper hand again. Writing what you are going through will help you reveal your emotions by converting them from unhelpful thoughts to words.

According to Daniel Siegel, naming your feelings is the best way to have power over them. It is the process of “Name it to tame it”.
When we are feeling stressed, the part of our brain ch is responsible for the fight, flight, and freeze response – becomes active.

So in order to feel calm again, we have to express what we feel. This will help activate the part of our brain that allows us to think rationally again by releasing soothing neurotransmitters.

In addition, we must separate our emotions from our identities. So instead of writing, “I am angry”, try to write, “I feel angry”. This is the difference between shame and guilt.

4. A way to inspire the development of your personality

Recovery is not only about fixing our relationship with food. It’s a journey in which you explore your authentic self and your new mature version. Journaling your thoughts and how you feel every day will help you to assess your progress. Even if it is a small one.

After a while and when you decide to read what you have written. You will discover a lot about how much you achieved and you will believe that thoughts aren’t facts and that your worst scenarios didn’t happen.

5. It’s self-care

Therapists and coaches talk a lot about the significant role of self-care during recovery. While listening to our bodies during this phase is one of the best definitions of self-care, taking care of our minds matters too. When you interpret your vague thoughts onto a paper, it means that you respect what your mind is going through. You listen to it and you try to understand its needs. This activity will help you stop obsessing over assumptions, and then have a clear vision of the challenges you may face.

6. It can be an act of gratitude

Writing about things and people you are grateful for in your life and in your journey to recovery is a healing act. You can use journaling to express your gratitude for what you have even if it is just a word or a smile from someone who supports and cares about you.

7. An act of awareness

Eating disorders feed our fears of the unknown which makes us lose our connection with the present moment. When you catch yourself building the worst scene of your future in your mind, write about what you are experiencing right now. Even if it is a hard day, you should focus on it, on how to deal with it properly, without draining your brain by repeating the “what-if” stories.

8. It makes you creative

Journaling is an act of creativity. When you keep writing about your everyday life, your special moments, your progress, or even your hard times, it means that your intellectual mind is blooming. This increases your ability to be creative and enhances a new skill you may have never noticed before.

9. A helpful distraction:

Although I don’t believe in distractions in the long term, they could be a good choice to restore our balance. During recovery, our minds keep working all the time, overthinking about our health, our weight, and our future without eating disorders. Journaling can be the best way to put an end to this dilemma.
Here you can restore your inner peace by writing about happy moments from your childhood, or about one thing you like about yourself that is not your appearance. With more practice, you will realize that you begin to forget about what you have been

10. An act of vulnerability

Writing about your eating disorder’s thoughts controlling your life is an act of courage and vulnerability. Here you say no to any bad feelings or regret by opening up and being honest with yourself instead of choosing shame or procrastination.

A 5-minute journaling routine a day could be one of the best choices during recovery, no matter how perfect your writing is, no matter when or where you practice it. It’s a sanctuary in which you listen and express yourself without any fears or judgments.

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