What’s A Worry Journal & How It Can Help You!
While journaling for mental health has its benefits, journaling for your worries has its own benefits too. It is not completely possible to eliminate our worries but it is possible to tackle our worries more healthily and positively with the help of a worry journal.
“People become attached to their burdens sometimes more than the burdens are attached to them.” – George Bernard Shaw
Worrying about our work, career, home, and life, in general, is natural but what do you do when you’re worried? Do you talk to someone or do you brood about it until it festers into something big? Or do you write your thoughts down in a journal?
In my life, I’ve seen my friends and family either venting out their worries or brood until they overthink things. For some of my friends, talking about their worries is a cathartic experience. They get to release their emotional pain while looking for a solution to their problems.
However, talking it out isn’t helpful for many of us. Penning our thoughts and worries in a journal works better and is effective for many. It can also help you understand what and why you’re feeling what you’re feeling and figure out a solution to either fix the problem causing you to worry or eliminate it.
Constant worry can fuel our anxiety, stress, and can lead us to form catastrophic thoughts. In some cases though, overthinking can be good but in some, it can lead you to panic over the smallest things.
Let’s Get Started!
1. Create A Worry Journal
The first step is to create a worry journal. What goes into it? Write down your worries. For example,
“I’m worried about my upcoming presentation”
Once it’s on paper, your brain knows that this worry is important to us and that this is causing us pain and disrupting our mental peace. Our worries are important because they are the ones that are causing us mental and emotional distress in the end.
Be specific when you’re writing your worries in your journal. You need to have a clear idea of what’s causing you to worry. Examine it closely and try to pinpoint exactly what and when that particular thought emerged.
Try to get to the cause of the worry, first and foremost.
2. Imagine Likely Outcomes
Let’s take my previous example: I’m worried about my upcoming presentation. What am I most worried about? Worries can make us imagine several outcomes – good and bad. Nothing bad might happen or it might. Think about all the possible outcomes you can about the worry currently plaguing your mind.
You need to understand that anything can happen! I might do okay, after all, or I might end up being judged by my peers and colleagues. You can’t predict or control what happens but you can prepare for the best or the worst possible outcome.
3. Put A Plan In Place
If the worst outcome comes to fruition then having a plan in place can be good. Again, if my worry is about my upcoming presentation and if it goes wrong then my plan: sit with my manager and talk about what went wrong and how to fix it.
Remember, there’s always a logical way of dealing with any situation.
Write down your plan and give your brain a reason to logically figure out a solution if something goes wrong. This will also provide you with an outlet to filter your irrational worries. Writing your worries out on a paper can help you differentiate between the rational and irrational ones.
When starting your worry journal divide your notebook into different segments. Dedicate each segment as:
- Things you need to take care of
- Things you can’t forget
- Things you’re most worried about
Write your thoughts down as they occur in their respective segment. This will help you prioritize your worries and help you figure which worry is most pressing at the moment.
Don’t judge your worries, though. Your journal is a safe place to write down whatever’s on your mind. Even if you’re about the world ending or a possibility of a tsunami, write it down.
Worries have a habit of piling up until our minds are too tired to do anything about them. Too much worry can cause your thoughts to race, eventually causing you to overthink. Journaling provides us with a perspective to our thoughts and helps us get more aware of how our mind works.
Follow these steps:
Step 1: Draw a bubble in the center of your notebook and write in it – My Worries.
Step 2: Draw smaller bubbles surrounding the big one and fill them with your worries.
Step 3: On a new sheet of paper, write one of the worries in the center bubble.
Step 4: In the surrounding bubbles, write; your initial feeling & thoughts, your after-reflection thoughts & feelings, and what you learned from them.
Step 5: Do this with the rest of your smaller worries until all your worries are gone or resolved.
This process helps us understand our stressors and lower the stress.
How Often Should You Write In Your Worry Journal?
Many people believe that writing your thoughts down in a journal can be done at night only. Not true! Keep your journal with you at all times and whenever a worry pops in your mind, write it down.
Be it in the middle of work, during breakfast, as soon as you wake up, or before you go to bed. Writing your worries in your journal as soon as they come up will prevent them from vanishing later.
Also, take some time to tackle your worries. Maybe take 30 minutes off your schedule or dedicate an evening to process and resolve your worries. Tackle your worries with a rational mind frame and evaluate your concerns.
Journaling can provide you with an opportunity to understand and reflect on your concerns and worries. It can help you understand how to manage your stressors. If journaling isn’t helping you and if you need additional support and assistance, then you can write to us at email@example.com or connect with our licensed counselors through our services page.
“Worry compounds the futility of being trapped on a dead-end street. Thinking opens new avenues.” – Cullen Hightower
Why worry about something that is yet to come?
Live your life to the fullest and let go of the things that aren’t worth your time.