According to Psychology Today, “One of the most useful things you can do to combat stress and anxiety is to keep a running record of your thoughts on paper. There’s simply no better way to learn about your thought processes than to write them down.” Dr. Maggie Perry, the founder of Huddle.Care, agrees. Dr. Perry says that quick, in-the-moment journal can be extremely beneficial to someone with anxiety.
“When inklings of anxiety begin to arise, take a step back, consider all aspects of these sensations and journal about them as they happen. This is a good technique for reconciling your anxious feelings with what you’ve learned about your anxiety and what you know to be true,” says Dr. Perry.
In other words, do not believe everything you feel.
Writing a journal to examine and challenge feelings
Writing a journal provides an opportunity to examine and challenge your feelings. Dr. Perry adds that “there are other times, like life transitions, in which just having someone write for thirty minutes each morning about what they think and feel about that transition will bring down their stress, bring down their anxiety, and make them more resilient against depression because they are more self-aware.”
Journal entries as self-reflection
Kaia Kordic, a licensed MFT who splits her time between her private practice and the county foster care services, believes that journaling and self-reflection are some of the most proactive and healthiest ways to practice self-awareness.
“Journaling helps develop that awareness muscle. If a client reflects on her fight with the boyfriend only during the session, progress will take a lot longer. But, if she journals about it or tracks symptoms and conflicts throughout the week, she will become aware of her choices, actions, and experiences sooner.” – Kaia Kordic, Marriage and Family Therapist
Kaia recommends test-driving Therachat, a new tool that allows clients to journal on their phones. It’s available to clients and therapists interested in improving therapy outcomes. “Therachat is going to be really helpful for clients who need the self-reflection process in between therapy sessions,” says Kaia. “The insights and analysis it provides to therapists are also going to be helpful. It is one thing to see someone’s memo on their phone,‘ I’m anxious today, I’m not anxious today,’ but to see their mood patterns throughout the week in a clean format and be able to focus on important topics together is another. I would imagine that people would get better faster.”