If you have ever been In anxiety counseling or have known someone who attended, we are sure a therapist has at some point recommended the utilization of a journal for cognitive behavioral therapy, or for recognizing and keeping track of their symptoms. A journal is a tool with a wide-range of advantages. This is a tool us counselors in Orlando like using with clients that specifically need work with their anxiety, their triggers, their communication skills, etc. Many clients find it difficult on the forefront, but also many find it rewarding with certain levels of intention and consistency.
This depends on your awareness or understanding of your anxiety. A journal can be used to track your triggers and your symptoms. What we mean by tracking is that when you experience high levels of anxiety, it can be very helpful to jot down what was going on when you felt this way, what was the trigger, how did your body and mind react, and even how long you experienced it. As you continue to write down and explore different anxiety episodes you might find correlations in-between each. This can both benefit you in understanding your anxiety, and better assist your anxiety specialist or counselor in treatment.
A journal can also be a great tool in better understanding and breaking down negative cognitions. These are negative beliefs about oneself or capabilities. Very often anxiety and stress intertwine in our minds, and a common symptom of anxiety is the feeling of our mind racing, full of thoughts, 100 miles per hour. If this resonates with you, try writing down some of these specific thoughts on paper in your journal. What this does is activate other senses in our body. This can promote a feeling of release, a release of tension. When you keep things in your mind, anxiety pours into other facets of your day to day.
By writing it on paper, you active a visual stimulation, a motor activity stimulation by writing, and if you read it aloud you can active a verbal and auditory stimulation. Now you can see these thoughts more clearly, and for what they are. This allows you to better differentiate these thoughts from your anxiety and almost gain an outside perspective, outside of your mind that is.
Use your journal as a communication log or practice book. If you have difficulty communicating, or addressing your wants and needs. Practice how you'd like to say things to others, or even yourself in your journal. This can be acts of affirmation, this can be writing "I" statements to work on communicating your feelings, or more. It is your way of assessing and processing the gaps in your communication and how you'd like to communicate in future conversations.
There are many more ways to use a journal and all can be beneficial for an array of people and reasons. Think of it as intimate time with your self and mind. A way to process and understanding your thinking and feelings. You can use it for simple to-do lists, for writing goals for the week, or just as you please. All can be helpful!
If you or someone you know could benefit from further direction on how to better understand their anxiety, communication skills, or journaling, contact an anxiety specialist or counselor in Orlando today. To speak to the author of this blog, contact Mallory Hawkes at firstname.lastname@example.org. Thrive on!
Heather Oller is a licensed Orlando therapist at Orlando Thrive Therapy, Coaching & Counseling who specializes in counseling Orlando couples, individuals, and families who are seeking changes in their lives. She has been a mental health professional for over 17 years and is a practicing Orlando counselor that specializes in conflict resolution for couples. You can contact her for an appointment or call 407-592-8997 for more information.