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Journaling can be an incredibly helpful tool for dealing with anxiety. Writing can allow you to express your feelings in a safe, private, and creative outlet. It is also a great destressing activity, and you can make it a peaceful part of your day. However, it can be difficult to know where to start when journaling, or what to talk about. Below are seven journal prompts that can help you cope with your anxiety. 

1. What are the three biggest emotions you are feeling today?

Writing about the emotions you are feeling today will not only help you to recognize them but also enable you to express how they make you feel. After journaling for a while, you will also be able to recognize your most common emotions. Because anxiety can take different forms and look different in all individuals, being able to perceive your emotions will help you know how your anxiety feels for you. 

2. What are three things you are grateful for today?

Being able to notice at least three things that you are grateful for every day can help to decrease your anxiety about small things. For example, I often find myself having anxiety about things that don’t have a lot of impact, but in the moment it feels like the most important thing in the world. Writing about things that make you grateful will enable you to take a step back and gain more perspective on the positive aspects of your life. 

3. Describe a moment where you felt anxious.

Similar to recognizing your emotions, thinking of a specific moment where you felt anxious today can help you to understand how your anxiety feels. This can also help you to come up with mechanisms to decrease your anxiety for the next time you are in a similar anxiety-inducing moment or situation. 

4. What is one positive change you can make for yourself?

Brainstorming positive changes for yourself can be a great part of journaling. Start with small, everyday positive changes that can help decrease your anxiety on a day-to-day basis. This could include trying to go to bed earlier, taking daily walks, making yourself a nutritious dinner, etc. It’s also okay if it takes days or even weeks to accomplish this positive change, the most important thing is that you are trying and working towards it. 

5. Write out your morning and night routine.

Writing out your routines cannot only improve your mental organization but also allow you to find areas in your routine where you could add destressing activities to help with your anxiety on an everyday basis. Try making mediating or a form of light exercise a part of your morning and/or night routine. Also, sometimes seeing things visibly can better help us think about what we have to do and can decrease anxiety about future events and activities. 

6. What do I need from loved ones when I feel anxious?

Knowing what you need, and don’t need, from those around you when you’re feeling anxious is a very insightful skill to have. When we are dealing with anxiety, it can be hard to ask for help. Sometimes, the hardest part of anxiety is not knowing how to explain it to those who care about us. Caring for someone with anxiety can also be difficult because you want to support them, but may not know how. This journal prompt is very beneficial to both individuals in this situation.

7. What was I doing when I felt most at peace today?

It is important to recognize those moments when you are not feeling anxious. Where were you? What were you doing? Were you with others or by yourself? How exactly did you feel? Why do you think you felt calm or at peace? Recognizing these moments can help you to see a pattern of situations that made you feel calm, or where your anxiety was decreased. Once you find this pattern, you can begin to purposefully engage in similar moments when you start to feel anxious. 

It is no question that anxiety is difficult for anyone to deal with; especially as a college student who has a lot going on and can find it hard to make time to even properly address their anxiety. Anxiety at this age has almost become a “norm” by society, but there is no reason that you should have to feel this way. Journaling is a great first step, and looking at these prompts can help you implement anxiety-decreasing thoughts and activities into your life.

Gillian is a third-year at Cal Poly SLO. She is majoring in Psychology and minoring in Child Development. Gillian is an editor and writer for Cal Poly Her Campus this year. She enjoys writing about sustainable fashion, social media trends, and activism. Even though she is planning a career in psychology, she loves being a part of Her Campus because it allows her to have a creative outlet and continue her passion for writing.
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