One thing I have really struggled with this semester is finding a coping mechanism for my anxiety, that doesn’t involve bringing them up to others. Don’t get me wrong, I think that venting to friends, family or even a therapist is great- I do all three! But sometimes I feel guilty when there’s so much on my mind and I don’t want to bring someone else’s mood down by talking to them about it. Sometimes it is just too hard to describe what I am feeling with my voice.
This semester, with a recommendation from my therapist, I started journaling. It was originally an idea from her that would influence me to focus on the positives within my life, rather than the negatives. So I got myself a nice little notebook from the clearance section in Marshall’s and began that night. Over the course of the semester, it has become so much more than that to me. I have learned a lot about myself, and it has served as a way for me to get the emotions out that I do not feel comfortable sharing out loud to others.
Each night, I end my day sitting in bed and writing in my journal. The first thing I do is write five positive things that I experienced that day. It can be anything- food, a tv show, seeing a friend, my dog, or whatever made me smile that day. It has been a really good way for me to stay positive. This has allowed me to realize that even if I had a bad day, there were still at least five good things that happened to me as well. Slowing, it has been helping get my mindset more positive, but that is still a work in progress.
Once I write about the five good things I experienced that day, I then just let my mind wander and write about whatever I feel like. Sometimes I will write about what happened that day, or something exciting I did. Or sometimes I will write about how I am feeling, mentally and physically. If I cannot put what I am feeling into complete sentences, I simply just write words that express how I am feeling. It isn’t important whether it makes sense or not, it is just a method of letting out what I feel. It is a good way for me to release the stress or negative emotions I may be holding in. It also helps prevent these emotions from building up over time, because I am able to write about them every day.
Doing this every single night has also really helped me get into a nighttime routine, or at least attempt to. I always try to set time aside to complete it, and after doing it for the entire semester it has become something that I look forward to every day. Yes, I have forgotten a few times, but I try to do it as soon as I wake up if I do.
I really recommend journaling to anyone who is open to trying it. It has honestly had such a huge impact on my day-to-day life. If you are someone like me, who has a hard time putting their thoughts into words, or is not good at explaining how you feel to others, I cannot stress enough how much you should try adding journaling into your daily routine.