There are a lot of ways that you can use a journal to cope with Anxiety. You can try Freewriting to write all of your thoughts and emotions, or just start a gratitude journal to redirect your thoughts to the things you are grateful for.
But for those of you who would like to dig deeper hoping to know the automatic thoughts that trigger your anxiety and see how will you work on that fear, maybe it’s time to take your journaling to the next level.
The 4 ways I have written below are based on CBT (Cognitive Behavioral Therapy). CBT is one of the most frequently used tools in psychology to help a person change their thought pattern, conscious and unconscious habits, and behavior to cope with anxiety and avoid a mental breakdown. There are a lot of worksheets available on the internet and some are also provided during therapy sessions.
You can definitely try all of these worksheets and see which works for you best, but if you are having a hard time coping with your anxiety, it is highly recommended to seek professional help.
1. Automatic thoughts
Imagine if you are invited to be a guest speaker for 1000 people, what comes in your mind first?
“What topic will I speak?”
“I cannot do that”
“I’m afraid they’ll judge me and see me as an embarrassment”
“I’m not good enough to do this. I don’t deserve to be on stage and speak to them”
Those who lived negatively in their life will understand that it is so frustrating to always have these kinds of negative automatic thoughts. These thoughts always keep us growing and do what we really want.
If you would like to identify those negative thoughts and try to see things on the positive side, maybe you would like to try this worksheet.
If you want to use your journal, just copy this by making 3 columns for Trigger, Automatic Thoughts, and New thought.
Recall all the situations you have in the past that you think triggered your anxiety then write down the thought that first comes to your mind. If you think the thought is more negative, try to think of other alternative thoughts that acknowledge the anxious thought but sounds positive in the end.
Trigger: Asked to be a speaker for 1000 people
Automatic thought: “I’m not good enough to do this. I don’t deserve to be on stage and speak to them”
New Thought: “It is normal to feel anxious because I’ve never done this before, but if my boss trusted me that I can pull this out, maybe I need to trust myself too and do my best.”
2. Anxiety Response
Have you ever been into the anxiety cycle where a simple situation made you panic? Your anxiety is like a snowball that starts to a small one and gets bigger and bigger until it slides down the street. The bigger it becomes, the harder it is to melt or break.
If you want to know how your anxiety responds to a certain situation, you can try this worksheet or copy it in your journal and you’ll be surprised at how your anxiety affects your physical, emotional, cognitive, and behavioral function in your body and mind.
3. Understanding Others
This worksheet is highly recommended if you are easy to judge people based on their behavior.
Everyone is fighting their own battle and if you allow those negative feelings to stay in your heart, it will create more pain and frustration for all the people involved including you.
If you would like to address that emotion and find peace in your heart, maybe you can try this worksheet in your journal.
In the first column, you can write any behavior from other people that you dislike. It could be something they do to your, or something they say that hurts your feeling.
The behavior I dislike (For example):
“I hate my girlfriend when she asked me where I am, what I do, and if I was with other girls”
In the emotion column, you will write whatever emotion or behavior you feel towards what you write in the first column
My emotion (For example):
“I turn off my phone so that I cannot receive any of her messages”
For the “Reason of their behavior”, do your best to think of any possibilities that could be the reason for their behavior”
Reason of their behavior (For example):
“She got cheated on her last relationship and she’s afraid that same thing will happen to her”
After understanding the reason for their behavior, write what could be your new emotion when that person did the behavior you dislike.
My new emotion:
“I will try to update and assure her that I will never cheat on her like what her ex-boyfriend did to her”
4. Make Every Thought Captive + Declarations
This is for those who are battling anxiety and would like to be comforted and healed by holding onto the word of God.
We are taught to be transformed by the renewing of our minds because just like how the enemy deceived Eve in the garden of Eden, the enemy finds it easier to target our minds hoping that we will fall into his lies.
And that is why it is important to take captive every thought and make it aligned with God.
You can follow the worksheet shown here and write the negative thought or the lies from the enemy, then write what you think the truth is and back it up with a bible verse. After that, write a strong declaration to rebuke the lies from the enemy and hold on to what God is telling you to believe.
All the worksheets showed on this page can be downloaded for FREE at the link here. Feel free to browse other worksheets or other printable items to help you on your journaling journey.