Reduce Anxiety With Journaling
I work with a lot of patients struggling with anxiety. In addition to herbal medicine, nutrition and acupuncture I always recommend lifestyle strategies. Building anxiety-reducing habits into your daily life is important for reducing anxiety. Taking time to write about your day in a journal is one such habit.
It’s pretty well accepted in our culture that writing out your feelings is therapeutic. It seems obvious that it would be useful. But maybe you’re not convinced that it will help you. Maybe you need some science to convince you. Below, I discuss three studies that show how journaling improves mental health.
In 1999, Clinical Psychology Review published an article on a decade of research on journaling. This article examined the effect of writing about stressful events. The conclusion: writing about what’s bothering you or about your feelings definitely helps. It improves not only mental health but physical health as well.
In 2014, a study was published in Anxiety, Stress and Coping on this topic. Participants were asked to write about their most stressful event in the past five years. They had to write their thoughts and feelings about the event. They did this for 20 minutes, multiple times. Three months later their anxiety levels were checked. Those who liked to express their emotions were significantly less anxious. For people who weren’t comfortable with emotional expression, there was no benefit. They concluded that if journaling suits your personality, it would lower your anxiety.
In 2004, a meta-analysis was published in The Journal of Nervous and Mental Disease. It looked at 9 different studies on this topic. It found a significant improvement in overall health from journaling. Both physical and mental health were improved.
It’s something that can be easily tried to decide for yourself if it’s a good fit. Go out, grab a journal and start. Not sure where to start? It’s ok to start with the practical stuff. What did you do today? Who did you talk to? Then once you get comfortable with it you can move on to your feelings. Did you feel good today? Bad? Why or why not? Did somebody bother you? Are you dreading something? Why?
The beauty about journaling is that it’s for your eyes only. Nobody even has to know that you journal.
If you need help managing your anxiety, ask me about my 8-week anxiety program. To contact me, book a free 15-minute consult or to book an appointment, click below.
Dr. Samantha Dass is currently a naturopathic doctor working at Holland Landing Health Centre in East Gwillimbury, Ontario, which services Holland Landing, Newmarket, Aurora, Keswick and Bradford areas. If you are interested in naturopathic services please contact Holland Landing Health Centre at 905-853-7900 or via e-mail at [email protected].