Why is journaling no 1. hack against overthinking and anxiety ~ Iva Tarla

Journaling is most commonly used for setting goals, keeping a journal of your life or connecting to the artist within.

But its also super effective for combating spurs of overthinking or negative emotions. We have all had those moments, bringing stress from work home or worrying about an outcome or tossing an unpleasant moment over and over in our mind.

I started journaling 3 years ago as a part of the practice Julia Cameron teaches in the Artist’s Way to connect to the source of inspiration and it has improved my blog writing and my creativity flow.

Advised by a fellow coach, i also started using it when i felt overwhelmed by emotions, or negative thoughts and it worked miracles for me.

So, instead of unloading to a friend or therapist, journaling is a great way to clear your mind and get instant release from negative emotions.

Its easy and all you need is a pen and paper

It requires taking half an hour of your time, 3 blank pages in your notebook and a pen.

And it is about unleashing whatever is going on your mind on paper by writing it down in automatic way. That’s why its also called braindumping.

It may feel awkward, even embarrassing as you face that blank paper thinking of what to write. But for the icebraker, you kickstart the process by just writing whatever you see around you at the moment: the birds on the wire, the trees, the fat neighbor shushing her dogs.

And as you write, the thoughts keep coming out, naturally.

The purpose is not to write an essay, so stylistic figures or handwriting are irrelevant. Write short sentences. Forget what they taught you in school. Form is irrelevant. The purpose is to get those tangled thoughts out into the light of the day.

Keep on writing and don’t look back. Its not supposed to be read or reflected upon.

When we put it on paper it lets go of us

What a comfort is this journal, i tell myself to myself & throw the burden on my book and feel relieved. Anne Lister

As you write, the thoughts that make your stomach crunch or feel heavy on the chest will start coming out. The point is to write them exactly as they come, in the rawest of form.

If somebody hurt you, and made you angry — call him names, express it as you think of him using swear words and expletives. Exactly as you may feel, write it.

“I hate that selfish asshole…..he makes me feel ignored when he keeps looking on his phone when i speak, he is not listening to me. He doesn’t really care for me” for example.

Whatever is troubling you at the moment, or whoever makes you feel upset, bad, resentful, hurt, misunderstood, angry – write it down.

As you keep writing, it will start flowing as its written by itself. And as you keep writing beautiful, clarifying thoughts will appear and that is OK. You can keep those.

Some deep underlying beliefs may come out t oo— don’t be afraid to dig in deep into the core of darkness. Such as: i am not good enough, i will never make it in the business world, i am not worthy of love, i am irrelevant, i cannot help others, etc.

A thought is harmless unless we believe it. It is not our thoughts, but the attachment to our thoughts, that causes suffering. Attaching to a thought means believing that it’s true, without inquiring. A belief is a thought that we’ve been attaching to, often for years. Katie Byron

It brings clarity of what is

Once you unload, you will start feeling easier. The emotions will lift. You will regain clarity of mind. While journaling about an issue, try to understand where it comes from.

The negative thoughts usually come in the form of self-judgement we picked up from our environment growing up. The very process of exposing the thought will help us understand the thought is not true.

Be gentle with yourself. Pat yourself on the shoulder for doing great work.

Try replacing that negative thought with 10 positive ones. I am not good enough —try listing all your qualities and accomplishments— i have great people skills and I have accomplished so much so far and I love serving others…

If the negative emotions are coming from judging another, because he or she is not behaving as we want him to, question the thought. Is it really true?

Is it really true that he is not listening to me? Is it really true that he doesn’t care for me?

Be compassionate for others. Understand they have their own worries, and fears and problems just as you do.

Only by accepting things as they are can we make progress.