Dealing with anxiety is like having little voices inside your head. They control your thoughts and play with your emotions. As you listen to these voices, you start worrying endlessly and for no reason. Suddenly, your chest tightens, your breathing becomes quicker, you feel lightheaded as your body starts to tremble. I should know because I have been suffering from anxiety for as long as I can remember.
As an overthinker, I always find myself in a deep thought spiral. As John Green says in his book Turtles All The Way Down, “The thing about a spiral is if you follow it inward, it never actually ends. It just keeps tightening, infinitely”.
In other words, an anxiety spiral is when a random negative thought pops into your head, and you follow it, get consumed by it, until more unpleasant thoughts lead to another, and before you know it, you have gone into a spiral.
The Breaking Point
Two years ago, even before the global pandemic, I encountered a huge obstacle that had caused my mental breaking point. It was one of the most painful experiences in my life. My anxiety went over the roof that I had to seek professional help. One of the things that my psychiatrist suggested was to try art and journaling.
I didn’t do it right away, because again, I was constantly on a thought spiral; I couldn’t keep up with my thoughts, let alone write them down. I relied on my medications to drown out the voices in my head and blur my thoughts before going to bed until I woke up one day and realized I was beginning to self-destruct. I knew I needed to start doing something before it gobbled up what’s left of me. So, I grabbed an old notebook and started journaling.
At first, I was writing aimlessly without intentions. All I wanted was to empty my brain and get rid of the heaviness I feel on my chest. But then I started reading articles and watching journaling videos. That’s when I learned about the efficient way to journal for mental health.
Starting A Journal
Early this year, I made a conscious decision to start a mood and bullet journal. I have been journaling for a couple of months now, and I can say that it has helped me to slowly take control of my anxiety. Here are a few things I have gained so far throughout this journey:
Writing down my feelings and emotions allows me to recognize the patterns that trigger my anxiety. It gives me an opportunity for emotional catharsis, which in turn leads to mental clarity. Journaling allows me to be in the moment and get in touch with my inner being. I do a self-check-in and ask myself, “How am I doing today physically, emotionally, and spiritually?”
By acknowledging these triggers, I get to identify the problems and come up with solutions that put matters into perspective. I used to worry about many things. But now, I have become mindful of the things that triggers my anxiety. I don’t avoid them. Instead, I learn to adapt and take control of them before they begin to spiral.
As a creative person, I like incorporating art into my journals to make them more fun and interesting. For example, in my bullet journal, I like using a blank dot grid notebook to manually set up my monthly and weekly spreads. I’ve been watching a lot of art tutorials on YouTube and several calligraphy classes on Skillshare to level up my skills and boost my creativity.
I spend about 20 to 30 mins journaling every night. I find that it helps release the stressors that are weighing me down. It makes me feel light and happy. I also noticed that I get a better sleep quality when I journal before bed.
Releases Happy Hormones
Having a dedicated space where I can write and draw whatever I want has become truly therapeutic for me. Creative activities like art and journaling are known to enhance brain functions and increase serotonin levels, which is the key hormone that stabilizes our mood, sense of well-being, and happiness.
I still have a long way to go in my journey towards emotional healing, but I have noticed that since starting a journal, I have learned to neutralize my negative thoughts and turn them into something positive.
Do It Better with PLDTHome
If you are thinking about starting a journal for whatever reason, this is your sign to take the plunge and do it. It doesn’t have to be super fancy. All you need is a pen and notebook to get your journey started. But if you want to be more creative like me, you can start by learning how to do simple doodles and basic lettering.
With PLDTHome, you can access hundreds of resource materials online that could help make your journey more meaningful. From online classes, tutorials, and articles, to places where you can buy supplies for your journaling, the possibilities are endless!
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