[GUEST BLOGGER: Taylor Epperson] Journal Prompts for when You’re Anxious

I have been really excited waiting for this guest blog post. From the start of my blog Taylor has been a huge support for be via both Twitter and Instagram. I highly recommend that you follow her on both! Also she runs a very nice blog (which you can find here) where she discusses books, blogging, mental health, faith and religion, as well as lifestyle and finances. 

Overall, I really support the suggestions she has below. As someone who is dealing with mental illness themselves I find these suggestions to be very suitable for those fighting anxiety and depression.


 

Hi there, I’m Taylor and I have anxiety. Anxiety has been a big part of my life for several years now. I had my first full-blown panic attack in 2016 and was originally diagnosed with general anxiety disorder. I was later re-diagnosed with PTSD and anxiety. I haven’t had this all of my life, but it’s still a huge part of my life. 

One thing that really helps me when I’m stressed or when my anxiety is high is writing. That’s why I have a blog and a million journals lying around my apartment. Today I wanted to share some journal prompts and ideas that help center me and lower my anxiety.

Start with gratitude. When I’m feeling anxious, it’s really hard to be thankful. But if I can write one thing, just one thing that I’m grateful for, it takes my brain out of fight or flight mode and more into the present.

Write about the room around you. Similar to the grounding technique of looking around you and thinking about something that you see, what you smell, hear, feel, writing all these things down is sort of like going the extra step. Thinking about these things doesn’t always help ground me, but putting pen to paper makes them all more real to me and that helps ground me.

Write about something else entirely. Taking your mind away from your anxiety, at least until you’re in a calmer state to go back assess and see what you can do better before the anxiety hits again, is necessary. It can be hard to calm yourself or know what coping skills work best in the middle of your anxiety if you don’t have much practice. Taking yourself away from your anxiety can help you do this, once you’re a bit calmer. I write about my day or something else that happened, or I write a fictional story or something random and fun. Anything to help my mind calm down.

Make a plan. You can do this while you’re having a lot of anxiety, but this is something I recommend for before your anxiety gets high. This is a tool that has helped me so much. I get fairly anxious before activities that have a lot of people. I start to imagine the worst possible things happening, people saying bad things, and basically, anything that my mind can come up with. So I write them all down. Every single one. Whether it’s realistic or not, I get it out on paper. And then I make a plan for how I’ll react to that *if* it were to happen. 9 times out of 10 nothing on my list happens, but I go to the activity or event with my mind eased because I’ve done the work. I know how to react if something does trigger me and I don’t have to stress about it anymore.

Write about your anxiety and why you’re feeling anxious. This can also be helpful, and as long as I’m not about to have a panic attack (or in the middle of one) I can do this. Writing about it helps me see more clearly what my mind couldn’t. I’m able to pinpoint what may have triggered me and also figure out what coping skill I can use to calm my body and mind.

 

I’m not an expert. I haven’t gone to school for this, but these are writing prompts and ideas that have helped me in the past when my anxiety has been high. Whatever you write about, I know that writing will help you and your mental health. Writing is an act that forces your brain to be present which will help you grow calmer as you realize the threat your brain thinks is there is just in your head. I’m not saying that to diminish what you’re feeling your going through, I’ve been there. I am there most days. But writing helps ground me in a way that no other coping skill has. And so I write.

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