In the UK, anxiety among men and women is at an all-time high. At present 40% of disability worldwide is due to depression and anxiety. 6 million people in the UK, 3 million with depression and 3 million with anxiety disorder suffer every single day (Psychiatric Morbidity Survey). Is there a cure for anxiety, or at least a way to ease it?
That’s something I would say is determined by the individual. Medication works wonders for some, and therapy is the way for others. Then in many cases, there is no straightforward cure or antidote when it comes to anxiety and panic attacks. Sadly, I fall under that category of people who can’t find a quick fix. However, I’m open to trying new methods to beat anxiety, and find some ways to be more successful than others. I also find some things work for a while, and then not so much a few months later. One thing I’ve noticed over the years, is that journaling or writing helps calm my busy mind, and here’s four reasons why.
When I’m in the height of an anxious spell, I’m usually only thinking about myself. When I was feeling down, I used to scribble any negative thoughts I had and it just digs a deeper hole, filled with being self-absorbed and shut off from the world. Being more appreciative is something I like to have incorporated into my personality, it’s a quality all should strive to utilise.
Starting a gratitude journal has been an enormous help for my anxiety. A help I never saw coming. When I write out all the things I’m grateful for, a lot of stresses just melt away. It could be something I take for granted every day like the NHS or ability to obtain a driving licence, to have a safe home and food just a twenty-second walk away. The moment all my privileges are written down, I start to feel better. It could be acknowledging how fortunate I am and how precious life is that almost makes the positive vibes drown out the negative noise.
A part of my anxiety can stem from everyday life. For example, not having enough money, or fretting about a possession. But I worry about those things because I’m trying to predict the future and have everything planned out, the feeling of control is very important. Sadly, I know I can’t control everything, so writing out the things I am grateful for not only helps me live in the moment, but be way more appreciative. Not everything has to be planned to a T, too much planning means missing the important things in life.
It’s great mind training too. Once you’re in the dark, you appreciate everything that shines. Anytime I’m feeling down, I grab a notebook and write something positive.
No one likes to be a lonely. It’s such a rubbish feeling, and it’s hard to get rid of. If there’s ever a moment when I’m feeling isolated, I like to grab one of my (many) notebooks and just jot some stuff down. Thoughts, blog drafts, doodles and everything in between. Most of the time, it helps to take my mind off of being lonely, or missing the people I love most.
However, journaling when I feel anxious or lonely, encouraged me to see the value in “me time” and appreciate the art of simply being alone. Being on your own isn’t a bad thing, it isn’t something to be ashamed of or something to avoid. I can be an introvert from time to time, so on occasion I really do need a day to recharge my social battery and get myself together before I can be chatty again.
I’ll be writing a post on the importance of me time soon, because it’s truly beneficial for anyone with a personality type similar to mine.
There are some out there who genuinely struggle to be alone, and I used to be that way. I would never eat alone, walk around alone, or even relax alone. Now, I’m the complete opposite. I’m not forcing myself to be around people when in reality I do actually want my own company. Journaling helped me with that. It’s a hobby usually done in solitude, and that time alone is great for reflecting and chilling out.
The anxiety of being a social animal doesn’t exist anymore, I don’t feel like I need to live up to a certain standard, because taking time alone showed me who I really am, and taught me to accept that.
One of my biggest insecurities is my skill as a creator. I would never call myself a creative person, but I enjoy creating. (Please let that make sense.)
In school, there was always that element of competition in my English writing and art classes, to see who was best, and who could get the best grade. When I wasn’t at the top of the table, it would break my heart. The competition drilled the idea of not being good enough into my brain, an attitude that only contributes to anxiety.
One of the reasons I started my blog is because I wanted to be a fashion journalist, without moving to a big city or having to deal with the fierce world of the fashion industry. However, when I really got into the blogosphere, I realised some do treat this world as a competition, from statistics to opportunities.
That negative vibe reintroduced the feeling of not being good enough. A sucky feeling.
As a child, I would always put together fake magazine articles to be featured in Company or Glamour. When I decided to create a journal just for short stories and little articles, I feel in love with journalism again. I saw the worth of polishing those abilities, because it never hurts to have an extra skill or two! It took the competition aspect away, and the fear of sharing my work, rather than being ashamed of it.
Similar to my first point, writing everything down, helps me to focus again, and put everything in perspective. Not just from a thankful standpoint, but in every aspect of life. For example, sometimes I’ll just grab my diary and write down my goals for the next month. Now and then I’ll reach them, and other times I’ll be so far off that achievement won’t come for another year. Still, journaling realigned my focus, helped me not to lose sight of my dreams!
I like to think of myself as an ambitious person, so noting down the things I’m desperate to achieve is just that boost of motivation. It’s like inspiring yourself, by yourself… with yourself? Yeah.
One of my favourite YouTubers, Kalyn Nicholson, did a video on 8 Ways To Fill Your Journals & Notebooks which is awesome for ideas too. She’s a creator who has suffered with anxiety and depression too, so if you’re on the hunt for a new vlogger to follow – Kalyn’s your girl.
Many treat hobbies as a form of escape, or a coping mechanism. That’s what writing, doodling, journaling and basically anything with a pen does for me. My anxiety stems from having such a busy worry-prone mind, and writing calms that. Keeps it at bay, or under control for a certain period of time.