Often I find myself becoming anxious over the little things that get blown out of proportion. Or I get so focused on my sources of anxiety, that I lose sight of the overall picture of my life.
I find that writing a gratitude list is a great way to stay not only positive, but to keep the annoying, anxious things in perspective.
A gratitude list is rather simple. It is a list of all the things you are grateful for.
Items on the list would include certain people in your life, health, education, employment, home, possessions, memories you have, places you’ve been, etc.
Writing one of these daily can go a long way toward improving your outlook on life, staying positive, and not overreacting to things.
A good habit is to start the day with listing at least 3 new things on your gratitude list. Give it a try for 21 days, and see if you feel more positive and less stressed out.
Many times when I am anxious, I don’t even realize why… or more to the point, I don’t fully realize why.
When I journal, I am able to uncover these things. They bubble out of me.
Journaling is incredibly therapeutic. Being able to vent, in an open and honest way, leads to self-discovery. Especially when you are able to write about your feelings. And being honest. Admitting things that you wouldn’t normally admit, maybe about being jealous of someone, disliking someone for no reason or a petty reason, desires and dreams you have for your life, feelings you have towards the people in your life, and your pontification on life itself… where you fit in the world and where you want to go.
The key to writing an effective journal is writing as if no one would ever read it. Being completely honest. And letting yourself feel the feelings that creep up and getting them out on paper where you can realize them and explore them.
I personally like to write about things that are bothering me or exciting me.
A good journal can act as a friend who is the best listener in the world.
And let’s face it. We typically don’t need to be told what to do in our lives. We know if relationships have problems. We know, if we listen, how we feel. And we know if a job is stealing our serenity.
So, in this way, writing a thorough and honest journal can serve as a makeshift, and free, substitute for therapy.
Dump your stream of consciousness onto paper
This is very similar to journaling, but instead of writing deliberately about your day, your feelings, thoughts, and building an almost long term relationship with a journal, this is more of a spot exercise that can either be done daily, like first thing in the morning or last thing at night, or it can be done when you feel anxiety creeping up on you with its racing thoughts and worry.
All you do is write your thoughts onto paper. You let the writing naturally wander from one subject to another, much the way your thoughts would when left to float like a leaf on a pond…
Don’t worry about spelling or grammar. And just let it flow.
You will know when you hit a vein of interest, maybe something that needs to be explored or unearthed, because you will stay on the subject. Looking at it from different angles. And really examining it.
But you won’t always discover something that was in a blind spot for you. Perhaps you will just get it all out, like a good emotional vomiting session. And you can feel like a million dollars afterwards. Really refreshed and much clearer on what is going on with you and your life.