Managing your mental health is very important. This post includes tips for how to create a worry journal to manage anxiety.

image of woman writing in a journal

One of the strategies I have been using to manage anxiety and stress is to write in a “worry journal” every evening. I’ve been doing this for over a year now, and it’s helped a lot. Here’s exactly how I do it. 

I mentioned this as part of my review of The Power of Rest book, and a few readers asked that I expand on how it works or, at least, how I do it.

Dr. Edlund, the author of the book and a sleep expert, describes this method in full in his book as part of his “Sleep Makeover Day 5: Learning Not to Worry.”  The basic premise is that if you take 5 minutes to write down the top worries on your mind, as well as a simple solution, then it eases the stress on your mind and can help prevent middle of the night worrying that keeps so many of us awake.

Just to be sure, you don’t want to do this right before bed, you should ideally do it 1-2 hours before going to sleep. You want your solutions to be at the top of your mind in case you wake up, but you don’t want to risk increasing your thoughts and potentially creating more stress.

It really does seem like a simple thing to do, but I’m telling you, it’s worked wonders for me.

yellow pad with pen with Worry Journal written on it

I’ll give you an example of some worries/solutions that I write down (try to shoot for 3-4 of your most pressing stressors).

  1. I am worried about the current state of politics. Solution: Recognize that I need to remain trusting in the democratic system and hopeful that there are some people I trust who are working to represent my interests.
  2. I am worried about my upcoming business project because it feels overwhelming. Solution: I need to trust in the fact that I found a good coach to help me through the process. I am going to take it one step at a time.
  3. I am worried that I am spending too much money to support my business. Solution: I will re-evaluate my expenses one month from now and make changes based on the current state of earnings and obligations.

See? It doesn’t take long, but it helps get out any frustrations or concerns about the day, and puts it in perspective. Dr. Edlund acknowledges that some worries are so intense/real that there aren’t obvious solutions, but even just noting to take things “one day at a time” can be a comforting solution for now.

Another suggestion I came up with after writing in my worry journal for the last several weeks: finish every entry with a list of at least 5 things you are grateful for right now. My list often looks something like this:

  1. I am grateful for the healthy foods I ate today.
  2. I am grateful for the the chat I had with my friend
  3. I am grateful for the walk I took this morning in the fresh air.
  4. I am grateful for the snuggles I had with my cats.
  5. I am grateful for the healthy foods I ate today that nourished my health.

There are so many books and studies on gratitude and its positive effects on health, there’s no question that making it a daily practice is beneficial for health. Is this helpful? Do you want to see more posts related to managing stress and anxiety? Let me know in the comments; I love hearing from you.

Don’t miss my other mental health articles, including the Best Supplements for Anxiety.

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Note: this post is for informational purposes only and is not intended as medical advice. Please consult your healthcare provider for recommendations related to your individual situation.