You and anxiety
Anxiety is a feeling of unease, like panic or fear. It is a stress response. Unlike other stressful situations, anxiety doesn’t go when the stress response disappears.
Panic attacks, anxiety, negative thoughts, stressful situations and other mental health issues can all play their part in destroying our inner peace.
There are many ways to manage anxiety yourself. However, if your anxiety symptoms interfere with your daily life to the extent that your daily activities are affected then consult your doctor, or a therapist, and see if there are better ways for you to manage the symptoms and the causes of your anxiety.
Your journal is a powerful tool that can help you to combat all types of anxiety, and with practice, help you create new neural pathways which make your positive thinking and positive attitudes permanent.
Can positive affirmations really help your anxiety issues?
An affirmation is a positive phrase or statement that when repeated regularly, either out loud, in your head, or on paper, repeatedly brings your body back to a state of positivity. Affirmations create new neural pathways in your brain which replace negative, doubtful thoughts with positive ones.
Many people recommend the use of affirmations in different forms, to help the brain to focus on a desired outcome rather than the undesired outcome. Brian Tracy recommends you write out your goals every day. Tony Robbins uses incantations rather than affirmations which is when you practice the embodiment of the affirmation to change your state.
Creating your own daily affirmations
You have probably seen and heard different affirmation phrases, “I am enough”, “I can do it” “We can do hard things”. Your affirmation needs to be so personal to you that you believe it. Use your journal to create your own affirmations.
Step-by-step guide to creating your own examples of positive affirmations
Affirmations are designed to help you live your life more fully. With that in mind:
- Decide what area of your life your affirmation will focus on. Is it work, your health, a challenging goal, a lifestyle change, or something else that you want to change, improve or create in your life.
- What is it that you want to say to yourself?
- Use verbs ‘I am’, ‘I can’, ‘I help’, ‘I reach’
- Write in the present tense.
- Use language that is kind and uplifting and of course in positive statements.
- Don’t say things that you don’t believe to be true
Using journal prompts to create motivational positive affirmations
Set aside time each day for a period of time to create your own affirmations using journal prompt techniques. These journaling affirmation prompts are really beautiful and a great journaling practice.
Use the present moment to create a positive attitude
Using your journal, write down how you are feeling now. Don’t edit, just write. Sometime I write 500 words on X as a way of doing this. I just sit and write 500 words on ‘How I am feeling now’ or ‘What I think about the day ahead’.
Taking your thoughts, turn them into your affirmation for the day.
For example if you write, “It’s Monday and I have a lot to do and I really don’t know where to start.”, your affirmation could be, “I organise my day well” or “I organise my day to work efficiently.”
If you write, “I feel so overwhelmed by the start of the week”, how can you turn it around to create your affirmations as positive phrases that you can really believe? Maybe it could be “I organise my thoughts and create the day intentionally”.
Spend an extended period of time journaling like this every morning. For example take a month to write down how you are feeling and then create short positive affirmations from this journaling and thought work. It is important for affirmations that you use realistic statements. If you don’t believe what you are writing and saying to yourself then the words are useless.
And you can change your affirmations over time. It might be enough for now to say “I organise my day well”, but maybe in a year’s time you will be writing, “Each day I attack and achieve my goals, I am totally killing it.” I don’t think that will ever be my affirmation, it’s not my language or mindset, but how knows, maybe it will be in a year’s time!
Use your journal to visualise and create helpful affirmations
A great tool for creating positive affirmations is to use visualisation and then create your affirmation from that place of visualisation.
The brain processes visualised imagery and scenarios in a similar way to the way in which it processes real life experience. Visualising situations that you want to happen can make you feel relaxed and happy and so give you anxiety relief.
So, firstly visualisation can be helpful in dealing with an anxious mind. Then secondly, creating positive affirmations will give you an additional boost of happy hormones like dopamine and oxytocin. So the journaling – visualisation – affirmation creation path gives you a double helping of anxiety relief.
Spend some time visualising something you would like to achieve. A life goal, an event that is coming up or that you wish for, a meeting with someone you’d like to spend time with. Whatever it is, journal about it for as long as it takes to commit the picture you have to paper. Make the visualisation real for you, describe it in a way that it feels like you are part of the visualisation, not just the recorder of the visualisation.
Then, using the visualisation as your starting point, create your affirmation. For example, if your visualisation is about the business you want to create and you see yourself in the process as the owner of a business, your affirmation could be “I am the owner of my business”. It could be as simple as that. The affirmation back to yourself that you do indeed own a business can be enough of an ecouragement to be a useful affirmation. If you are currently working three jobs and building a business on the side then just repeating, “I am the owner of my business”, to yourself can be enough to keep you going in difficult times.
For specific anxiety relief, visualise a scenario that would normally give you high levels of anxiety. In the visualisation see yourself acting your part. Be compassionate towards yourself and create a visualisation practice from that place. For example if you are anxious about speaking in company meetings, visualise yourself in a meeting.
Have compassion on yourself. See yourself speaking up. Take all the emotion out and just see you doing it. Can you see that you are doing it? When you have stopped speaking, stop and return to your journal.
Now, write your affirmation, “I speak in meetings” could be one, “I speak up clearly in meetings”, “I speak up and give information so everyone can understand”, “I contribute in meetings”. These are all small
Using your journal to track anxiety thought patterns
Use your journal daily to write down how you are feeling. This is a great way to see for yourself if there are patterns to your anxiety. For example, if you are anxious before the working week begins or before regular work meetings then write it down. The next time you start to feel the same anxious thoughts at that regular time you can look back in your journal and see that you experienced the same symptoms before.
Create a practice for yourself specifically for this situation. Positive self-talk, breathing exercises and simple affirmations will all help. The next time your symptoms arise in this specific context you have a pre-made plan that you know will work, to help ease your symptoms.
Positive Affirmations for social anxiety disorder
Social anxiety disorder, also called social phobia, is a long-term and overwhelming fear of social situations. Every day actions cause significant anxiety. The fear and anxiety that is created, which is in excess of normal anxiety involved in meeting people, can cause peoples’ lives to be disruped as they take action to avoid social situations which would bring about feelings of panic.
Cognitive behavioral therapy is a primary treatment for Social Anxiety disorder before medication. And journaling can help manage both symptoms and causes.
Using your journal to relieve the distress of social anxiety disorder
Creating your own positive affirmations for anxiety can help you navigate your day in advance. Sit down with your journal
Use your journal to create positive outcome affirmations. Positive outcome affirmations help you navigate worry, physical anxiety, social skills and lack of confidence. What you do is write down in the first half of the sentence a social situation that you will encounter, for example going to work/school/university, or meeting friends or meeting other mothers and children in the park. The second half of the sentence you use to create the affirmation for that sentence.
Let me give you an example:
Today I am going to a finance meeting [first half] and I will report on Q1 calmly and efficiently [second half].
Today I am meeting other mothers in the park [first half] and I will enjoy being there and being in the park [second half].
Tomorrow I am going to dance class [first half] and it’s totally ok if I make a mistake, I’ll still enjoy myself [second half].
You may also find this website useful for anything related to social anxiety disorder.
Low self-esteem and negative self-talk, which you can read about in this blog, can be both signs of, and triggers for anxiety. Fortunately journaling can really help with both as can positive affirmations.
Journaling to create positive changes in self-defeating thoughts
Use your journaling practice to turn both low self-esteem and negative self-talk which often accompanies it into an environment of high self-esteem.
Your journaling practice for low self-esteem consists in keeping a daily journal to track your thoughts. For this particular exercise we are going to do it in this way:
Each day write out your thoughts in short sentences, say a maximum of ten. These thoughts are the ones that relate to worried thoughts.
“Another day at work where I’ll get everything wrong.”
“I wonder if I’ll be able to stick to my diet today.”
“I have so many dreams but I never seem to achieve anything.”
Then, drawing on Byron Katie’s method of inquiry, you are going to ask yourself if those statements are true. Are they really true? Sit with each statement and journal whatever comes up for you. Just note down what you are thinking. So, to take the first example,
“Another day at work where I’ll get everything wrong.”
Is that really true?
I might say, ‘Well I generally do get lots of things wrong’. But do I get everything wrong? And how do I know I’ll get everything wrong when the day hasn’t started? And is there a possibility that I might get something right? Well, there is the possibility that I might get something right, yes.
What positive thoughts can I then think around the fact that I might possibly get something right? I could say ‘Some things I’ll get wrong and some things I’ll get right’. Or I could say, ‘Some things I’ll get wrong but next time I might get them right.’
So whereas your previous thoughts was “Another day at work where I’ll get everything wrong.” you could now possibly think, “Today at work I will get some things wrong and some things right.”
Do you see how even the smallest change in how you are thinking has the potential to impact your life in a totally different way. Also, these positive affirmations for all types of anxiety are not necessarily the world’s greatest affirmation statements. But as you create them, they will be personal to you and this will make all the difference. Affirmations work when they are personal to you and you can believe that they are true. So start where you are, create affirmations which mean something to you. Use your journaling practice and your positive affirmations to address all types of anxiety and you will see how the subconscious mind will create space for positive energy and a bright future in your life.
i hope you have enjoyed this post and found it useful. If you like this post you may also like:
How to manage stress with journal prompts for stress and anxiety
5 simple reasons to keep a journal that improve your mental health
How to be kind to yourself: Journal prompts for anxiety