Sometimes we have way too many thoughts and emotions running around our brains and we just don’t know where to begin to either filter or deal with them. We can often be left feeling very overwhelmed and it makes decision making extremely difficult. Often when we talk of anxiety, we don’t mention how big of an impact racing thoughts and intrusive thinking can have.

One of the best ways to calm the mind is to write – now, this may seem overwhelming at first. Questions such as ‘What do I write?’, ‘Where do I begin?’, or ‘Will this not make me feel more stressed?’ might run through your mind. However, sometimes all we need to do is just take a moment to sit with our thoughts and find a way to release them and these questions find a way to be answered. 

A good place to start is to ask yourself ‘What am I thinking about right now?’ when you are feeling anxious or overwhelmed.

This starting point can give you a chance to make sense of your thoughts. You can list some of these thoughts in your mind and then expand on them rather than writing out full sentences. If this does not work and you still find yourself not knowing where to begin, then just write anything.

Literally start writing anything that comes to mind.

This does not have to make any sense or be in a logical order. You can write random words that comes to mind. You do not need to pay attention to spelling and grammar. You do not even need to use words; you can draw or scribble. The key is to do what comes naturally to you at that moment, allowing you to remove some of the thoughts from your mind. You can even start off with one word such as stress and write other words around it that come to mind in the form of a mind map.

Make it your own

Journal writing is unique to each person and how you write or use your journal is completely up to you. What works for you may not necessarily work for the next person and so on. Often you will end up somewhere completely different to where you started off and you may think ‘How on earth did I get here…’ – this is all part of the process! It is important to not always gravitate to your journal when you are feeling negative thoughts the journal can also be used for our positive moments. Think of this book as your own world, where you are free to be yourself, no judgment, just you! 

If you think that you can benefit from professional support on this issue you can reach out here.

Stef Gafa’ is a counsellor with Willingness who has a particular interest in trauma, attachment, domestic violence and the LGBT community.