Tools to Use When You Have Depression And/or Anxiety: Journaling
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy
Cognitive behavioral therapy is a popular and very successful treatment for depression, anxiety and many other disorders. I will specifically focus on depression and anxiety. Today I want to write about the three tools I have used most and so far have been helpful.
Different notebooks I write in during the week
One of the first things I learned when reading about Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) was journaling. I now write in my journal almost every morning and every night.
I just use composition notebooks and usually fill a couple pages a day. It's a perfect tool for reflection. In CBT we are trying to become aware of beliefs that dont make sense or are just outright wrong. Maybe you had a girlfriend cheat on you in highschool now you dont trust any women based on this one incident. Most of us have many thought patterns we need to look at and decide if they are useful.
So in the morning I write my goals for the day. I check my mood and try to write down any feelings or thoughts I have. The evening journaling session is really where the magic happens.
When you write in your journal at the end of the day try to review the day's events.It will be nice to reminisce in the positive times you had that day.
Just as importantly you'll want to remember the hard times though these are what I'm journaling for. I'll review an incident such as a fight with my wife let's say. Plenty of times when I write it down it ceases to make sense the way it did when we were fighting. Turns out she was in the right and I was just being defensive. This is my perfect time to go apologize.
Other than events, in your journal you'll want to express your feelings. Whether they are good or bad it's best just to write them down. When I record a negative occurrence be it a thought or situation I go straight to creating an ABC (which is the next CBT tool I'll write about).
In conclusion journaling is not only fun but extremely helpful. It gets your thoughts out of the back of your head and makes you aware of them. It gives you the chance to notice negative beliefs that can hide behind your actions.