Journal writing and positive thought replacement are most effective ways to get in touch with the thoughts that are going on inside your mind.
Many people write in a journal on a daily basis, not because they have to, but because they have learned it helps them sort out so many things in life and helps them to put things into proper perspective.
By writing down your thoughts or by writing in a journal, you are able to see just what kind of thoughts are swirling around in your head. As with stress, anxiety, panic or depressive disorders, negative thoughts are rampant.
A big part of recovery has to do with you being able to find those negative thoughts and then learning how to replace them with more positive, truthful thoughts.
I cannot stress enough how important it is to do the work in this step. How well you learn this skill and how often you practice it will determine whether or not you fully recover. It is VERY IMPORTANT!
This step must never be skipped. By doing the work, you are training yourself to be more proficient in positive self-talk. This is most important and should become almost habitual before attempting to step out and challenge yourself with those bigger steps.
Begin with Journal Writing
Get a journal. You can either purchase one at a store, or you can use any notebook to do this. The choice is yours!
Pick a time of day to journal when you are most relaxed and it is quiet. Many people choose to journal at night. They find it helps them focus better. It also helps them get their thoughts out of their head and onto paper before they settle down to sleep.
Journaling is easy! There are no rules! All you do is write whatever thoughts come into your mind. It is not uncommon to write a lot and it's not uncommon to write very little. Many times, people have a lot to say while others take time getting in touch with themselves. No matter how much you write, it doesn't matter, all that matters is that you do it.
It helps to write the date at the top of the page so you can remember how far you've come in your journey when you look back.
Some people use aromatherapy to help them focus while journaling.
Use whatever methods make you feel most comfortable.
If you choose, you can also do paperless journaling. Many people blog (journal) online through websites such as Blogger.com . They like to share their thoughts with others while staying anonymous.
If you don't have a notebook or a journal and don't want to blog online, be sure to print up a Journal Entry worksheet for your convenience.
Positive Thought Replacement Exercise
Another effective method for getting in touch with the negative thoughts going on inside our heads is to do positive thought replacement. This exercise not only helps you to target your negative thoughts, but it gets you into the habit of looking for more positive, truthful replacement thoughts.
When this exercise is done repeatedly over time it helps you to build a new habit called the automatic positive response.
When doing this exercise, you will notice that it gets easier the more you do it. It may be difficult at first to find all your automatic negative thoughts but eventually, with practice you will recognize them.
This exercise is more efficient when practiced on paper. Many people try to do this exercise all in their heads but it is usually inconsistent and takes longer to become a habit. I want to encourage you to do this work on paper as often as you can.
You can use the Positive Thought Replacement Worksheet each time you practice. Simply print out as many copies as you need.
Are you dealing with Obsessive Thinking?
Obsessive thinking is a common symptom of an anxiety disorder. Most commonly associated with Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, thoughts are persistent and usually based around something that is objectionable by the sufferer. It is not uncommon for some people to suffer with obsessive thoughts without the compulsions.
Although you can do the Positive Thought Replacement worksheet for these types of thoughts, it is also recommended that you also practice the recommended actions listed on the Obsessive Thinking page.
What about Negative Emotions?
Remember that emotions such as anger, guilt, perfectionism and grief have their personal challenges. It's important to write about these things when you are journaling or doing your positive thought replacement worksheet. Visit Emotional Wellness for tips on dealing with these specific emotions.
Dealing with Scary Body Symptoms?
So much of what our body feels when suffering with stress, anxiety, panic and depression, is distressing and makes us uneasy making us question whether or not we are suffering with something more severe. So many of the same body symptoms can be associated with other medical problems. So be sure that if you haven't seen your doctor, make an appointment to rule out any physical cause before you begin affirming that your symptoms are not a big deal.
If you know you are suffering with stress, anxiety, panic or depression already, then be sure to know that many find it difficult dealing with uncomfortable symptoms that comes with them. When these symptoms are associated with these disorders, they are merely distressing but not dangerous. I realize that is so much easier to say than it is for you to believe. For help in dealing with some of these symptoms, visit Scary Anxiety Symptoms.