- When you look at what is concerning you right now, explore your other options. Would it be possible for things to be different right now? Is there something that you could do to change your circumstances or your thoughts about your circumstances?
- When you write about what you are concerned could happen next, think critically and try to argue with yourself. Write anything that calls into question whether or not this is truly a concern. How likely is it that this will happen, and how do you know? Are you sure? If what you fear actually does come to pass, is there a possibility that it could be less of a negative experience than you think it would be? Could it actually be a neutral or even positive event? Is there a way you could use your circumstances to create a better outcome for yourself, using what you have available to you and the potential changes that could take place? Is there a change that could occur that you could create that would be even better? You get the idea. Challenging your fears can often help you to relieve anxiety because you see that things either are less likely to happen than you think they are, or are not as bad as you think they could be.
- For each fear or concern, try to write at least one (but preferably more) way in which you could think about it differently. Generate a new story for yourself, a new set of possibilities, and write them on paper next to the fears that are in your head right now.
- It can be helpful to examine your cognitive distortions to see how you might benefit from changing habitual stress-inducing thought patterns.
Now that you have come up with new ways of looking at things, let's examine ways to use journaling to take action to relieve stress. Go to the next page for simple techniques to show you how.