How to Overcome Anxiety by Writing

January 2021, Written By: Jamie Petersen

 

What is anxiety?

The dictionary defines anxiety as a feeling of uneasiness and worry. It is often coupled with muscular tension, restlessness, fatigue, and concentration problems.

As an emotion, anxiety is closely related to fear, which is a response to a real or perceived threat. People suffering from anxiety often withdraw from situations that have provoked anxiety in the past.

There are many different types of anxiety, originating from various sources in a person’s life, including:

If you suffer from anxiety, you will understand the importance of trying to conquer the daily struggle and relate to the Google phrase “how to overcome anxiety?” While many advocate not self-diagnosing with Dr. Google, one tried and tested therapeutic remedy for anxiety is writing

Continue reading to learn more about how to overcome anxiety by writing.

How to overcome anxiety

Image Source: https://library.bc.edu/

Putting the Theory to the Test

A popular study done by Dr. James W. Pennebaker, who is the chair of the psychology department at the University of Texas, Austin, put 46 college students to the test.

Each student was asked to write about a personally traumatic life event or a trivial topic for 15 minutes a day, for four consecutive days.

In the six months following the study, it was found that the students who chose to write about traumatic events visited the campus health center less frequently. They also tended to make use of pain relievers less regularly.

Historically, anxiety studies have centered around physical health conditions such as sleep apnea, asthma, and migraines. More recently, researchers are delving into the possibility that expressive writing can help reduce stress and anxiety.

 

Why Does Writing Help?

For the most part, people struggle with expressing their emotions and thoughts, particularly regarding traumatic or emotional events. Dealing with those thoughts and emotions, however, is vitally important for overcoming the obstacle.

Writing helps people to organize their thoughts and gives meaning to a traumatic experience. There is something about seeing everything written down in front of you that puts it all into perspective.

For people who suffer from anxiety, it is difficult to regulate their emotions. Writing is a tool that they can use to help them overcome anxiety.

Writing fosters an intellectual process that is important when the author attempts to break free from a mental cycle that they are trapped in. It forces your mind to think about and then explain that event, effectively spelling it out onto something concrete.

The event is now a picture that is no longer playing on your mind but explained and left on the page in front of you. It is no longer fermenting in your thoughts and upsetting your emotions.

Once you have detailed and organized the trauma in writing, there are no longer gaps or reruns continually plaguing you.

How to overcome anxiety

Other Benefits of Writing About Anxious Experiences

When dealing with a trauma, several steps need to be followed to deal with that experience and to overcome the anxiety associated with it.

Recognize the Trauma Causing the Anxiety.

It is important to pay attention to your own feelings. Feeling isolated often results from anxiety. It is important to know yourself well enough to be able to recognize when something is different. Watch your sleeping patterns and tendencies to get overly aggressive for simple reasons. These are tell-tale signs of trauma and anxiety.

Explore Your Feelings

This step requires absolute honesty with yourself. You need to be able to open up, even if it just with yourself at first, and then look at the problem. Be mindful of the issue and start cataloging when you experience the anxiety and what started it.

Get Support

Writing about the issue is often the doorway to being able to talk about it. Once the reason for the anxiety is presaged out on paper, people find it easier to seek a professional’s help or simply talk to a friend. This way, you build a support team and get rid of that isolated state you found yourself in.

The biggest benefit found to be related to writing about your anxiety is that once you have written everything down, a sense of confidence develops. This confidence encourages people to open up about the trauma and talk to someone.

Most people seek the shoulder of an understanding family member or friend, often a professional. Whichever route you choose to use, talking about the trauma and anxiety is the key to closing the door on its cause and to overcome anxiety. 

Opening up about anxiety offers a sense of relief, gaining a sense of trust, and initiating a confidence build up. This is all attributed to taking that first step and opening up in written words about the problem.

Support to overcome anxiety

The Right Timing

Timing also matters when it comes to expressing your feelings over a trauma that has inflicted anxiety. People need time to process what has happened and how they intend to deal with it.

Dr. Pennebaker recommended that patients waited at least a month or two before they started writing about their experiences. This gave them sufficient time to assess the situation and gain comfort in initiating the writing process.

Patients who wrote about a traumatic event immediately after experiencing it often felt worse. Addressing the anxiety was still too raw and real.

Putting Pen to Paper

There are various ways in which a person can write about an experience, for instance, the old-age use of a diary. Diaries have been around for ages now and have been the mystery behind teenagers’ innermost thoughts for decades.

Blogging or online journaling, however, has become the new and improved diary. It gives users access to safe online platforms to either join a community or start their own personal journal.

Online writing to overcome anxiety

Moving with the times, one online platform has created a journaling site that perfectly fits the needs of users requiring some personal privacy.

Emote is an online journaling website that allows you to freely express your thoughts and emotions while maintaining the highest level of privacy.

Emote Home Page

Emote allows you the freedom to indulge in yourself. At any time, you can go back and relive the better memories or celebrate the overcoming of difficult ones.

Greenday was famous for their song “Boulevard of Broken Dreams,” which talks about anxiety.

“I walk a lonely road

The only one that I have ever known

Don’t know where it goes

But it’s home to me and I walk alone”

There is no need for you to walk alone, use Emote daily and gain the confidence and freedom from anxiety that you so richly deserve.