If you’ve ever suffered from feeling overwhelmed, there’s no doubt you’d be willing to try anything to make it go away. You might exercise, watch a TV show or listen to your favourite podcasts to help cope. And if you’re lucky enough to have supportive friends, there’s no doubt you’ve vented to them too.
When I’m feeling overwhelmed or experiencing stress, journaling has been a great way for me to process my thoughts and emotions. In the absence of a regular therapist, my notebooks or documents folder has stepped in. Not only is it cheaper than a professional, but it’s also a more accessible way for me to work through those thoughts in the heat of the moment.
While some may prefer to free right, journal prompts can be an excellent way to help point us in the right direction. Or they at least help us to see the bigger picture and to reflect on our own thoughts, emotions and the reasoning behind them.
But how does journalling help us deal with feeling overwhelmed?
Journalling is a wonderful way for us to process various emotions, not just when we’re feeling overwhelmed. It’s similar to talking through an issue with a therapist or friend in that it gets those unhelpful thoughts and feelings out of our minds. And while this in itself may not be the solution, a problem shared is truly a problem halved thanks to something called emotional release.
Journalling is also a wonderful way to organise our thoughts and enables us to find solutions or a different way of thinking. Writing our worries down can help us decide to finally leave that toxic job that’s burning us out. Or it can push us to have a conversation we’ve been avoiding for far too long.
My journal has become my replacement for regular therapy sessions. And while this works for my current life state, I first had to attend professional therapy to find the tools to allow journaling to be that outlet. It in no way should replace therapy or medication if you’re currently struggling or going through an active disorder, be it an eating disorder, severe depression etc. Instead, it should be in addition to these things. You might even feel comfortable enough to discuss your journal entries with your therapist, and your words could help steer your sessions in the right direction.
20+ Journal Prompts to use when you’re feeling overwhelmed.
- What is causing me to feel stressed right now?
- What are some small steps I can take to alleviate my stress?
- How can I prioritize my tasks and responsibilities?
- Are my worries realistic?
- On a scale of 1-10, where is my anxiety today? And, if possible, discuss why.
- What self-care practices can I incorporate into my daily routine?
- List five good things that have happened lately.
- Who can I reach out to for support during this time?
- Write to your greatest supporter. You don’t have to give it to them.
- What are some positive affirmations I can tell myself when I start feeling this way?
- How can I reframe my mindset to view this situation in a more manageable light?
- What are some things I’m grateful for that can help put things in perspective?
- How can I break down larger tasks into smaller, more manageable ones?
- What lessons can I learn from this experience that I can carry with me in the future?
- What is something I can do to relax and unwind?
- What are some coping mechanisms that have worked for me in the past?
- What would I say to a friend who is feeling stressed?
- What is something that always makes me smile or brings me joy?
- What do I need to feel safe, held and supported?
- What fears am I holding onto?
- What are some things I can look forward to?
- Name 5 things that tend to cause the most stress in your life.
- What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever received?
- Do a “worry dump” and write down everything that’s causing you anxiety and stress. If it helps, tear the page up when you’re done.
- If you get anxiety or panic attacks, write down your coping strategies. Use them as a reference next time you’re suffering an attack (be it visually or in your mind). Having this list displayed in your home might be helpful for those you live with.