Journaling and other forms of expression
- Diaries/personal journals
- Buddy Journals
- Gratitude jars
- Vlogging and blogging
- Get creative with art, music and drama
There are many ways in which you can express your thoughts and feelings and use this as a way to process. The actual process of writing by hand can be a cathartic (healing) process in itself, however any form of expression whether hand-written, typed or recorded provides an opportunity to get problems out of our heads, look at them in a different way and maybe even as a means of sharing with someone else. There are no rules to this process. You can write anything that comes to mind, create a poem, write a list, doodle or draw...whatever you feel like doing that works for you!
Diaries or personal journals can be a great way to privately write about anything and everything. Kendall Bartels shares her story of how journalling helps with her anxiety. She explains that the process of writing process helps give her something to focus on other than her worries and that it provides a place to share even her darkest fears, but most of all, overtime the most empowering thing has been able to read back over her entries to see her progress, just how far she has come.
“So I set myself the task of writing one page, front and back, in my diary every day. It didn’t matter what it was about — sometimes I cataloged the movies I watched, or what my cat had done that day. None of it was terribly interesting or noteworthy, but that is how the journal started.”
Buddy Journalling is a really special way to connect with someone we feel safe talking with; a parent, aunt or other trusted adult. All you need is a notebook (plain - or a bit flash), a pen and an agreed place to put the notebook when you have done writing, as a way of passing it between you. To start with, buddy journalling can feel a little scary, so it can help to have a way to ease into the sharing process. You might like to use some questions to get the process underway, with an invitation for your buddy to respond to a question each time you journal together.
Gratitude jars are a really fun way to focus on the positive. This can be done on your own or as a whole family or even a group of friends. Josie Robinson provides some great ideas about using gratitude jars and shares about her own journey of using gratitude as a life-changing approach to living well.
Blogging and vlogging are also ways you might like to share. You can use a pseudonym and create an avatar if you want more privacy. Carly Lanning has written an interesting article called “The Vloggers Cure”, which is about well-known bloggers who have shared about personal experiences and mental health issues online. She shares about how this gives an authentic (real) picture of who they are and what life can be like, rather than a shiny view that can leave viewers thinking the bloggers lives are bizarrely perfect! It’s can be very empowering to vlog like this, but can also be very empowering watch and know that we are not alone. If you choose to vlog or blog, turn the comments OFF, and be sure to talk with those close to you to let them know what you are doing so that they are able to support you if you get any negative feedback about what you have posted. No one likes trolling - or griefing.
Therapeutic Activity for Depression and Anxiety: Writing Lists
Here is a great example of a vlog by “Western Vampire” - clearly a pseudonym!! Western Vampire shares something she finds helpful in managing her anxiety - making lists. In this vlog she talks about some of the specific things she lists and how this has helped her. It is offered in the form of a vlog as a way of sharing her experience to hlep others.
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