Managing Anxiety: The Fear Journal

Last week I started doing something interesting; keeping a fear journal.

In a recent cycle of extreme anxiety that was causing me to wake up with my jaw clenched, I came across Anna Runkle (aka The Crappy Childhood Fairy) and her Daily Practice.*

The idea is that all your anxiety, anger, or discomfort is really centered around one thing - fear. This is especially true if your anxieties are generally rooted in trauma.

Writing all my fears has helped me to unload, as well as assess the rationality of each, so I can continue my day with a renewed sense of inner calm.

This is how to do it:

  1. Set aside at least 10 minutes with your pen and a piece of paper or your journal.
  2. Start every sentence with 'I fear'; even if the feeling of fear may not be what you think you're feeling at the surface.

    For example:
    I fear that being tired all the time is leading me to underperform at work. I fear that this cycle of anxiety will never end. I fear that when my partner left this morning without saying 'goodbye' (which irritated me at the time), it's because they no longer love me. I fear that the contractor I hired does not respect me, which is why the deadlines keep being missed. I fear that if the project fails, my colleagues and company will not trust me anymore.
  3. Write as much or as little as your need.
  4. When you are done, give yourself permission to let go by writing something like the below. Feel free to personalize; the key thing is simply to release your fears:

    I now release these fears and worries. I seek guidance and clarity on what I should focus my energies on for the rest of the day.

You don't have to keep the fears you've written down; Anna even suggests writing on scrap paper and ripping it up when you're done. The point is to get your fears of your system, not to ruminate.

*I have found Anna's advice for overcoming CPTSD extremely valuable in general. If you are looking for some guidance, I would suggest taking a look at her YouTube channel. (CPTSD is slightly different from PTSD and caused by prolonged exposure to trauma. You can find more out about this here).

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