Journaling to stop feeling overwhelmed
How did journaling help me stop feeling overwhelmed all the time?
Do you ever find yourself in the place of thinking thoughts all the time? Do you feel your mind is bombarded with all the weird thoughts and you just can’t seem to stop them? Does the feeling of being overwhelmed eat you up?
If your answer to any of these was ‘a hell yess’ – this post is for you.
I always struggled with racing thoughts and it felt that there was always so much to do that I had no way to stop this feeling of overwhelming. This feeling of always having so much to do comes from the over-glorification of ‘working hard’.
We have always been taught to work hard, to always keep working in order to live a peaceful life. I’m not against hard work but I’m definitely not in the favor of believing that only hard work brings success or you need to always keep working until you reach your exhaustion point.
What even is the use of living the kind of life where you don’t feel peace, where you’re constantly ‘doing’ all the stuff, where your head is full of mess and racing thoughts?
Let’s reflect on what makes us feel overwhelmed in the first place.
Why do we feel overwhelmed?
Feeling overwhelmed has so much more than just having a tough personal or professional life. You may say that this overwhelming is the result of work pressure, the continuous ‘go, go, go’ system, and yes I agree with this but there’re many layers to feeling overwhelmed.
Feeling overwhelming thoughts is not only because of external pressure, it’s mostly because of our internal state of mind, our racing thoughts, our perception, the meaning we give to things.
Pick any moment in your life when you felt overwhelming thoughts. Did you really pause in that very moment and asked yourself; what these thoughts really were? Did you pause and ask yourself why are they taking so much space inside your head? Is it because of work pressure or your feeling of being perfect, your feeling of ‘doing everything in order to prove your worth’?
Things started shifting when I dived deeper and asked myself these questions. I realized I was always feeling overwhelmed and stressed because I was attaching my worth to doing more. I felt worthy only when I ticked off all that I had on my to-do list (and my list is never-ending lol)
This is why I want you to pause and reflect using the journal prompts below + uncover your deeper reason for feeling overwhelmed.
How can journaling help with stress and overwhelming thoughts?
Journaling has always been the anchor that held me during the toughest period of my life. When I started journaling, I had no idea how this art is going to help me because I was only writing my thoughts and nothing else. Journaling provided an outlet for my anxious, overwhelmed thoughts and helped me find calm in the chaos.
Just putting your pen on paper will give you a sense of relief as if something heavy is leaving your body. I always imagine the heaviness flowing from my body onto my journal with every word I write. This is why I’m so passionate about journaling.
Journaling will force you to be mindful, to be present, to pause and think about what’s actually happening inside your head, which thoughts are absorbing your energy, and what is draining you. When you can bring awareness to the issue, you can always bring in the solution.
I find that journaling can help reduce anxiety when you’re feeling overwhelmed by putting your thoughts into perspective. Taking some time to write down your thoughts – even just for a few minutes – will help to slow down your mind when your anxiety is spiraling out of control.
Journaling exercise to stop feeling overwhelmed
Here’s the powerful journaling exercise that I use whenever I feel overwhelmed. The idea here is to really dive deeper and understand what is the hidden feeling behind this overwhelm.
- List everything that is making your feel overwhelmed. Do a worry-purge on paper and let it all flow out. You can set a timer and write non-stop until the alarm goes off. Once you’re done, go for a walk or do something else and come back to your journal later.
- Write how you’re currently feeling and how do you want to feel. List out all the ways you can bridge this gap.
- What are the hidden thoughts and feelings behind this overwhelm? Are you mentally exhausted or is it more physical or emotional?
- What are your beliefs about your work? Do you feel worthy only after accomplishing everything that’s on your list?
- What happens when you are not able to do everything? What is your internal dialogue here?
- How often do you celebrate yourself? How do you celebrate your little accomplishments and acknowledge your efforts of trying things out even when you don’t succeed?
- Have a heart-to-heart talk with your inner critic. If she has been extra vocal today, take this opportunity to dismiss her opinions and tell her to hit the road. If he has been telling you all the things you are doing wrong, reply with all the things you are doing right.
- Choose one problem that has been causing you anxiety lately, and ask yourself questions about it, the way a close friend would. Ask supportive and encouraging questions, and answer them with complete honesty. Try looking at the situation from new angles, and be open to possible solutions that come up.
- What are some of the things/activities that energize you, and that make you feel joyous? List them all and write how can you find more time for them?
- Tell a story in which you made a positive difference in someone’s life. How did you change them for the better? How did it change you? What does this reflect about you as a person?
These journal prompts have always helped me bring in more peace and calm into my life whenever I feel overwhelmed. It takes time and patience to sit with our tough emotions and journal our hearts out. Give yourself some grace as you pass through this tough phase of your life. Always remember, that you have the power to reframe your thoughts and re-write your story.
I have some journal prompts to help you stop feeling overwhelmed.
Journal prompts to stop feeling overwhelmed
- Where in your body do I feel this feeling of overwhelm?
- What is this emotion behind feeling overwhelmed?
- What triggered me or made me feel this feeling? Why do I feel this way?
- When did this feeling start?
- How can I detach myself from this feeling?
- How can I help myself to feel calm and safe inside my body?
- What kind of boundaries do I need to set in order to stop feeling overwhelmed all the time?
- How can I communicate these boundaries healthily?
- What do I do when things seem out of my control? How do I react?
- How can I find beauty in my imperfections? How can I allow myself to stop controlling everything?
Sit in peace and journal on these prompts, they will help you uncover the deepest truths behind your feeling of overwhelm. If you’re looking for more of such mindful prompts, I have a gorgeous journal of mine that would serve you during the hardest period of your life.