Video: A Journalers Journey into Managing Anxiety and Stress

Author - Mari L. McCarthy
Published - Nov 16, 2016 10:17:00 AM

Stephen Van Vugt has been journaling for 26 years. He shares his challenges with PAGE FRIGHT, his A-HA! moments, and more. He uses his journal to track his health and work through anxiety.

One use he has for journaling so to get everything he's feeling onto the page and analyze it. This helps him determine if the things that have been causing him stress are really worth worrying about.

Stephen recently started running, so journaling helps him keep track of his training progress, as well as to celebrate when he completes landmarks. He likes to journal at night as he has more to say when he comes home at night and has ideas on how to make tomorrow even better than today.

Stephen carries his notebook around, but he's always a little afraid to open in and start writing. This is called page fright. But he forces himself to stop avoiding facing his emotions and puts everything down on the page.

His most notable a-ha moment came from reading his old journal entries. This helped him focus on what was really important to him: being an even better husband and father and being great at his job. Because of this, he's started re-reading his journals at the end of every year and asks himself how he's grown.

Here is the full transcript of the video:

My name is Steven. Hello Taco journaling. I've been journaling for about 26 years now. Journaling says just after high school I did. People get started when they're in high school. I was out of my way high school. Uh, I've been journaling largely to explore my own self expression, to find my voice. I find it the best place that I know have to go to, to really discover what I'm thinking, what I think about what I'm thinking. When I think about what I'm feeling. It helps me dealing with anxiety. I can go into a journal when I'm dealing with anxiety or I have an anxiety attack or feeling anxious about something and I can go and look at my feelings, my thoughts, and trying to evaluate whether they're real know how true they are and whether they're. The anxious event is really so terrible. After all, I've also been using my journal to track my health. I've just started recently to run doing runs. I've been tracking my progress on running daily and training for different races, but I also use my journal to celebrate when I completed running. So I've put in a five k and eight k and 11 k now and my journalists really helped me come along with that transition

from a routine perspective. I like to keep my journal every night. I'm a night notes kind of guys would say and I find it's easier to have to wrap up. I have more to say when I come at night and look, I look back at the day looking to see what happened that day, what I've done that day and when I felt about that day and maybe what I can do tomorrow to make today or make them make tomorrow even better.

I do have problems with stage fright. I most recently I've been carrying my journal around with me. Everywhere I go it follows me guy carry it around, but every time I go to open it I'm a little bit nervous. It really comes down to. I sit down, I open it and I write and I write about the fact that I've been carrying my journal around with me for days and days and days and wondering why and what I've, what I've been avoiding. Usually if there's something emotional that I want to, has been carrying around in my head, carrying around in my mind, incredible. My brain wants me to avoid journal readings. It knows that I can tap into that emotion, that feeling and the why's behind it. When I use my journal Aha Moments, my journal there haven't been many over 26 years. There would be a lot, uh, most notable in 2010. I was searching for purpose in life and after rereading my, it wasn't actually writing my journals, but in rereading my journals and found many things that came up there, the things that I wanted to concentrate on in my life, so and improving my marriage and being a better father and looking for a purpose at work as well.

Two Thousand and 12, I suffered from depression and there it was my journal there was waiting for me, write down all my thoughts, my fears, and it really helped me in the other thing amongst other things, to get through that time and through that dark time in those dark places. And I can look back on those, those entries. Now I look back a note, look, there was this dark time I went through and I came through it. I really my journals a lot. I like to go back every year and reread them and find out what happened that year. I have a set of questions. I asked myself at the end of the year, what did I learn, who they meet, where did I grow, and rereading my journals really makes a big difference there in, in showing me just what I did, what I felt and what I went through and it helps me stronger for the next year just as reading night notes for to me helps make the next day even better so I can learn from yesterday's mistakes.

Well, that's all I have to say for journaling right now. Thank you very much.

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