Doing this allows you to learn from your anxiety and your emotions. It’s not only important to work with your thoughts when you’re anxious, it’s also important to document your emotions and anxiety levels – specifically how good or bad you’re feeling.
Let me discuss an example…
If you’ve ever kept a log of tasks you’ve done throughout the day (some employers require this for example), then later came back to the same list, you might then notice that you accomplished more than you thought previously. This realization can be quite encouraging. It provides you with a reference point for your accomplishments. You can do the same thing with your emotions.
Over time you can look back and see the progress you have made using a variety of strategies this can be encouraging. But there’s more. You might also pinpoint things that may have triggered your emotions. This way you have a reference point for your emotions.
Many therapists who use Cognitive Behavioral Therapy recommend that you keep track of your anxiety and emotions, specifically document what events seem to be involved with your emotional distress.
- I would like to suggest the following process be done at a minimum of once per day:
- Describe how you are feeling; in other words, list your emotions;
- Then rate each feeling / emotion. Keep things simple by using a rating system from 1 to 10;
- Once you have described and rated your emotions, see if there are certain events that may have triggered them;
- You then write down your thoughts about the events that may have triggered your emotions;
- Locate the Cognitive Distortions;
- Then substitute accurate thoughts in their place.
Over time it can be very encouraging to objectively see how your anxiety and emotions have improved. We don’t often realize that our moods are improving when they are. We don’t necessarily recognize that our anxiety levels are decreasing even when this is the case because we tend to see everything in absolutes. Seeing things in absolute terms is called Black and White Thinking.
Doing the above process will often highlight certain times in the day when you are more anxious and may even allow you to pinpoint environmental factors, as well as situational factors that you think about in a manner which leads to your anxiety. (Of course it is not the actual environmental or situational factors directly causing emotions but your thoughts about them — which you can work on!)
If there are certain parts of your routine of daily life that bother you, but these are a necessary part of life, you can use the above process to help you develop a strategy and empower you in future – emotionally.
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Reference / Further Reading
Sifferlin, A. Time Magazine. (2013 May 13) Retrieved July 3, 2013 from: