Heart palpitations, rapid breathing, feelings of dread and fear - these are all key symptoms of Anxiety. Anxiety is a physical response to stressful and frightening experiences in our lives. Everyone experiences feelings of anxiety, but when these feelings occur frequently and are of a high intensity, this can be a sign of an Anxiety disorder.
As men are often encouraged to 'man up’ and not express their feelings, men’s mental health issues, including struggles with Anxiety disorders, can often be swept aside. An Anxiety diary for men is helpful for examining your emotional responses and triggers to discover strategies for recovery. Here's how to use an Anxiety diary for men to improve your mental and physical wellbeing.
How to Use an Anxiety Diary for Men
So, what exactly is an Anxiety diary? Generally, an Anxiety journal for men features sections for thought records, freewriting, mindfulness and goal setting, but it can be tailored to each individual. Working on these aspects can help you to manage your daily experiences of Anxiety, alongside more long-term mental health treatment.
There are activities you can work on in your Anxiety diary before, during and after you experience anxious thoughts or an Anxiety attack. These include:
Goal setting - Use your Anxiety journal to plan out your daily to monthly Anxiety goals. Maybe there's a social event you want to go to, but feel anxious about due to social Anxiety. Don't attempt your goals all at once. Build steps towards the event to lower your feelings of Anxiety, for example, by watching videos to improve your communication skills or meeting up with a friend.
Thought records - When anxious thoughts arise, record them in your Anxiety journal. Write about your thoughts, including details of what you were doing when they came into your mind, and what your response was. You can then analyse your thoughts to discover the trigger, and find the best techniques to help you overcome them.
Freewriting - Another key strategy to use in an Anxiety diary for men is freewriting, a writing technique where your subconscious takes control, and you write without stopping or correcting yourself. Through free-writing, men who suffer with Anxiety can explore their thoughts without fear of judgement, and express their struggles with Anxiety in creative and empowering ways.
Using an Anxiety Journal for Mindfulness
If you relax your mind, this can also help to release physical tensions in your body. Mindfulness relaxes your mind and body holistically. Practising mindfulness can encompass a variety of different activities:
Focusing on your breathing or your surroundings
Appreciating the details of a particular object
Focusing on the tastes or textures of your food
Spreading thoughts of kindness to the people around you
Visualising long walks through nature
Using an Anxiety journal for mindfulness helps you to create strategies for Anxiety management, and explore your mindfulness further.
As you plan mindfulness into your daily routines, you might notice that some mindfulness techniques are more effective for settling your Anxiety than others. For example, mindful breathing exercises might be your go-to technique for managing panic attacks. With an Anxiety diary for men, you can plot in upcoming events that could potentially trigger your Anxiety, and set aside time to practise mindfulness beforehand.
You can also use your anxiety diary for men to record your feelings before and after you practise mindfulness. Write about any improvements in your symptoms and any parts of your mindfulness routine that you find particularly helpful or challenging.
What are the Wellness Benefits of an Anxiety Journal?
There are many long term wellbeing benefits of an Anxiety journal. Using an Anxiety diary for men as part of a daily routine helps you to relax, not just on one occasion, but in the long term.
Anxious feelings and reactions can become our embedded responses to stressful situations, and an Anxiety diary helps us to transform our automatic responses into relaxation and mindfulness.
As you untense your mind, you untense your body - meaning your body can recover from long term Anxiety symptoms, including heart tension, shaking and feelings of fear and unreality. Whilst an Anxiety journal can never be an alternative for professional mental health support, it can help you to manage the daily challenges that arise when you suffer with Anxiety.
Anxiety can be an incredibly debilitating disorder, because it prevents you from taking part in activities and events that you would otherwise enjoy. As well as affecting men's mental health, it can have a physical impact on the body, disrupting sleep patterns and causing heartburn and digestion problems. As men are often encouraged to ignore their struggles with ill mental health, an Anxiety diary for men can combat the effects of internalised stigma, providing useful strategies to support consistent Anxiety management.