We've talked about how useful mood tracking can be, and how to get started before, but Gil explains that it's helpful for more than just clearing your mind and getting thoughts off your chest. It can also help you identify patterns and the underlying causes of your anxiety:
Once a person is aware of an anxious thinking pattern, they can begin to work on interventions to manage their anxiety. One of the first things I have clients do is to keep a ‘thought journal’ of thoughts that trigger their anxiety (i.e. their body’s limbic response to a potential threat). Many times we find that there is a pattern to these thoughts. Anything from the time of day to particular individuals can be a trigger. Once a pattern is identified, then the person can be proactive and make plans for when these triggers are on the horizon.
Then come up with a “positive outcome thought” by telling yourself that your boss could be calling you in to praise you. While this exercise may not eliminate the anxiety, it will probably help with preventing you from becoming a nervous wreck. In other words, the negative thought train should slow down and not end up taking you to Panic-ville.
For example, if you suffer from social anxiety or awkwardness, keeping a thought journal like this can help you identify the types of situations that trigger your anxiety. If you can paint a clear picture, it's easier to find methods to deal with respond to those scenarios positively.
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