What’s a Worry Journal and How Do You Use it?

worry journal

Hi everyone! It’s the start of another week and I wanted to share a tool I’ve been using recently to cope with my anxiety! I find that my worries can be so overwhelming that I can’t process them or pinpoint exactly what’s bothering me. So instead of finding ways to relieve my anxiety, I spend all my time going round and round in my head about what it is I’m worried about. It drains my mental energy and exhausts me. So I’ve started keeping a “worry journal.” Don’t worry (pun intended,) it’s better than you think!

What the Heck is a Worry Journal?

A worry journal is just a notebook you carry with you (it doesn’t need to be huge) that you can whip out when something(s) is bothering you and you need to pinpoint what it is and why it’s giving you anxiety. For me, I sit down at my desk every day, put on some music and just write down what it is that’s giving me anxiety. Sometimes it’s just a few bullet points and other times it’s paragraphs of concerns! At least a few times a week I have to go back to it in the middle of the day and write something else down.

What this does is allows me to clear out the space in my brain that is literally trying to make sense of my anxieties. It also gives me some much needed clarity. I’m not going to say it totally takes away all of my worries, but it definitely makes them more manageable.

How Do I Use It?

Use your worry journal in addition to your normal anxiety treatment. I like to think of my worry journal as an accessory that pulls the entire outfit together. What I mean is I have vitamins, doctor-prescribed medication, workout routines, and a mental health counselor to help me cope with my anxiety. My journal is just that perfect addition that completes my treatment.

When you sit down to write, jot down everything that may be weighing on your mind! And write for as long as you need to! If you have one big worry with several others attached to it, then write those down as bullet points underneath the bigger worry. This kind of organization can often provide the visual clarity you need to think logically about your anxieties. I’ve found that when I write down what’s bothering me, I recognize how I can eliminate the worry or at least cope with it in a healthy manner.

Final Thoughts

Writing may not be as therapeutic for you as it is for me, but I think it’s worth a try! Knowing that I have a place to write down my worries is so helpful! I encourage you to try it out and see if it helps. Good luck!

What’s the Difference Between Anxiety Attacks and Panic Attacks?

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This blog is a long time coming! I’ve used the terms “anxiety attack” and “panic attack” interchangeably for way too long and I imagine I’m not the only one!¬† They’re actually very different from one another and I thought it was time to shed some light on both of these very unique experiences so we can all be aware of what we’re actually saying.

I’ve definitely experienced anxiety attacks before but I was surprised to learn that I’ve likely never experience a panic attack. After doing a little research, I’ve learned about the differences and how to know what I’m actually experiencing. You can check my sources here and here.

Anxiety Attack Vs. Panic Attack

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I found the emotional differences absolutely fascinating! A lot of the physical symptoms like shortness of breath and dizziness made total sense. But the differences were significant when it came to the emotional experiences of both kinds of attacks. People that have panic attacks sometimes feel a detachment from their body, which kind of reminds me of what some people have reported when they have “died” and then came back to life.

This by no means is an extensive list of every single symptom you can experience, but this is a good comprehensive list of more common symptoms. Personally, when I have anxiety attacks, I get the desire to get up and run away. And keep running. I often cry and my mind races with thoughts I can’t control. I’ve had anxiety attacks while running on the treadmill, which has been incredibly interesting because for about 30 seconds I’ll be able to run at a much higher speed than I normally can. It’s insane what our minds and bodies can do!

What Causes a Panic Attack or Anxiety Attack?

Panic attacks that are expected often have identifiable causes, whereas unexpected attacks have no apparent causes. They just sort of happen.

Anxiety attacks often have identifiable causes as well. Causes for each of these attacks are usually:

  • Work or social stress
  • Driving (I experience this stress in Dallas every day!)
  • Caffeine
  • Withdrawal from alcohol or drugs
  • Experiencing trauma or witnessing trauma
  • Chronic health conditions
  • Anxious personality
  • Other mental health disorders
  • Various phobias
  • Medication

How Can We Cope?

I’m not sure if there’s any one way to cope with an attack. I think therapy can be a big help (it has been for me!) I’ve also found that accepting what is happening makes a huge difference. Fighting off an attack is exhausting! Deep breathing is also a big help as well as meditation. Journaling how you feel on a day-to-day basis may also help you stay in touch with how you feel and allow you to recognize thoughts that might be triggering to your attacks.

Bottom line: everyone is different with what they experience and how they cope. It may take some time to find the right combination of coping mechanisms. But know this: you are not alone in what you experience and your feelings are VALID.

 

Forget Fashion Blogging- Why I’m Transitioning to Mental Health Blogging Only

As you may have noticed lately, I’ve been talking a lot more about mental health and less about fashion. When I started Witty N Pretty way back in 2014, I had a completely different vision for it than what I have now, and as any good brand would do, I decided to reevaluate what it is I wanted my blog to be about. I ended up deciding that fashion wasn’t my thing any more and mental health was a topic that I wanted to focus on. Here’s why.

Mental Health Isn’t Talked About Enough

100 years ago, people that were chronically depressed were put in asylums or other institutions. No one understood the disease, or wanted to. It’s upsetting for me to think that if I had been born in a different era, I could have been one of those people locked away for no good reason.

In recent years, mental health has been talked about more and more… but we still have a long way to go! I want to dedicate my blog to something that can really make a difference. Spreading awareness, helping those who are trying to cope with anxiety or depression, and just sharing my experience are the topics I’m going to be focusing on.

I Can’t Write About Something I Don’t Love

Fashion was always something I was interested in, but I never loved it. I never had a passion for it (or a big budget to match!) I wanted so badly to be a successful blogger that got all of the brand deals, had a big following, and lived a glamorous lifestyle. Rachel Parcell was always my inspiration and what kept me dreaming big. But we all don’t follow the same path in life. I don’t love fashion like she does and that’s ok.

After years of trying to “make it” as a style blogger, I finally felt God’s gentle hand guiding me elsewhere. Ok, it was more like a big push and Him being like “can you listen for 5 seconds?! Do this instead!” So here I am, trying to listen and write about the what I love, which is mental health.

We All Need Someone Who “Gets It”

There’s nothing better than finding someone who totally understands what you’re going through and can commiserate. Sometimes we just need someone to talk to, and I want to be that person for other anxiety and depression sufferers.

I remember I was at a brunch with a bunch of other bloggers in the Dallas area. We all went around the table to introduce ourselves and one of the girls said she blogged about style and mental health because she deals with depression and anxiety. I about shot out of my seat I was so excited to know that at table filled with women who looked like they had it all together, there was at least one person who would understand me. Follow her Instagram here!

So with Witty N Pretty, I really hope this blog becomes a resources for other people that suffer from mental health problems. I am by no means a doctor and certainly can’t diagnose you, but I hope I can at least be someone others can talk to so they don’t feel alone.

Why Accepting Yourself can be Your Biggest Challenge

Hey everyone! I wanted to chat about some exciting things going on in my life and share how my mental and physical health journey is going. Some of you may know that I’ve had issues with anxiety and depression (which is why I like to blog about it!) as well as body image issues. All the fun stuff, right? HA! I’ve always tried to be open with others about these personal problems because I think they’re important to talk about. Sharing my journey is at a turning point though- I’ve realized that accepting myself opens a million doors!

The Comparison Game

I’ve spent years comparing myself to other women. I often wondered “why am I not as thin as she is?” or “why don’t I have the beautiful home she does?” All these questions left me drained and feeling unworthy. Let’s be real- how on Earth could asking these questions ever be fulfilling? They’re questions that are designed to tear down the person who is asking them. And I WILLINGLY asked myself these questions.

Comparing myself and my life’s journey to someone else’s is a recipe for depression. Clinical depression isn’t always caused by one particularly thing, sometimes its honestly just a chemical imbalance in your brain, however it can be exasperated and prolonged by upsetting situations or thoughts. I made my own depression much worse and last much longer by asking myself almost every waking moment of the day, why I wasn’t good enough. It literally made me sick.

Understanding My Relationship with Money

I had a revelation the other day thanks to something my counselor said. When I was complaining to her that I didn’t understand why I didn’t have the nice cars other women have, nice home, perfect body etc. she said to me “Your value systems are unique and aren’t the same as others.” My internal light bulb went on. She was so right.

I relish in the fact that I’ve padded my savings account enough that a car repair, an emergency trip home, or a surprise bill won’t make a dent in my budget. I do a happy dance whenever I get to deposit more money into my savings account because it means I’m meeting my financial goals!

Having it All

When I compare myself to other people that appear to “have it all,” I often forget that credit cards and loans are a thing and most American’s carry around a fair amount of debt. The other day I was walking out of Target (not surprising at all) and there was a girl about my age getting into a shiny new Mercedes. I thought to myself “how come I don’t have one too?” Then I thought, OH WAIT! I hate car payments! And if I bought a nice new car, then you better believe I’d have one! So I hopped into my 2007 Ford Edge (a hand-me-down from my future sister in law) and drove away!

My views on money management are simply different from other peoples’ and that’s totally fine. I buy most of my clothing on clearance. I only buy furniture on sale and have no problem doing a DIY if I need to. David and I’s rental home isn’t super fancy but only takes up 1/8th of our paycheck. That, in my opinion, is winning at life. My counselor also reminded me that millionaires can often be hard to spot because they live next door to you and drive old cars. MIND BLOWN. So moral of the story- material items don’t equal happiness, feeling secure and safe does.

Getting Comfortable in My Skin

“If you accept yourself the way you are now, all the things you want will fall into place” this is what my counselor said to me the other day at our appointment. I’ve struggled for the last few years with my body not cooperating with any of my weight loss tactics and it’s been so discouraging.

I didn’t have crazy expectations like having a six-pack of abs or a super lifted booty, but I wanted to see progress in my exercising and calorie-counting regiment. Surprise surprise- my body resists pretty much every attempt at losing weight because of my high stress levels and oddly enough, food intolerance.

Cortisol is the stress hormone and when your body makes too much of it, it can be harder to lose weight. I’m just about the most anxious person I know and something as simple as driving to a new place in Dallas can cause a wave of anxiety for me. Combine my anxiety to simple, everyday things with my anxiety over how my body looks and BOOM- cortisol levels are spiking all day, everyday! So the less I stress about how much weight I’ve lost and how I look, the more likely I am to lose weight. Accepting myself, being happy with the way I was built, and most importantly, being happy with my lifestyle, could actually lead to the results I’ve been pining for.

Surprising Food Allergies

Now let’s talk about that food allergy I mentioned earlier. For years I’ve dealt with constant bloating and stomach pain after eating just about anything. Looking in the mirror all I’d see is a girl with a big stomach in pain. Fun, let me tell ya! It killed myself esteem and made me even more anxious (and sometimes still does). I literally just went to the doctor and he told me I had a severe allergy to lactose. Yeah- my digestive system is afraid of cheese! Insert eye roll here. He told me to take lactose pills every morning and the bloating should subside. One day later, I feel way better!

Key Takeaways

Sorry, this is the longest post ever but I just have so much to say! Accepting myself, my lifestyle, and the way God made me is literally the key to finding happiness and self-worth. How crazy is that? Imagine if we all did that and how we’d feel and even treat others? The comparison game, depression, body image issues, and a million other problems we all have may literally just become things of the past. How great would that be? So I’m encouraging you to reflect internally on who you are, what makes you different, what your value systems are, and how you feel throughout the day. The answers may surprise you!

5 Free Ways to Destress

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Happy Monday! I feel so refreshed after the weekend. The last week has been a thorn in my side and I needed some recovery time. My anxiety was out of control and when this happens, it’s really important to take a step back and relax. I feel so much better now that I wanted to share with you 5 (free!) ways that I relaxed¬†this weekend.

  1. Brew something hot– Whether it be cocoa, coffee, or tea, for whatever reason we feel better when something is warming us from the inside out. It probably stems from our positive association of warm drinks and soup with our parents or even grandparents taking care of us when we were sick as kids.
  2. Help someone else– Doing something good for another person, even if it’s just smiling and asking how they are, takes your focus off of your problems and allows you to think about someone else’s.
  3. Read– Since graduating college, I’ve slowly started to enjoy reading again. It takes my mind away from where I am and all of my worries and lets me think about something else for awhile.
  4. Take a nap– When we’re sick or tired we take naps. The same goes for when we have a lot of worries. Sometimes we need to take a break from our anxiety-filled thoughts and just sleep it off. Waking up after a long rest leaves you with clarity and feeling refreshed.
  5. Go where you feel loved- For me, this means I go home to my parents or if my beau is in town, I go to him. It’s so important to be around people that you feel safe with. Find those people, whether they’re the baristas at a coffee shop or right in your mother’s kitchen, and go spend time with them.

What do you do to relax? Leave me a comment!

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