Try This Now: Keep a “Worry Diary” to Reduce Stress

This simple strategy will help you channel your anxiety productively.

Fizkes/ Shutterstock
Fizkes/ Shutterstock

With all of the stressors in the world right now, it comes as no surprise that we’re more worried than ever. And when we ignore those feelings, they can pile up and prevent us from being productive, creative, and present. If you’re looking for a strategy to channel your worries in a way that’s positive and constructive, try keeping a “worry diary.”

“Write down in the diary each worry you have,” Graham Davey, Ph.D., an emeritus professor of psychology at the University of Sussex, tells Thrive. “Then, in a week or so, go back and have a look at which worries were useful and which weren’t.” By reflecting, you can see your concerns from a new angle, and shift your perspective to see what you could have done positively, instead of just letting the issue stress you out. 

You could start your worry diary by writing down one thing that’s on your mind each day, or break up your entries into prompts and topics to help you sort through the various thoughts that could be holding you back. Either way, the idea is to put your thoughts into writing, keeping them from interfering with your work and relationships during the day. Plus, when you put your fears and worries into words, you’ll gain a new perspective when you revisit them and see which ones actually came true. “By writing it down, you can see which ‘what if’ scenarios actually happened, and which didn’t,” Davey explains. “That should help you ground your worrying, and implement solutions based on the given problem.”

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