Most of us worry about numerous things in our day-to-day lives. As long as it remains mild, short-lived, and far apart, we never give it a second thought. We consider this as part of modern living and take it in our stride.
However, this worrying tendency of ours turns into a more serious condition if we experience it more intensely, frequently, and lasts longer. We call it anxiety.
Anxiety and related disorders are the most common mental illness, affecting almost a third of the population. The underlying trigger is stress or stressful situations, but the real culprit usually lies hidden in some corner of the mind.
Anxiety typically manifests as uneasiness, persistent worry, fear, and dread. The physical symptoms include rapid heartbeat, sweating, stiffness in muscles, and nervousness.
In very severe cases, it can even turn into a panic attack. Even when there is no apparent sign of threat, the person suffering from it will react as if there is a real threat to life. They feel as if they are losing control over what is happening to them and show symptoms similar to that of a heart attack.
You suffer from anxiety when your mind conjures up situations that are not in touch with reality. The mind can play really wicked tricks on you if you are not in control. To gain control over the mind, you need to know it inside out and eliminate all negative elements from it. In the normal course of living, we never get around to doing this. As we neglect this more and more, mental conditions like anxiety continue to build up and worsen.
The solution to this problem is to make an effort to understand yourself. You may wonder what is there for you to learn about yourself. We, humans, have this unique habit of ignoring or stashing away anything unpleasant, disagreeable, and scary. We refuse to confront them, instead shove it as far back in the mind as we possibly can, wishing for them to disappear on their own.
Unfortunately, none of these thoughts, feelings, beliefs, or memories go away. They keep accumulating in your subconscious. These traits that we disowned become part of our shadow self. Without you realizing it, these undesirable elements will continue to influence your choices and decisions.
Carl Jung, the founder of analytical psychology, suggests shadow work as an effective method to get rid of anxiety. You can attempt shadow work on your own through journaling for anxiety with prompts.
How to journal for anxiety? Anxiety journaling prompts are precise and persevering questions meant to bring the negative elements out in the open. Once revealed, it will help you figure out how best to deal with them.
Shadow work journaling prompts are the best bet to weed out anxiety on your own. In this article, you will find powerful anxiety journal prompts with proven efficacy.
30 Shadow Work Prompts for Anxiety and Depression
- What makes you anxious and how do you deal with it? Do you think you are handling it right? Force yourself to get out of your comfort zone even if it scares you. Try this for a month and figure out how it makes you feel.
- Make a list of challenges you have faced in the recent past that you managed to flip over and turn into opportunities. How do you feel about this?
- How do you manage to feel calm or how do you calm yourself down? Can a rearrangement of the physical world around you help with this?
- Is there anything you can do to make you feel calmer? Have you identified your anxiety triggers? Do you know how to bring down anxiety levels and be calm?
- What do you feel when you are not calm and composed? Anxious? Stressed? Confused or scared? What triggers these feelings in you?
- Has stress and anxiety influenced and changed your life for the worse? What limitations have they imposed on your life?
- Choose something new such as meditation, yoga, reiki, or aromatherapy to try out every week. Note down your experiences and thoughts.
- When you feel anxious and stressed out, where in your body do you feel the tension the most? Can you do anything to make yourself feel better?
- What is the diet that you are following now? Do you think this is working well for you? Is there anything in it that you may consider changing? What are your suggestions to improve your present diet? Why aren’t you implementing these changes?
- Make a list of all your unhealthy habits. Choose one at a time and stay away from it for a week at a time. Note down how this makes you feel.
- Pay close attention to your body and figure out whether you are feeling the tension in your gut. Any idea what this is about? What is making you tense? Do you think focusing on your body will help you get rid of anxiety?
- Do you experience bad dreams or nightmares? Why do you think you have nightmares? Is there any reason why they manage to frighten you? How do you manage this fearful feeling during your waking hours?
- Do you have the habit of lying to yourself? Have you yet identified the reason why you do this? Have ever thought about how you can live with these lies and still be true to yourself?
- Do you have unattained desires? How do they affect you? Do they appear to you as scary dreams? Do you think you should consider working towards fulfilling these dreams rather than feel scared about them? Do you think you can make this happen?
- Are you a perpetual optimist or a hardcore pessimist? Do you think that dwelling on good things can bring you good fortune? What do you think you deserve – good or bad happenings?
- As a child, what was the worst fear you had? Do you continue to hold on to this dread? If yes, why? If not, what did you do to get rid of it?
- How do you manage your fears? Do you resort to lying to yourself? Do you think this is a healthy thing to do? What else can you do to address your fears?
- How does a perfect day feel for you? What makes a perfect day? Can you contribute in any way to make a day perfect?
- What was your favorite activity in your childhood? Do you continue to engage in the activity as an adult? How can you indulge in more of this activity today?
- When do you feel weak and not strong? What makes you feel this way? Do you know how to overcome this?
- What makes you feel confident and stronger? How do you think you can best use this to your advantage?
- What makes you fearful? Can you identify the root cause of this feeling? How can you best deal with it so as not to impact your life and your goals?
- Do you often find yourself comparing yourself with others? Any idea why you do this? Are you insecure and looking for reassurance? Do you consider this a healthy habit? How can you get rid of this tendency?
- Do you find yourself judging yourself too harshly? Are you aware that this can prevent you from progressing in life? How can you let go of this habit?
- Is there something that you wish to hear from others? Does it disappoint you that you don’t get to hear it as often as you would like to or not at all? Can you compensate by saying the same words to yourself? Do your own words seem as charming to you?
- What do you think you deserve to have in life? Include both good and bad tidings. What is the basis for this belief? How does this belief impact your life?
- How important is happiness to you? What do you do to make yourself happy? Are you happy? What more can you do to make you feel happier?
- Describe a challenge you have overcome. Did you get any help with this? How did it make you feel? Did this incident make you more confident?
- How do you manage your emotions? Do you allow yourself to feel them however uncomfortable they make you feel? Or do you avoid those awkward ones? Are you scared of coming face to face with your own emotions? What do you think is the best approach to dealing with them?
- Is today a good day for you? Are things going your way? What makes you say that life’s great?
Shadow work is neither an easy task nor is it a pleasant one. Moreover, journaling when you are suffering from a mental condition can be daunting. Every cell in your body would be screaming to quit the activity even before you began. You need to overcome immense resistance from yourself to carry on with it. Shadow work prompts for anxiety can make this activity easier for you.
With deep, prodding questions, shadow work prompts force you to dig deeper into your mind and discover the elements of your shadow. Once it is revealed, they gently guide you to take the right steps.
You can use a shadow work journal in so many ways. But you can never go wrong with the outcome. It is the simplest way to get to know yourself and get rid of anxiety and depression.