Does Journaling Help Overthinking?

If you’re an overthinker, you know that your thoughts can sometimes feel like a never-ending spiral. Are you wondering if journaling could stop the constant cycle of thoughts running through your head? This blog post will explore whether journaling can help reduce overthinking and if yes, then how. Take a deep breath and let’s get started.

Journaling can be an effective way to manage overthinking. Writing down your thoughts can help you to clarify them and see them from a different perspective. It can also help track your progress as you work through your issues. Journaling reduces stress and anxiety by providing an outlet for built-up and overwhelming emotions.

We’ve all been there before: stuck in a never-ending cycle of thoughts, questioning everything we do and second-guessing our every move. Your mind is racing a million miles a minute, and you can’t seem to calm down no matter what you do. If this sounds familiar, you can find relief in journaling. Below are the ways in which journaling can help with overthinking and some ideas of what to write about.


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How Can Journaling Help Overthinking?

Whether it’s anxiety about an upcoming event or just general unease, overthinking can be draining both mentally and emotionally. The good news is that there are ways to combat those negative thoughts, and one of the most effective is journaling. Here are the main ways that journaling can help with overthinking:

Helps to Identify Your Triggers

One of the best things about journaling is that it allows you to track your thoughts over time. This means that you can start to see patterns in your thinking, and identify what triggers your negative thought spirals. Once you know what sets off your overthinking, you can start to work on strategies for how to deal with those triggers more positively.

Gives You a Creative Outlet

Sometimes, overthinking can be caused by boredom or a lack of creative outlets. If that sounds like you, journaling can be a great way to get your creative juices flowing. Whether it’s working on creative writing exercises or just doodling in the margins, using your journal as a space to be creative can help break up the monotony of day-to-day life and give your brain a much-needed break from overthinking.

Provides Clarity and Perspective

When you’re caught up in negative thinking, it’s easy to get lost in a rabbit hole of doom and gloom. Seeing your thoughts written out on paper can help you realize how irrational they might be, and set you on a path towards more positive thinking. Additionally, you can look back on previous entries to see how far you’ve come and how much progress you’ve made in combating your negative thought patterns.

Aids in Stress Relief

Putting your thoughts into words can help lessen their power over you, and brevity often forces you to get straight to the root of your anxiety. Once it’s out of your head and onto the page, you might find that the thing you were stressing about wasn’t nearly as big of a deal as you thought it was.

Gives You a Sense of Control

In many cases, people start overthinking because they feel like they have no control over a particular situation. If you can’t do anything to change the situation, it can be helpful to take some time to write about how you’re feeling. This will give you a sense of control because you’ll be able to express yourself freely without having to worry about anyone else’s opinion.

Once you’ve written everything down, you may find that there are some things that you can do to improve the situation after all.                                              

Aids in Decision Making

Sometimes making decisions is hard, but it can be even harder when you’re an overthinker. That’s because overthinkers tend to second-guess themselves a lot, which can make it difficult to commit to any one course of action. When this happens, journaling can be a helpful tool because it allows you to explore all your options without having to make any rash decisions.

Simply sit down and write out all the pros and cons for each option until you feel ready to make a decision. In most cases, taking the time to think things through carefully will help lead you in the right direction.

Encourages Positive Self-Talk

Lastly, journaling can encourage positive self-talk. One trap that many people fall into when they’re overthinking is dwelling on their past failures, mistakes, or traumatic events. However, by taking some time each day to use your journal as a space for positive reflection, you can start to counter those negative thoughts with more productive ones.

For example, instead of berating yourself for not getting enough done today, try reflecting on one small accomplishment—no matter how insignificant it may seem—that made you proud. Over time, those positive reflections will become second nature, and help put an end to destructive overthinking for good!

A study was conducted on the effects of journaling about stressful or traumatic events. The activities correlated to the events were cognitive processing and emotional expression.

The table below shows the results achieved, where ‘Associated Positive Growth Experienced’ and ‘Associated Illness Symptoms Experienced’ are partial correlation coefficients. This is a measurement of how much two variables are associated with each other.

Related Journaled StateAssociated Positive Growth ExperiencedAssociated Illness Symptoms Experienced
Cognitive Processing0.250.02
Negative Emotion0.060.27

As seen in the table above, participants who wrote about their emotional and cognitive states in a journal, showed more positive growth than those who journaled only about their emotional states.

The former group also experienced lesser illness symptoms. This shows that journaling can help change the trajectory of your thoughts, thereby helping to deal with overthinking.

Guide to Starting a Journaling Habit as an Overthinker

Keeping a journal can help you to process your thoughts and feelings constructively. It can also provide clarity and perspective when you’re feeling overwhelmed.

Not sure how to get started? This step-by-step guide will show you the way.

Step 1: Find the right journal.

The first step is to find a journal that suits your needs. If you want something portable so that you can journal anywhere, consider a small notebook or spiral-bound journal. If you prefer something with a bit more structure, look for a guided journal with prompts and questions to help get you started. If you’re interested in using journaling for creative expression, as well as organisation, consider a dotted bullet journal.

Step 2: Set Aside Time Each Day (Or Week) For Journaling.

Once you have your journal, the next step is to set aside some time each day (or week) to sit down and write in it. Trying to fit journaling into an already-busy schedule can be tough, so start small and gradually build up to longer sessions.

A good rule of thumb is to set aside at least 15 minutes each day, but if that’s not possible then start with 5 or 10 minutes and work your way up.

Step 3: Begin Writing!

Once you have your journal and have set aside some time for writing, it’s time to finally start putting pen to paper. The great thing about journaling is that there are no rules—you can write about whatever you want, whenever you want.

Some days you might feel like writing pages and pages about your deepest thoughts and feelings, while other days, you might just jot down a few lines about what you did that day. There is no “right” way to do it, so just let the words flow and see where they take you.

Sample Journal Entries for Someone Who Struggles with Overthinking

Journaling is one way to deal with overthinking. It can help to get your thoughts out of your head and down on paper. Seeing your thoughts in black and white can also help you to better assess them and figure out what, if anything, needs to be done about them.

Below are four journal prompts to help you explore your relationship with overthinking and begin to find some peace:

Journal Prompt 1: What are five things I am grateful for today?

Being thankful for the good in your life can help you refocus your thoughts and see the benefits of situations instead of getting caught up in the negatives. This will be an ongoing battle, but each day that you can identify at least five things you’re grateful for is a win.

Maybe today you’re grateful for your bed, coffee, or the fact that it’s Friday. Whatever it is, write it down and let yourself feel gratitude.

Journal Prompt 2: What is one small thing I can do today to move closer to my goal?

This prompt is about taking action instead of letting your thoughts run wild. When you’re feeling particularly stuck, it can be helpful to just do something – anything – to get the ball rolling.

Break down your goals into small, manageable steps, and give yourself credit for taking them. And don’t forget to congratulate yourself once you’ve completed the task!

Journal Prompt 3: What would I do if I wasn’t afraid? 

Sometimes we allow our fears to hold us back from doing things we want to do. Write about what you would do if fear wasn’t a factor. Would you travel more? Quit your job? Tell your crush how you feel? Let yourself dream big here and don’t worry about whether or not these things are possible.

Journal Prompt 4: What did I accomplish today, no matter how small?

End each day by brainstorming a list of everything – big or small – that you accomplished over 24 hours. It could be as simple as making your bed in the morning or sending an email to a friend. The important part is acknowledging that you’ve done something worthy of recognition, even if no one else sees it that way – you do.

Journal Prompt 5: How can I be more accepting of myself?

One of the main reasons we overthink is because we’re not accepting of ourselves. We beat ourselves up for every little thing we do wrong, and we compare ourselves endlessly to other people. This just leads to more anxiety and self-doubt.

So instead of dwelling on your flaws, try to focus on your strengths. Accept that you’re not perfect, but that’s okay! You’re doing the best you can, and that’s all anyone can ask for.

Journal Prompt 6: Who can I reach out to for support?

It’s important to remember that you don’t have to struggle with overthinking on your own. Talk to a trusted friend or family member about what you’re going through, or seek professional help from a therapist or counselor. Just knowing that someone else understands and is there for you can make a world of difference.

Journal Prompt 7: What are some healthy coping mechanisms I can use when I’m feeling overwhelmed?

Anxiety can be very overwhelming, but there are things you can do to help manage it. Experiment with different coping mechanisms and see what works best for you. Some people find that exercise helps them let off some steam, while others find comfort in journaling or spending time in nature.

Journal Prompt 8: What Is one small step I can take today to improve my mental health?

Taking small steps each day will add up over time and lead to big changes in your mental health! Maybe today, you could commit to 5 minutes of meditation, or take a brisk walk around the block. Whatever it is, just something to help you feel a little bit better today.

Taking some time out for gratitude can be great for your overall mood. We also have some more gratitude prompts to get you reflecting.

How Can a Bullet Journal Help with Overthinking?

A lot of people look at bullet journals as just an organisational tool – somewhere to write down your calendar and appointments. However bullet journals can be amazing in helping people sort through thoughts, feelings and moods. The beauty of a bullet journal is that you start with a blank canvas and can make it work with whatever you need.

Trackers are a great tool for people that overthink things or suffer from anxiety. By tracking your mood, habits and self care, you can see patterns emerging and recognise triggers.

Tips for Dealing with Overthinking

Overthinking can be a difficult habit to break, but it’s important to remember that you have the power to change your thoughts and improve your mental health. With effort and practice, you can learn to control your overthinking and live a happier, healthier life. Here are a few tips to deal with overthinking:

  • Don’t try to stop your thoughts altogether: It’s impossible to think no thoughts at all, and it’s not necessary for managing overthinking.
  • Accept that you’re having these thoughts: Don’t fight them or judge yourself for having them.
  • Be aware of your thinking patterns: Notice when you tend to overthink things, and what kinds of thoughts are most likely to trigger your overthinking.
  • Challenge your thoughts: When you find yourself overthinking, ask yourself if the thoughts are true, and if they’re helpful or harmful.
  • Put things in perspective: Remind yourself that the situation is usually not as bad as your thoughts make it seem.
  • Focus on the present moment: When you’re caught up in overthinking, it’s easy to get lost in worries about the future or regrets about the past. But you can only live in the present moment, so try to focus your attention on what’s happening right now.
  • Take action: Overthinking can be a way of procrastinating or avoiding difficult situations. If you find yourself doing this, try to take some action, even if it’s just a small step.
  • Let go of perfectionism: Don’t try to make everything perfect or expect yourself to be perfect. Accepting that you’re imperfect can help reduce overthinking.


Q. How Can Mindfulness Help with Overthinking?

  • Mindfulness is a practice that can help us to break the cycle of overthinking. By focusing on our breath and the present moment, we can learn to let go of negative thoughts and cultivate a more positive outlook. In addition, being mindful can help to increase our awareness of our thought patterns, making it easier to catch ourselves when we start to overthink.

Q. What Is the Difference between a Diary and a Journal?

  • A diary is a personal record of events, thoughts, and feelings. Diaries are written daily and provide a detailed account of the writer’s life. In contrast, a journal is a more structured form of writing that is often used for specific purposes such as reflection, problem-solving, or creative expression. Unlike diaries, journals typically do not include a running account of the writer’s life. Instead, they focus on specific topics or themes.

Final Thoughts

If you’re struggling with overthinking, know that you’re not alone and there is hope. Journaling can be a helpful tool for anyone struggling with overthinking. By focusing on gratitude, taking small actions, facing your fears, and celebrating daily accomplishments, you can train your brain to focus on the positive side.

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