The Trick That Keeps My Anxiety Under Control

This simple strategy has had a massive impact on my happiness.

Benya Clark
5 min readMay 5


Photo by Brooke Cagle on Unsplash

I’ve struggled with anxiety since high school.

Despite therapy and medication, I never had much luck treating it until my late twenties. That’s when I inadvertently stumbled across a technique that has kept my anxiety in check ever since: Writing everything down.

In this article, I’m going to share exactly how writing has helped me to reduce my anxiety. These strategies are straightforward but powerful. At the end, I’ll explain my exact current implementation so you can see how it helps in my day-to-day life.

If you’ve also experienced anxiety — or even simply high levels of stress — I hope that you’ll give the ideas in this article a try.

To-Do Lists and Blog Posts

I started my obsessive writing habit shortly after graduating from law school.

I had never been a big fan of to-do lists or elaborate schedules until I started my first job as a lawyer. That’s when, for the first time in my life, I had far too much to do to keep track of in my head. I started creating long to-do lists out of pure necessity.

My lists were all on a paper pad. My system evolved as it went along, but generally, I kept one list of tasks that I wanted to accomplish throughout the day and another for long-term tasks. Each morning, I’d copy down anything unfinished from the day before onto the new list.

My goal was simply to increase my productivity, but I quickly noticed an unexpected side effect: The to-do lists greatly reduced my anxiety.

By putting the tasks down on paper, I gave myself permission to stop thinking about them. Instead of feeling like I was drowning in a sea of disconnected goals and thoughts, I was able to just work my way down the list, accomplishing one task at a time.

The lists were so effective that I began to use them in my personal life too. Eventually, I moved to digital lists, first with OneNote, and now with Notion.

Around the same time that all of this was going on, I was also going through one of the most massive self-improvement tasks of my life…



Benya Clark

I’m a lawyer turned writer from North Carolina. I write about sobriety, mental health, and more. Subscribe to my weekly newsletter at