The power of journaling

Hey all!

So I have spoken a bit in the past about journaling and thought this week would be a good time to discuss it. As we come to Autumn in a few weeks and many people start to take stock of the year ending and year beginning. I find I am quite reflective as I cosy down in blanket nests, certainly.

So journaling, at its core essence, is writing your thoughts and feelings, privately for you. It has become quite a popular technique in therapeutic settings in recent years as well as in the wellness industry. Journaling has also become popular through a technique known as Bullet Journaling which can be made into art for many people, but I will not be discussing that. There are an endless amount of ways to journal, depending upon your needs and is a versatile activity.

Journaling for you mental health can be a brilliant tool and is recommended by a lot of clinicians, it has the benefits of reducing worry and stress, improving the ability to rationalise and improving mood. Using journaling can help you organise and priorities thoughts, reflect on behaviours, track moods and symptoms also.

I used to journal quite a lot when I was younger, often writing page after page after page my thoughts and feelings. However, by the time I started therapy, I realised I could turn this into a more effective strategy for me. This is because I did not really feel much better and when journaling can help us reflect, I cringed at what I read which should most definitely not be the case. I started a new method for a therapy journal last year using a key for what I had learned in the session, a part for my homework and a part for reflections.

For my birthday, my best friend gifted me a wonderful journal to track sleep and my mood, noting a cause of the mood but with only space for a couple of sentences. I loved this because it really made me consider my mood and be able to learn from what was going on. I learned just how sensitive I was to lack of sleep, or lack of food. I was still doing my rambles in another journal, but when I became really low I found that I just did not want to write anything, which lessened the impact of this well-being tool.

Now that journal has been filled up, I have created my own in a basic red notebook. Underneath the date I list the rough time I fell asleep, woke up and how many hours I had to sleep, then comment on the quality or if I had woken up. I then reflect on how I am feeling at the end of the day and briefly state why. I go on to create a ‘highlight reel’ of things I have done that day, no matter how repetitive or mundane it may seem, this helps me when I have an off day to see how much I did actually accomplish. Finally, I list a minimum of two things I am grateful for.

I have seen a greater increase in my own engagement with this streamlined journaling method, I can easily reflect on what I am doing well and where I feel I could make improvements upon my own life and spot patterns in my behaviour. I certainly think my method will change in the years to come but for the time being I am happy with what I am doing.

Do you have a particular journaling method, let me know!

Kindness to you all,

L x

Routines: the morning

Hello all you lovely people! I apologise for not posting last week but I was away and spent my time making the most of the relaxation. Today I want to talk about morning routines, we all have them in some way whether actively intending on specific activities or just rushing through the morning doing what we need to do to get out of the door. Now, I firmly believe that a morning routine can help set the day with the right tone and I want to talk about the benefits of having a solid morning routine because there are plenty. There are life coaches specialising in productivity of whom agree that how we begin our day can have a large impact on how the rest of our day will be. So setting the right tone in the morning is very useful. If you wake up with the right intentions and purpose for the day, it gives you more control on how the day starts. From this you can reap the benefits of feeling refreshed, fulfilled and bring about a positive attitude and peace. This in turn is known to increase your resilience to stress. Having a set out morning routine filled with purpose allows you to make priorities for the day to be healthily productive. It can also reduce stress knowing what to do, helping to reduce decision fatigue. A morning routine helps you to become more mindful of time and improves the chances of getting some ‘you-time’, Recently, I feel like my morning routine has not been it’s best and I am not helping myself with having slow starts and feeling groggy from the get go. So I listened to a podcast (Jay Shetty On Purpose) featuring Dr Rangan Chatterjee who spoke endlessly of the benefits of having a morning routine and provided a framework of activities that should be done in the morning and it sounded interesting. He gives the framework of having mindfulness, movement and mindset activities placed into a morning routine so that the benefits mentioned above were happening. He spoke about how if his daughter was awake he would often complete affirmations with her and incorporated his family into his routine which I thought was quite wonderful. This week I decided to test it out myself. My morning routine is as follows: 7am Wake up 7.30am I have made my bed, tidied up any mess and fed my pets, dressed and sorted myself out (brushed my teeth, you get the drill) 8am I have had my breakfast, done some stretches and meditated 8.30am I have journalled stating my aims, giving myself an affirmation and mantra for the day and read some of my book (currently into personal development) Whilst I have only done this for one week so far, I have been able to wake up with the right energy, given myself the right mindset for focusing, feeling refreshed and like I have actually accomplished something already so early in the day. I hope to make this a permanent habit and will occasionally report back how it is going because I do feel so much better. I understand, however, that morning routines are very unique depending upon your circumstances, you may feel like you have no time to do this sort of thing or you may be well versed and have a morning routine that works for you which I applaud. I wanted to talk about this because I find it fascinating. If you would like to find more information I do suggest the podcast I mentioned as Dr Chatterjee makes some very poignant points as a starting framework. There are also many sources out there, and if you would like to improve your morning routine remember to make small changes first to build the habit. Please let me know in the comments or message me your routine if you have one you recommend! I am always looking for new inspiration 🙂 Much happiness, L x