Journaling can create your BEST LIFE
Life is a journey and we can either focus just on the end destination or, the moments on the way. Do you take time to reflect on those moments, how you feel, how stressed you may be, or what you’d love to do? Creating a habit around journaling leads to new exciting discoveries as we are free at the time from the life roller coaster. It also supports us in improved health and wellbeing and a path forward on our leadership journey. Give yourself the gift to take time and discover!
The 8pm Club
I outlined in a recent blog that last year was a sh*t show for many of us and it definitely wasn’t a walk in the park for me and the team considering most of our work is face to face and I am a keynote speaker. ARGH! Talk about courage. So I decided to go into my own courage and make some changes this year. Here’s what I did:
- I read this book called the Morning Miracle around 6 Habits to transform your life before 8am. Loved it! I found it challenging at times as I had to juggle my daughter’s schooling and getting to work but it did work.
- Then I read the 5am Club book. Again so good. I gave it a go for a few months, then hey, 5am is so early….give me a break!
- I loved the concept of spending time journaling, visualisation, mediation, affirmations, little exercise, reading and so forth. Anything I can do to be my best self is so important to me and it’s about putting on the oxygen mask first.
- It is something I do “most’ days then I decided to do something really radical after I read a book called Alcohol Experiment. I think you have picked up on that I read a lot. A friend recommended it to me and as I started reading the chapters around the brain and alcohol, I started to freak the f*ck out! I am passionate about Neuroscience and it stuck a rather big cord. Now I am not a huge drinker, maybe one or two a night…leaning on two, however, I am seeing the incredible benefits already. I am sleeping better, losing weight (was looking like a wine bottle last year!), I am glowing, have so much more energy and I could go on and on.
- Then I started doing my 5am club work at 8pm – before bed. I wanted to start going to bed early to see if it made a difference. Again I was surprised when I researched the benefits here. There are SO many. I would get ready for bed then I would read for 8 minutes, journal about my day with lots of reflection work, visualise for my day tomorrow, say some affirmations and meditate and stretch for 8 minutes. I don’t exercise at night however I love to stretch so even if you love yoga etc., this could work.
Let me break the structure down –
- 8pm get ready for bed – shower, PJ’s etc.
- 8 minutes stretching and/or meditation
- 8 minutes affirmations and/or visualisation
- 8 minutes journaling and/or reflection
- 8 minutes reading and/or learning
Total – 32 minutes (approximately)
ONLY 32 Minutes to being your best self! What a great gift.
You are more than welcome to do longer or shorter on areas or choose other things to focus on however I have found my 8pm club has made a huge difference to my mindset and leadership. It could even be your 9pm, 10pm or 11pm club where you spend 30-60 minutes focusing on your well—being, learning and self-awareness. I found it easier to commit and put this into my day. By 9pm I am ready for sleep and my sleep is deeper (maybe the no alcohol is helping here…!) and I wake up so much more motivated and energetic. It is also getting that 7-8 hours sleep.
I would give the 8pm Club a go and even try not drinking for 30 Days.
I know your leadership, mind, body and heart will thank you for it.
Reduce Stress, Improve Mental Health
Loran Hill in the Tiny Buddha indicates that “Journaling helps you heal, grow and thrive.” By regularly recording your thoughts you will gain insight into your behaviours and moods. Journaling can be used for problem-solving and stress reduction. It’s been proven to improve mental and physical health. It can lead to increased self-esteem.
In The Artist’s Way Julia Cameron suggests writing three handwritten pages or 750 words every morning. At first there is a lot of “dumping” but eventually little jewels of wisdom and direction emerge. I found myself creatively energized when I participated with a group for 12 weeks using her book as a guide. If you want to improve your perspective on life and clarify issues, start writing in a journal. Here are 10 tips to get started:
- Start writing about where you are in your life at this moment.
- For five to ten minutes just start writing in a “stream of consciousness.”
- Start a dialogue with your inner child by writing in your subdominant hand.
- Cultivate an attitude of gratitude by maintaining a daily list of things you appreciate, including uplifting quotes.
- Start a journal of self-portraits.
- Keep a nature diary to connect with the natural world.
- Maintain a log of successes.
- Keep a log or playlist of your favourite songs.
- If there’s something you are struggling with or an event that’s disturbing you, write about it in the third person.
- Develop your intuition.
We all have dark days, black moods, and anxious feelings. Use writing in a journal to explore the darkness. You will find your inner light when you do.
The Roller Coaster, or a LIFE WITH MEANING!
Elise Christian in Restless UK, encourages you to “Use the journaling habit.” On this rollercoaster we call life, keeping a journal can be a powerful form of self-expression, reflection, and exploration. Whether you’re feeling hopeful or sad, trying to find meaning and purpose in your life, or just wanting to capture memories – a journal will always be there to listen, and to give you a safe and non-judgmental space to share your thoughts.
Keeping a journal is an effective way to track daily life. It can give you a chance to explore what makes you happy or sad, to hold onto experiences that you treasure, and to help you work towards your goals. One of the most beautiful things about keeping a journal is that it’s raw and unedited. You don’t have to watch what you say, worry about spelling mistakes or be anyone you don’t want to be. Journaling is a simple exercise with huge benefits. Here are a few of the biggest ones:
- Keeping a journal can help to improve your mental health
- A journal is a powerful tool for learning and development
- Journaling can boost memory and comprehension
- Research suggests that journaling is also good for your physical health
Perhaps one of the most famous examples of this is Anne Frank’s diary. Anne started writing in her journal during the summer of 1942, at the age of 13. Everything she wrote was in letter format and addressed to a fictional character named Kitty. Anne’s diary stayed with her as she went into hiding in a warehouse in Nazi occupied Holland, and offered her a safe place to explore her hopes and fears. It gave her life purpose and meaning during an utterly terrifying time – in a world that had become alien to her. Anne famously said, “I can shake off everything as I write; my sorrows disappear, my courage is reborn.”
In today’s increasingly fast-paced, technological world, journaling can offer us a real sense of grounding. A journal can become very precious in no time at all. It only takes a few memories, experiences and very personal thoughts to make it utterly irreplaceable, and to help you start enjoying life’s journey more deeply every day.
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