A super simple but effective way to make great changes and breakthroughs in your life can be achieved with just a pen and paper and a little reflective time.
Gratitude & Feel Good Journaling (I will explain this shortly) every day for approximately 5 – 10 min aiming for 10 ideas is a wonderful way to start the day, end the day or infuse good vibes in the middle of a day. It always brings a smile to the face and a warmth in the heart. By the end of our busy days we are often totally aware of what didn’t go well, what we still have to do and what is stressing us out. But, we aren’t as connected to what is going well, what did get done and generally all that we have to be happy about and grateful for.
It is easy to underestimate the power of journaling because it is so simple but experiment with it for 30 days and see how it transforms your thoughts, energy, relationships, confidence and maybe even improve your sleep.
Here are some general guidelines.
- Keep a journal where you do the writing – maybe you wish to make it personal with quotes and photos on the front or buy a special journal book that inspires you to pick it up and write in it.
- Every day – pick a time that suits you (it is best to be consistent to help make it a habit) and sit down for 5 – 10 minutes to write minimum 5 things you feel good about that day or lately that you can give yourself credit for – i.e. perhaps you made a great dinner, complimented a friend, had a productive work day, got out skiing. Anything goes for so long as you think about it and it makes you feel good and you generated it. As an example – the sunny weather wouldn’t count in these 5 items as you don’t control the weather but if it was raining and you chose to be positive about it and make the most of a rainy day – that could go on your list.
- Then for the next 5 items either choose in general 5 things that you feel good about that you didn’t generate directly – such as the sunny weather, living in a great community, the wildflowers growing along the road to town, your friend who dropped by to visit you etc. These 5 items are really an interplay between general Feel Goods & Gratitude that you have for your life in general, the people in it, the experiences you have. So, you may simply consider these five items each day to be what you are are grateful for – the little things and the big things.
If you have a certain area in your life that is feeling stuck or challenging, focusing in to find what is good and to be grateful for specifically in these areas can really help shift things into a more positive light. For example you may have a relationship that is feeling stressed and you would then aim to reflect and write upon 5 things you like/love/appreciate about this person or 5 things you have experienced together that make you smile.
When people first start this practise a couple of things usually happen…
- They instantly realize their day was a lot better than they thought because they forgot about all the good things that happened
- Some people find it easy to be thankful but difficult to find the 5 things to credit themselves for. Recognizing ourselves, seeing the good in ourselves and giving ourselves a pat on the back is just a muscle that we can develop over time. If we haven’t exercised it in a while it can be weak, uncomfortable and difficult to stretch but persist to find the 5 as everyone can always find 5 if they are patient with themselves. And, to be honest, when you can be self loving and self accepting, you open yourself up more to see the good and value in others too.
- They start to share the practice with the people they live with. Some do it at dinner and ask everyone to bring forward the best moment/experience of the day, others do it at night together.
- Many do it just before bed and start to sleep much better closing the day on a positive note.
Do it for 30 Days - then decide if you find value in it. It is Free, Easy and you have nothing to lose and everything to gain by playing with it.
You can even sit back and do a great journaling exercise of reflecting on 2014 by each month or by life categories – family, sports, career, health, money, adventures etc. (jog your memory) and journal all the great things that happened – what you did – what you learned – what you experienced. It is a wonderful way to end the year and helps infuse ideas to set you up for a wonderful year ahead.
You yourself as much as anybody in the entire universe
deserve your love and affection. – Buddha
Have fun with it!
by Sue Hutchinson Bawden of Evolve INK Coaching & Consulting