Ever since I was a kid, I've loved journaling! Writing in my diary about my hopes for the future or whatever drama was going on provided me with a useful outlet for all of my feelings...especially the ones that I didn't want or need to express out loud. Honestly, just writing the words moved them from my head to a page where I could either ponder them or let them go.
Do I still write in my diary now? Yes, but those original journals are LONG gone in the depths of storage. My writings are also a lot less chronological. Sometimes I have a daily journaling practice and in other seasons my journaling is reserved for relief during crazy times. Either way, those skills are still with me and I call upon them whenever it makes sense for me.
In my own practice, I've noticed that focusing on gratitude whenever possible helps retrain my brain to not get stuck in the negative.
This is so helpful during extremely stressful times and migraine attacks. When I'm in pain, its so easy to think "this is so unfair" or "why is this happening to me". The truth is that we all have our crap. For some, its a neurological condition like migraines and for others its cancer, fibromyalgia, Crohn's - whatever it is takes away our life's joy little by little...but only if we let it. We can use small tools like journaling to help redirect our focus to the positive during non-crappy days, so we are more resilient when it does finally hit the fan.
If you've been wondering whether or not a journaling practice is for you, give it a try with my tips below.
Journal Prompt #1: Gratitude for Resiliency
- Sit comfortably and take 3 deep breaths in and out.
- Write down 3 things that you're grateful for in this moment.
- Read them aloud to yourself, smiling at the end of each one.
Practice this every day for the next 7 days and notice if you experience any changes to your emotional or mental well being.
Journal Prompt #2: Are You Fulfilled?
- Sit comfortably and take 3 deep breaths in and out.
- Create two columns on your page.
- In the left column, write down 5 words describing how you want to feel each day of your life.
- Think about how you feel at the end of each day now. In the right column, write down any words that come to mind.
- Cross out any words that match or have the same meaning in both columns. For example, if you wrote "happy" in the left and "joyful" in the right, cross them both out.
- Circle the words remaining in the left column. These are the words that describe how you want to feel, but don't feel yet.
- On a new page, choose 1 circled word and write 3 things you can do TODAY to move towards that in your life. Remember, each big goal is made of tiny steps.
- Do the 3 things that you wrote down.
Depending on how they go, there might be 3 other things that you need to do tomorrow to keep the momentum going. Once you feel like you're ready to work on another word, add it to the list and write the 3 actions you can take that day to get closer to the life you want.
Journal Prompt #3: Stress Relief Brain Dump
- Sit comfortably and take 3 deep breaths.
- Free flow write EVERYTHING that is creating stress in your life right now. Get detailed...this might take awhile.
- Get 2 different color highlighters or markers. In one color circle or highlight the items that you feel are truly outside of your control. In the other, circle or highlight the things that you have control to change.
- Create a list of the top 5 things from the "I can control that" group that would give you the most relief if they were done or gone.
- Choose 1 that you can either take off your plate by yourself or ask someone else to handle for you within the next 24 hours. Now, either do it yourself or actually ask that person to help you.
- Continue down the list at your own pace until your major stressors are either completed or delegated to someone else.
The more you do this, the easier it gets to see where the bottleneck is in your life that's causing you so much stress. Once you're aware of it, this becomes easier to avoid in the future.
Remember that journaling is a practice and it takes time to get used to doing this if you've never done it before. You can set a timer on your phone that reminds you to sit down and write. Another easy way to remember is to leave your journal next to your bed so you either write when you wake up or before you fall asleep.
Need a comfortable place to sit and journal? Check out my favorite meditation cushions to help you relax!
Rollable Cushion (click image to shop)
Rectangular Meditation Cushion (click image to shop)
V-Shape Meditation Cushion (click image to shop)
*The above are affiliate links, which means you can still support my small business when you shop at these brands. Thank you in advance!
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About the Author:
Tiffany Lord is a corporate yoga coach and founder of Love + Asana, a virtual studio launched in 2016 offering workplace wellness sessions, workshops and program design. Her sessions incorporate movement and mindfulness focusing on benefits for stress relief and chronic pain. Tiffany’s fun, approachable style makes classes feel like you’re hanging out with friends while also improving your mental and physical health.
She is an E-RYT with the Yoga Alliance and currently enrolled in a 500-hour training with Yoga Medicine focusing on yoga applications for common range of motion issues. Continuing education in meditation, breathing techniques, myofascial release, yoga for COVID-19 recovery and training as a massage therapist help make her sessions relevant and beneficial to clients who want simple movement and mindfulness techniques that improve their quality of life. Her articles on wellness through yoga have been featured in online and print publications, such as fyi50+ and CO Yoga + Life magazine.
Questions? Contact Tiffany at firstname.lastname@example.org