Journaling – my experience with a different kind of Journal
Being mindful has come along with me almost my whole life and since the pandemic it’s even more prominent because my daily meditation helps me to stay focused. Also journaling was a known topic to me, and I did write a journal from time to time, more often when I was a teen, and did mindfulness journaling like I have summarized in one of my previous posts.
But end of last year something happened which led me to a completely different experience with writing a journal. One of my best friends gave me a special birthday present: a journal. But it was not just any journal or notebook with free pages. It was a book with pre-printed parts like an introduction and guidance, examples, and pre-printed prompts for each day. The idea behind is to spend at least 3 minutes in the morning to show gratitude and set an intention for the day, and in the evening, you again spend 3 minutes with the journal and reflect your day, identify the three best things happened, reflect if you did something for others that day, and if there are things you could improve the next day. Challenging!
After every week, there were also some questions to find out what’s going on in your mind, what have led you to single decisions, why do you like what, why are you doing what … simply create self-awareness. Furthermore, it’s a tool which can help you to release “unhealthy” habits (this could also be something, you want to release because you don’t like it) because there is also a kind of weekly “habit tracking”. In addition to that there were also monthly “check-ups” to identify your mood, how it is going with your habits, and if anything had changed. The whole experience would take approx. 5-6 months according to if you can really accomplish it every day or if you missed any day in between – which is fine. You know, being mindful also means to accept the situation without judging. 😉
I started early January, and, in the morning, it was quite easy for me because I combined it with my meditation routine. Being thankful was nothing new for me and the first things came into my mind were thanking for having had a good sleep, for the sunshine, for the public holiday ahead… just little things. Sometimes I noticed I was thankful for my health (no wonder in pandemic times) or that I was glad that my kids adapted to the home-schooling situation so well. It really helped me to recognize the good things happened in my life. The evening routine was more difficult as I was often quite tired and the section “what to improve tomorrow” was a big challenge for me. Many days were just good as they were, so I picked up some work related things like “keeping calm and mindful with a fully booked working day” for example. But I loved the three best things which happened the day: this was often so easy for me to write and I realized that my life is great, blessed, and I am a lucky girl.
I completed the journal beginning of June. I am very proud that I achieved this personal goal. I wouldn’t say it was always as easy as I just mentioned. I definitely had some “down days” where I just didn’t want to write the journal. But I tried to go ahead, used the journal for rising my self-awareness, and used the “notes pages” after each week to identify, in which mood I was and if I was in a weak mood, why. That also helped me a lot to understand. The positive intention of every morning “how to make the day incredible” had a positive impact to my behavior. Once something came up which stressed me, I took a deep breath, and tried to see it from the other angle. I calmed down.
My takeaway: I love to reflect myself. And to take the time to do so. Take some time for myself and spend it with journaling, meditation, running or walking in nature, be on my own, and if it’s only 6 minutes per day. I also decided to move on with regular journaling, not every morning and evening, but from time to time when I feel something bothers me. For me it’s a great opportunity to reflect what happened and to be honest with myself why I reacted like I did.
Maybe you also want to try writing a journal – or whatever is good for you.
By the way, I am also lucky to be an SAP employee because SAP is doing a lot of in regard to Mindfulness at work – for their employees and also for their customers. And since beginning of the year, I am also an SAP Mindfulness Ambassador – but this might be worth another post. 😉