• The Hopefulist

The Power of Journaling

If I said you could reduce stress and increase happiness in just 5 minutes a day would you give it a try? It would be silly not to, right? I'm telling you that writing down 3-5 things daily that you are grateful for will do that for you. Yes, I'm serious.

I've had a long history of keeping a gratitude journal. A long history of it not working at all. But then, after many years I realized I had been doing it all wrong. I treated it like a chore. It was annoying to me. I would sit down and pain over what to write down. Then I would come up with ridiculous things that didn't really matter to me. Things like getting the dishes done, getting the gratitude journal done or the fact that the dog stopped snoring for a few minutes. It was mostly about annoyances in my life. I was focusing on just getting it done and out of the way. And guess what? It didn't work! Shocking, I know. I was thinking about it all wrong. I thought if I just got it done then my happiness level would shoot up and I truly didn't understand why it wasn't working. Ahhh, the laziness of the pessimist.

But I have it right now and I want you to do it right too. The first part is to truly find things you are grateful for...not as a chore but as a way to bring more joy into your life. It can be the simplest thing to the biggest thing in your life. You can be grateful for your kids or the fact that your teen actually cleaned up her room. It can be about the house that you live in or that your kitchen is sparkling clean. I encourage you to make a mix of big and small but the one thing you can't do is repeat yourself often. I make it a rule to never repeat something more than once a week. For example, having a great workout should only be written down once every week. Why? Oh, I'm a gonna tell you. Because the whole point of doing this is to train your mind to seek out new and more things to be grateful for every day.

I'm not going to lie to you...it will be difficult at first. Just like with anything new you try it takes time to get into the groove of things. If you've never done it before it will likely take you some time to come up with things. But once you get it going it will start to flow. In fact, sometimes you may be able to come up with even more than five things and that is always OKAY!

There really is so much to be grateful for if you just take a few moments a day to pay attention. It's Spring so there is so much more to choose from. A bright, sunny day with warm temperatures. All the blossoms popping up on trees. The flowers starting to spring up in your garden. I am getting so excited even to see the nurseries and farm stands starting to open up. I saw one of my favorite places open up just this week. It's one of those places that has fresh produce, seafood, deli, desserts and flowers galore outside. I can't wait to stock up on some new flowers. I have big plans for my front garden this year. But I digress. You can be grateful for the birds singing in the morning. Or being able to have coffee outside on your deck or patio in the fresh air. There is so much to more to notice at this time of year in nature.

But of course it's not just about nature. You can find gratitude anywhere and everywhere. Restrictions have loosened up from the pandemic and we can finally do some of the things we haven't in the last couple of years. Is there a concert or show you've been wanting to see and now you finally can? Go out and watch a movie. Eat in restaurants! Long days on the beach. Vacation! There's so much to look forward.

It's the one thing that truly started to change my life for the better. Just noticing and recording those few things a day made me realize that life wasn't as bad as I made it out to be. And as you write out your list you get to relive that good moment. In fact, it's essential that you feel the gratitude for it as you write it down. Because if you don't then you're just treating it like a task list. And why bother with that when you can revisit the best moments of your day. It can be truly magical in the way you see your own world.

I've gone even further at this point with including what is called morning pages. It's from a book called 'The Artist's Way' which says we should be free journaling each morning (first thing) three whole pages. Yes, this does take a significant amount of time. But it so rewarding. Research shows that people who journal on a regular basis have less stress and more happiness in their lives. And the specific point of the three pages is to get all of those subconscious thoughts out onto paper. The length is designed to keep you writing until you really tap into some thoughts that may be holding you back in life. The more you write the more that delve into limiting beliefs that may be affecting your life in ways you may not realize. It usually takes some time to get to the point of loosening up those ideas and words before they begin to flow. Some people say you can't really get to the good stuff until you write for at least a half hour. But at the very least what I love most about these morning pages (and yes, they are to be written first thing in the morning) is that it really frees up some things you are stressed and worried about by venting and coming up with solutions. Even if it is just getting things off your chest it's so freeing and can make you feel so much more free throughout your day.

I'm not saying this is something you have to do. It's a lot and I have the luxury of time in the morning. But the more you can journal about anything and everything the better things will be in your life. The top achievers in the world use journaling as a way to tap into things that may not be in the forefront of their mind and only find it way back in their subconscious mind when they dig deep. It can be scary, yes. But you also want to address the things that are holding you back or you won't be able to move forward. Think of it this way...if cut your finger open and it needed stitches would you avoid the pain of getting those stitches and just take your chances at your finger never healing properly because you didn't want to deal with the pain? Because then you will still have to deal with all the inconvenience and even pain because it was never dealt with properly to begin with. The good news is you can also start now to address painful things that have been holding you back for years and start to heal. It's hard but it will be worth it.

I'm so glad that you joined me today and hope you enjoyed and learned something today. If you liked this episode please leave me a review and hit that subscribe or follow button. I will be most grateful to you if you do.

And if you would like some help delving into some of those limiting beliefs please schedule a free call with me to see working together would be beneficial to you. Just visit my training page of at hopefulist.com/training.

Now go on out there and be badass. I'm still here cheering you on.

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