There’s a lot to be said for mindfulness. Being aware of your thoughts and focused on what’s happening in your life at that one moment in time has a way of reducing stress and making things clearer. What you’ll find is that many times, your mind is not focusing on what it should be – the here and now.
A good example of this is if you are walking through a quiet forest, but you are thinking about work, then as far as your body is concerned you may as well be at work. Mindfulness can be used to make yourself more aware of where you are and to focus on what’s around you. That might mean feeling the breeze on your skin, hearing the birds or insects around you, looking at the beautiful flowers and smelling the fresh air. When you do all that, you will benefit much more from your outing.
Simply put, mindfulness has the potential to transform your life. It can help you become more productive, more content, and less stressed.
One way to practice mindfulness is through journaling. When you are journaling you are focused on your thoughts and getting them down on paper. All you need to get started is your favourite notebook and pen.
Here are seven tips you can use for journaling more mindfully
Use all of your senses
Since mindfulness is all about paying attention to what’s happening around you, it makes sense when you’re journaling about your experiences to put all of your senses into it.
You could write about something you saw, something you heard, something you tasted or smelled, or something you felt. Recall the experience and describe as many sensory details as you can.
Sometimes we don’t really feel like writing in our journals. You can practice mindful journaling in other ways too.
For example you could draw what you are feeling. Or you could include photos, write poetry, or make lists. Not everything in your journal has to be a traditional entry.
This is your space, so be creative and do what feels right to you.
When you’re practicing mindfulness, gratitude plays a huge role. Both mindfulness and gratitude practices are all about slowing down and appreciating what you have in the moment.
Always make room in your mindfulness journal to include space for writing what you’re grateful for. It’s just one more step in noticing what you have and what’s important to you.
Ditch perfectionist tendencies
Perfectionism has no place in your journal. It’s all about you and your feelings, so there is no right or wrong way to go about it.
After all, no one else is going to read this unless you choose to share it. So if you make a spelling mistake, or your handwriting is messy it doesn’t really matter. It’s all you and it’s all real, and that’s the way it should be.
Reflect on your memories
Reflecting on a memory can be a good exercise in mindfulness. Pick a memory and try writing down all the sensory details you can remember about it - for instance, the way the sun felt on your skin during your vacation last year.
If you have lingering emotions surrounding the memory, explore those in your journal too. You can do this exercise with big memories, but reflecting on your small memories can be valuable as well.
Pay attention to your self-talk
A really good example of being UNmindful is in your self-talk. Do you even notice the dialogue that goes on inside your head?
Many people don’t, and as a consequence negative self-talk is a huge problem for many people. (But don’t get me started on that today!)
Negative self-talk, like "I'll never get this right," can cripple your self-esteem and make you less productive, even if you're not aware you're doing it. On the other hand, positive self-talk - such as "I work really hard" - can help you feel more confident and get more done over the course of a day.
A mindfulness journal is an excellent place to start paying attention to your self-talk. Writing down your inner dialogue will help you see where you are helping yourself, and more importantly, where you are hurting yourself with your words.
Make Journaling Part of Your Routine
As with any other healthy habit, you'll get more out of journaling for mindfulness takes practice. Set aside a regular time every day sit with yourself and write in your mindfulness journal.
Journaling is a simple, accessible way to get in touch with yourself and live in the present moment. Creating a mindfulness journal can help you boost your mood and improve your productivity. It can also work well as a tool for stress relief if you let it.
The tips shared here can help you get started journaling for mindfulness today.