Right now, you’re probably feeling a little like a lot of us. Like you’re living groundhog day, same old stuff, just a different day of the week. You’ve become a robot, on autopilot for working, eating, sleeping and then repeating it all over again the next day. It’s no wonder that the monotony of life has got us feeling a little out-of-sync and lacklustre lately.
Which is why, during these moments of feeling a bit world-weary, it’s important to address any negativity by being self-aware and practising gratitude- which can actually help ease the negative thought process and reduce these unhelpful thinking patterns. Finding some gratitude every day will make you appreciate good experiences, deal better with change, relieve stress and boost your overall wellbeing.
We’ve all got access to a pen and paper (or likely a laptop or device if you’re reading this) so these journaling ideas are pretty straightforward and won’t take up much of your time. You don’t even have to be a writer or even have a love of writing. There’s no wrong or right way, your journal is for you and it’s your place to express your ideas and thoughts in an open conversation with yourself.
So here we go, five ideas to encourage some self-awareness and a little gratitude…
1. Document your dreams
Start your day by jotting down any dreams you may have had the night before. Think of it as a mental handover from subconscious you to conscious you. Documenting these dreams can offer a revealing insight into the subconscious mind and analysing them allows you to gain better self-knowledge.
You may or may not have a good recollection of your dreams, but by starting your day with a self-reflective exercise, keeps you focused and in tune with your thoughts before getting on with the chaos of the day ahead.
2. Let exercise inspire you
We all know physical activity can really improve our sense of wellbeing, but how can we utilise it that little bit more? Dr. Scott McGinnis, an instructor in neurology at Harvard Medical School says when it comes to exercise boosting your thinking skills, “There’s a lot of science behind this.” Not only does exercise benefit you to think more effectively, it also increases the ability for clarity, a brand new idea or a sudden realisation.
3. Write a daily bucket-list
Make sure to set aside some time before your day gets really hectic to write a list of three to six goals that you wish to achieve during the day. These must be reasonable to achieve and might include getting some fresh air, stretching every hour or not being hard on yourself if something doesn’t work out the way you planned. Think of it as your daily bucket list so that come the end of the day when you can tick it off your list (see my blog on my love of lists here) you will feel a sense of achievement knowing you acknowledged your priorities and the stuff that benefits you.
4. Check in then check out
At the end of the day, use your journal to sign off with your thoughts by putting them to bed shortly before you go to sleep. This way you’re less likely to be woken up in the middle of the night by a niggling thought you didn’t confront that day. Write down how you feel, what you achieved and at least three things that you were grateful for. This could be the bed you’re about to climb into, the stuff you ticked off your list or the great cup of coffee you had that afternoon. By writing down these positive thoughts helps to train your brain more positively and the more you do it, the more you reinforce the positive things in your life and ultimately the happier you become.
5. Look back on your journey of journaling
This is the really beautiful part and allows you to see an abundance of your perceptions over time. You’re able to see any patterns in how you think, indentify your triggers and how much you’ve progressed throughout your day-to-day life. By cross referencing you can see what causes you stress, what reduces it, where you get your creativity from and when you don’t.
A journal really is a love letter to yourself because all the heart and soul you pour into it will ultimately be the most powerful and precious gift you can give to the future you.
And that’s it. Writing for gratitude and self-awareness doesn’t have to be a chore, so don’t overdo it and run out of steam. You don’t have to write every day but try journaling at least three times a week. As humans we adjust to positive circumstances pretty fast and subsequently can soon become numb to them, so be sure to embrace these moments and get all you can from them.
Read my post on the 22 THINGS WE EASILY FORGET TO BE GRATEFUL FOR