Why Keep a Journal?

Do you journal? This is one that I resisted for a long time. Once I started seeing benefits for myself, I started implementing it with some of my patients to rave reviews. If you’re a skeptic like I was, worry that the effort isn’t worth the time, or just need a little nudge to get started, here are some of the myriad benefits:

  • Stress relief : See here and here
  • Improved memory: Journaling can boost memory and comprehension, as well as working  memory capacity, which may reflect improved cognitive processing. Source
  • Clarifies goals and courses of action to achieve them: “Journaling about your goals helps you clarify what you want and encourages you to consider the why and how, not just the what.” Source
  • Promotes creativity
  • Encourages a sense of gratitude
  • And many more!

Here’s a quick journaling exercise as a place to start. I strongly recommend pen & paper over a computer, tablet or smartphone.

Mindset Matters

The key to  making positive changes and staying motivated is to get crystal clear on what you want and why you want it.

The more powerful your why, the easier to work toward the what.

5 Ways to Stay Mindful:

Be Present – do one thing at a time.  If you’re working out, don’t worry about what’s for dinner…stay focused on the task at hand.

Reframe how you view exercise.  It is a privilege to be able to exercise, not a punishment.  Don’t take for granted the ability to move your body.

Focus on the positives. Be proud of and celebrate every change or bit of progress.

Record. Keep a log of your workouts, meals, how you’re feeling. The act of writing down what you did, good or not-so-good, forces you to reflect on how you feel about what you did.

Know your triggers. Be aware of experiences that can trigger a negative reaction – and have alternate intentional actions ready to replace them.  If you reward yourself after a stressful task at work with a trip to the communal candy dish, have a sparkling water while you go for a quick walk outside instead. If you head straight for the pantry & eat chips out of the bag as soon as you get home, immediately change clothes & take the dog for a walk while you have a glass of lemon water.

And as with everything – work for progress, not perfection – it takes time to change your mindset, but you’ll find that it is more than worth the effort!