About four years ago I decided that it was time to start a daily journaling habit. I was trying out so many different journals and in the end, the gratitude journal became my tool of choice. I was sold by the Five-minute journal after hearing and reading so many good things about it online.
I remembered that it took some time - probably a couple of weeks - for journaling to be a consistent habit of mine. When I first started journaling, I wrote only when I felt like it, or when I remembered to do so. But after awhile, a daily routine crystallised and I slowly began to notice how the journal had paved the way for small (yet impactful) changes in my life, everyday.
Looking back to a few years ago when I had just finished postgrad, to tell you the truth, I wasn't the best version of myself. I didn't have a clear vision of what I wanted to do with my life, what my goals were, and where I wanted to be. This made me very easily anxious and I was stressing out over the smallest of things. Because of this, I wasn't able to settle down, and I used traveling as an excuse to find my happiness... I just didn't feel complete.
It didn't occur to me then that inner peace and happiness wasn't something I could just look around for, but rather, it was something that I had in me the whole time, waiting for me to allow it to come out. In other words, I was too distracted with so many other things that I didn't let myself just be happy.
So when I started logging in my gratitude journal, it helped me in a way that I was able to sit myself down and reflect, really reflect. It made focus on what I have, instead of what I don't have and be thankful for them. The Five-minute journal is very straightforward, it doesn't require you to write a whole bunch of things and it only takes a couple of minutes of your time.
First thing in the morning it asks me to write down three things I'm grateful for, and it can be anything at all. Starting the day with gratitude is simply life changing to say the least. It wasn't something I use to think about that much before.
Gratitude really helps you align, and in a way slows down your passage of time. You will immediately be brought to the present time and as you write down the things you're grateful for everyday, somehow someway, you will feel emotionally calmer and happier knowing that you have so much around you. Little things such as a breath of fresh air, or knowing that you have so much food in the kitchen, knowing that you have a roof over your head, I mean, just thinking about all that you have brings a lot of needed positivity in your life.
For me, it invited a sense of calm, knowing that I am immensely blessed with so much. It was a habit, a practice, that I didn't know I needed (badly) at that time. Whenever something goes south, the only thing I could think about was that things can be so much worse, and that I would still have soo much. I stopped stressing, I started focusing on the more important bits, and a lot of things started making more sense to me.
The affirmation bit in the journal where it asks "What's your affirmation for the day?" that's something I love too. Everyday up until today my husband and I would share our affirmations and just start the day with a high vibe. It really encourages your mind to think of only the best things that you would want to be for the day - for yourself and for the people around you.
I would set my alarm for 9am to write in the morning, and another one for 9pm as I get ready for bed. Recently, I got myself the app version of the Five-minute journal. Two things that I love about the app is that it is wayyy cheaper than the hardcopy, and while I love putting pen to paper, I have to admit that having everything on my phone makes journaling a lot more convenient. I can add fun pictures, log my entries in bed, in the car, or even when I’m eating.
It's crazy how simple the journal is, but with the ability to help you reconnect with your inner self, encourages you to allocate a few minutes in your day for self-reflection, to give thanks, and well.. prepare you for a great day ahead.
I absolutely love it.
Are you in the habit of journaling? What are the things you love about it?