Journaling is something that I hugely advocate for positive mental health and for an effective form of self-care. It can be a very therapeutic process.
There are so many different forms of journaling to suit your style or what you want to get out of the process. So trialling eye-opening and you could really find a style that you really enjoy.
For the longest time I have always kept a diary even when I was young. It is good to be able to look back on positive times or show what you have overcome.
Gratitude is something that is super important to practise and have in your life. It allows you to focus on the good things whether it is something big or small. However, not everything is a bed of roses a 100% of the time – and that is absolutely okay! It is vital that you recognise that not everything is great all of the time, so if you are more of a pessimist, allow me to introduce you to ingratitude journaling. As this may be the go-to style for you.
It is so important that you acknowledge the harder and difficult times as well as the enjoyable times. If you don’t listen to those hard times and keep those thoughts and feelings bottled up, it is a fact that it can be harmful to your health and nervous system. It can come out in your bodies like: tension headaches or anxious and butterfly stomach. You should never put on a brave face to stay positive, you should be authentic and not practise that toxic positivity behaviours.
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Emotions are about our minds and our bodies communicating something that is either right or wrong. Those feelings can give you guidance, peace or warning you of something that doesn’t level with your core values. Some emotions may be uncomfortable but learn to sit with them and reflect on why you are feeling that way. Ingratitude journaling can be a great opportunity to practise self-discovery and develop your self-awareness.
Here is how ingratitude journaling works:
Find yourself a quiet and comfortable space where you can fully immerse yourself in the process.
Pick a journal or a notebook that you love and grab a pen. You should journal with handwritten notes as apposed to typing your thoughts. By handwriting in your journal allows your thoughts to slowed down to the pace of the pen gliding the paper. This can have a real calming influence.
Write down a list of all your concerns, things that have wrong, what situations that have left you disappointed, when you have felt cheated, upset or even hard done by. Even if you feel they are small or petty thoughts, write them down and acknowledge that they caused you to feel a negative way.
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Read and reflect on your list of situations and experiences you have written. Then separate each of your situations into two lists, one being what you can control and the second being what you cannot control.
This step is all about reflection You can think about tangible changes that you can make to those situations and feelings you have control over.
The whole ingratitude process is not about being super negative it is about balance. It gives you the chance to be honest about your feelings to improve your mental health development.
Using this journaling style is about being truly honest with yourself about your feelings ands emotions. It is not you being negative or selfish, you are just being more self-aware. This type of journaling will give you direction and give you the opportunity to focus on things you can change.
You are able to explore who you are and have a deeper understanding of your behaviours. You will learn to find a way to live with things that you have no control over.
Here are some prompts for both sides of your list:
For the list of things you can control:
- What is your motivator for making those changes?
- Are you wanting to make the changes for yourself or others?
- In years from now, do you think you would regret not making those changes?
- How are you going to make the changes?
For the list of things you cannot control:
- What is stopping you from moving on from those feelings or situations?
- What can you do to allow yourself to heal or grieve what you have lost?
- This process of working through this may require some extra support from your loved ones.
- What do you think is stopping you from letting go of those emotions?
It definitely isn’t the go-to journal practice, but it can be quite soothing for your soul to release those negative and restricting emotions.
Have you ever tried ingratitude journaling before? Is this a style of journaling you would be open to trying? I’d love to hear in the comments.