New Year, New Habits: Journaling
Welcome to my 2022 New Year, New Habits Series!
Next up is Journaling. Through journaling I have not only found ways to quickly and effectively calm my mind and reduce my anxiety but I have also discovered where some of my fears and insecurities come from. Journaling has helped me immensely when it comes to not only identifying these things but also healing them internally in my mind and heart.
Journaling can be characterized as an umbrella category with additional activities and exercises within it. The types of journaling you utilize would be dependent on your needs and what works best for you. I like to start almost every day by journaling a list of things I am grateful for and positive affirmations. This has proven to be a great way for me to start my day because it grounds me in positive thought and it helps me to set intentions for the type of person I am going to show up as throughout the day.
There are other journaling prompts and exercises I do use on occasion when I need them, but they are less of everyday practices:
Write a letter to yourself. This is a great one if you are on a health and wellness journey, in school, on a long trip or just want to be able to reflect back at your past self. Some things to ask yourself and consider in this letter;
What is working in my life now that I want to keep?
What isn’t working in my life now that I hope to change?
Where would I like to see myself in a month? 3 months? 6 months? A year? 5 years? And so on.
Who is someone that has been a great friend and confidant that I hope I can foster a good friendship with? Why?
What scares me right now that I hope I can begin to overcome?
What excites me now?
What am I looking forward to?
Write a letter to someone who has wronged you. This is a great exercise if you feel hurt, betrayed or even just flat out annoyed and want to get it out on paper without fueling the fire. Maybe you just want to sort out your thoughts before you confront that person. Here are some things to ask yourself in this letter;
How do I feel right now?
What did this person do that brought on these feelings?
When in my past has something similar happened? Who was involved then? How did it make me feel?
Are these feelings fleeting or permanent?
Do these feelings serve me?
Rewriting Negative and/or False Beliefs. This is one of my favorite exercises and is great for anxiety. Personally I like to use it when my hypochondria is flaring up because it helps me sort through what beliefs are false versus true.
Step 1: List out 5-10 negative and/or false beliefs you have. For me this might be something like, “I have a headache so I must have brain cancer.”
Step 2: Focus on the first belief, cross it out then write a new, accurate belief. Referencing my step 1 example, mine might be, “I’m a little dehydrated, that’s why I have a headache.”
Step 3: Repeat step 2 for the remainder of the list.