by Niña Terol, founder, Mindful Manila
Over a year into the pandemic, and many of us feel like we’re in the midst of a life reset. Millions of us have lost so much–loved ones, livelihoods, businesses, and so on–and most of the world is having to learn new ways of doing, working, and even living.
As the world slowly begins to open up again in 2021–thanks to the easing up of COVID-19 cases in many parts of the world and the move to vaccinate entire populations–we also seem to be in the midst of a Great Reset. We’re asking ourselves, how can we build a “better normal” for our families, our workplaces, our communities, and the world? While we miss a return to the “old normal”, we know for sure that things will never be the same. And they probably shouldn’t.
The pandemic also exposed critical gaps in the way we live and work, in the boundaries we erect around our work and home lives, and in many large-scale systems. How can we solve these critical problems before another pandemic or another global crisis hits us?
While we still have a long way to go before large, systemic changes can fully take root and take effect, we can already start making small but meaningful and high-impact changes in our own lives, our families, and homes, and even in our workplaces.
How journaling helps
On a basic level, and based on my own experience, journaling helps you stay focused on the present–enabling you to acknowledge and document where you are at any given point in time. Journaling shows you, “This is me at this point in time”, without any labels or any judgement. And “this point in time” is a data point–once you accumulate enough data points, you’ll be able to see patterns and trends in your own ways of thinking, processing, deciding, and acting that will help you see critical gaps that need to be addressed, areas in which you may need others’ help or advice, and opportunities for future action.
In my own life, journaling helped me see relational patterns that became damaging to me at a certain point in my life, and also showed me the areas where I could break those patterns and develop new and healthier patterns in both thought and behavior. It also showed me my many (successful) entrepreneurial and leadership streaks at various points in my life, that then gave me greater confidence to embark on my current path.
PositivePsychology.com lists 83 benefits of journaling “for depression, and anxiety, and stress”, and we’ll start here by sharing some excerpts that may help you get started.
Whatever event, habit, or disorder you are struggling to overcome, journaling can help you find healing.
If you are suffering in the aftermath of a traumatic event, journaling can help you find the good in life. It can even help you see the positive side of experiencing the trauma, which helps reduce the severe symptoms that can accompany trauma (Ullrich & Lutgendorf, 2002).
Whatever the specific impacts the COVID pandemic may have had on our individual lives, I believe that we all need some form of healing.
A simple framework for journaling
The Center for Journal Therapy website also shares this simple acronym and framework for journaling:
- W – What do you want to write about? Think about what is going on in your life, your current thoughts and feelings, what you’re striving towards or trying to avoid right now. Give it a name and put it all on paper.
- R – Review or reflect on it. Take a few moments to be still, calm your breath, and focus. A little mindfulness or meditation could help in this step. Try to start sentences with “I” statements like “I feel…”, “I want…”, and, “I think…” Also, try to keep them in the present tense, with sentence stems like “Today…”, “Right now…”, or “In this moment…”.
- I – Investigate your thoughts and feelings through your writing. Just keep going! If you feel you have run out of things to write or your mind starts to wander, take a moment to re-focus (another opportunity for mindfulness meditation!), read over what you have just written, and continue on.
- T – Time yourself to ensure that you write for at least 5 minutes (or whatever your current goal is). Write down your start time and the projected end time based on your goal at the top of your page. Set a timer or alarm to go off when the time period you have set is up.
- E – Exit strategically and with introspection. Read what you have written and take a moment to reflect on it. Sum up your takeaway in one or two sentences, starting with statements like “As I read this, I notice…”, “I’m aware of…”, or “I feel…” If you have any action items or steps you would like to take next, write them down now (Adams, n.d.).
A Mindful Manila giveaway to help you get started
We’re running this simple giveaway to support YOU as well as our friends at Crazy About Paper, who have supported many of us in our own planning and journaling journeys.
Here’s how it works:
- Like the Mindful Manila Facebook page and Instagram accounts
- Share a short, public post about how you think journaling will help you achieve your own goals
- Remember to tag Mindful Manila (@_mindfulmanila) and Crazy About Paper (@crazyaboutpaperstore) in your post
- Tag other friends whom you think should also join this contest!
- You have until Saturday, June 5, to post your entries
- The best post (judged by our friends at Crazy About Paper) will win one (1) Reflect On Your Journey Kit, shipping included
- True to our name, we’ll prioritize our community members from the Greater Metro Manila area as potential winners of the contest
What the Reflect On Your Journey Kit contains:
- The Spark Your Journal Prompts Digital Kit
- Two (2) Limited Belle De Jour Anniversary Notebooks
- One (1) Kaco Pen
Of course, if you want to buy your own sets and give them away to friends, you can do so, too! Check out the Spark Your Magic collection here and use the PROMO CODE CAPxDAR to enjoy 5% off your purchases.
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At an unprecedented time like this, let journaling help you process your journey–and let US be there for you as well. Feel free to share this blog post as well as the contest, and we look forward to hearing about your journaling journeys on Mindful Manila!