Make Journaling A Habit

Make Journaling A Habit

Why You Should Journal Daily

Introduction

In today’s fast-paced world, where we are constantly bombarded with information and distractions, it can be challenging to take a moment to reflect on our lives. Journaling is a powerful tool that can help us slow down and process our thoughts and emotions. In this article, we’ll explore the benefits of journaling and why you should make it a part of your daily routine.

What is Journaling?

Before we dive into the benefits of journaling, let’s define what it is. Journaling is the act of recording your thoughts, feelings, and experiences in a notebook or digital format. It can take many forms, including daily reflections, gratitude lists, and goal setting. The key is to make it a regular practice and commit to doing it consistently.

Benefits of Journaling

  1. Reduces Stress and Anxiety – Journaling has been shown to be an effective way to reduce stress and anxiety. By putting your thoughts and worries on paper, you can gain clarity and perspective. This can help you process difficult emotions and feel more in control.

  2. Improves Mental Health – Regular journaling can also improve your overall mental health. It can help you identify negative thought patterns and work through them. Additionally, journaling has been shown to boost mood and increase feelings of well-being.

  3. Increases Self-Awareness – Journaling is an excellent tool for self-reflection and self-discovery. By recording your thoughts and experiences, you can gain insight into your behavior and emotions. This can help you make positive changes in your life and develop greater self-awareness.

  4. Enhances Creativity – Journaling can also boost your creativity. By regularly engaging in the act of writing, you can train your brain to think more creatively. Additionally, journaling can help you generate new ideas and insights.

  5. Improves Memory – Finally, journaling can also improve your memory. Writing down your experiences and thoughts can help you remember them more clearly. This can be especially helpful for processing and remembering important events in your life.

How to Start Journaling

If you’re new to journaling, it can be intimidating to know where to start. Here are some tips to help you get started:

  1. Choose a Format: Decide whether you want to journal in a physical notebook or using a digital platform. There are many apps and websites available that can make digital journaling easy and convenient.

  2. Set a Schedule: Decide when you will journal and how often. Aim to make it a daily practice, even if it’s just for a few minutes each day.

  3. Keep it Simple: Don’t put too much pressure on yourself to write a certain amount or to create a perfect piece of writing. The goal is to simply record your thoughts and feelings.

  4. Focus on the Positive: Consider starting each entry with a list of things you’re grateful for or a positive affirmation. This can help set the tone for a productive and uplifting journaling session.

  5. Finish with a Takeaway – Not that kind of takeaway! When you journal, try to finish by connecting with something you have learned from the experience you are journaling about, or a takeaway that has come from writing in your journal.

Using prompts

A lot of journals these days come with prompts in them, and I think this is a fantastic idea, especially if you are new to journaling or need some structure. If you idon’thave a journal with prompts, then try using some of these or create your own:

  1. What are three things that you are grateful for today, and why?
  2. Describe a moment when you felt truly happy, and what made you feel that way.
  3. Write about a challenge you are currently facing, and brainstorm some potential solutions.
  4. What are some things you have learned recently that you find interesting or useful?
  5. Write about a person who has had a significant impact on your life, and why they are important to you.
  6. Describe your ideal day, from start to finish.
  7. What are some goals you have for the next month, and how do you plan to achieve them?
  8. Write a letter to your younger self, giving advice or encouragement.
  9. What is something you have been putting off that you know you need to do? Write about why you have been avoiding it, and what steps you can take to start tackling it.
  10. Reflect on a recent mistake you made, and what you learned from it.

I hope these prompts help inspire your journaling!

Conclusion

Journaling is a powerful tool that can help you reduce stress, improve your mental health, increase self-awareness, enhance creativity, and improve memory. By making it a daily practice, you can reap the many benefits of this simple yet effective tool.

RESOURCES

You might also be interested in downloading a copy of my 98-page Self-Care Journal for Women. It’s a fabulous way to start a journalling habit focused on self-care, which is so important for so many women in this world.

FAQs

  1. Can journaling be done on a computer? Yes, journaling can be done on a computer or other digital device.

  2. Is it necessary to write in a journal every day? While it’s not necessary to write in a journal every day, doing so can be beneficial for establishing a routine and making it a habit.

  3. Can journaling be therapeutic? Yes, journaling can be a therapeutic practice that can help you process difficult emotions and experiences.

  4. Are there different types of journaling? Yes, you can create a Gratitude Journal, or a Daily Goals Journal, or even a Today’s Learning’s Journal. You can also just write about your experiences including your inner thoughts and feelings. 

  5. Can men do journaling? Of course, silly!

 If you have any questions, please feel free to email me or book in a session in person or by phone/video.

Michelle xx

Befriend Your Stress

Befriend Your Stress

Most Stress Is Optional

It’s hard to admit this, and you may not believe it, but for most of my life I have allowed stress to get to me. I blame my Scottish ancestry! And my perfectionism didn’t help matters. In my work role, I was always pretty chill, but in other parts of my life, especially relationships, stress would sometimes take over, and I would get angry and upset and overwhelmed.

I hated getting stressed, but I honestly thought that it was just a part of life. A normal reaction to stressful events. I didn’t realise how much I could do to reduce my stress response. Things started to change when I started to really understand what stress is, how it impacts the body, understand my own stress triggers and learn ways to manage my reactions. I’m happy to report that over the last decade I’ve gotten a lot better at managing my stress. And now I truly believe, most stress is optional. 

In fact, I wrote a more detailed article about dealing with stress which you can read here: Befriending Stress. Some of the research I wrote about in that article was informed by a book called The Upside of Stress written by Kelly McGonigal. You can watch a short video of her speaking about Making Stress Your Friend hereI also found this 30-min video really fun & helpful: How To Deal With Stress & Anxiety – by Srikumar Rao.

My Year Without Stress

Inspired by my research into stress, I set myself a challenge at the beginning of 2020 – before Covid was even a thing – that I was going to try and have a “stress-free” year.  Of course, I knew that stressful events would still happen. And I knew that my body would initiate the stress response when stressful stuff happened. But basically I wanted to see if I could get really fast at recognising when the stress response was activated in my body and immediately make a mindset shift to embrace whatever was coming at me in that moment.

Basically, I wanted to see if mindfulness and emotional acceptance could transform stress, overwhelm and frustration. 

Well, the Universe sure served up a great year to run this experiment!! It was a hectic, challenging and change-filled year… and Covid was only a part of it. There was plenty of moments where I felt the stress-response kick-in. But armed with my new approach, I was, for the most part, able to re-centre myself and move through the stressful situation without feeling “stressed” or too bothered by it.

Mentally, the mindset shift was something like this: “…okay, here’s a stressful situation, I might not like this, but this is what’s happening right now, just breathe, accept things as they are, and use your brain to figure out a way to handle it…” Of course, I can easily call to mind a number of times where my old familiar stress reaction took a hold of me, and I became frustrated, upset or overwhelmed (like when I was prepping to move, packing, cleaning, and working full-time across 3 different locations).

But that’s okay, I wasn’t expecting perfection. I just wanted to see improvement. And overall, setting this intention to “not allow stress to take over”, made a huge difference to what could have been a massively stressful year.

I found myself able to handle situations that previously I would have allowed myself to get stressed in. I found myself approaching situations, looking out for triggers, anticipating the physical changes of the stress response, and being prepared to calmly handle whatever came my way. I had the attitude of “let’s work with our stress, rather than letting stress take over”.

This showed me that it is possible to manage our stress differently. Like anything else, it is a skill we can develop, with the right knowledge, training and lots of practice.

If stress is something that is affecting your quality of life, then check out the videos and articles I have recommended, and always know that you can come in for a chat with a specific focus on your stress triggers and better ways to manage them. Follow my lead and change your mindset about stress, and learn everything you can to learn to handle yourself better when stressful stuff happens.

Michelle xx

Anger As Ally: Harnessing the Power of Your Emotions

Anger As Ally: Harnessing the Power of Your Emotions

Anger is often seen as a negative emotion that needs to be suppressed or avoided at all costs. But what if I told you that anger can actually be a powerful ally in your life? That anger is necessary, important and constructive? It may sound surprising, but learning to harness the energy of your anger can help you in your personal and professional relationships, and even improve your overall wellbeing. Let’s explore the nature of anger and how you can turn it into an ally.

 

Your Relationship With Anger

Before we dive into the benefits of anger, let’s take a moment to reflect on your personal relationship with this emotion. Do you love it or hate it? Do you find yourself losing control or struggling with irritability? Many people feel guilty or ashamed about their anger, but it’s important to remember that it is a natural and acceptable human emotion.

 

The Function of Anger

All emotions have a function, and they are all designed to move the human being in particular ways. Without emotions we wouldn’t be inspired to do much. The function of anger is to help us respond with strength when we are being attacked, accused, disrespected or ignored. Anger is there to help us speak up, stand up and set boundaries. Anger gives us feelings of power, control, confidence, focus and independence. Without some healthy anger, we might become a doormat whom others mistreat or we may lack the drive to make things happen.

 

The Difference Between Violence and Anger

One of the biggest misconceptions about anger is that it always leads to violence or aggression. While it’s true that poorly managed anger can be destructive, it’s important to distinguish between the feeling of anger and violent behaviour. Anger can be felt without turning to violence, however it takes presence, focus and practice – especially if your anger has been untamed for many years. Women are just as capable of expressing anger as men, although they often express it through communication and relationship rather than physical violence. But anger itself is not inherently negative. It is our expression of anger that determines its impact. Our feelings are not always a choice – but our actions most certainly can be controlled.

 

Anger as an Energy

If anger were a force of nature it would be just like fire. Fire can be a powerful and destructive force, it can burn down villages and destroy lives, when out of control and unchecked, but fire can also be harnessed and contained for positive outcomes, like cooking food and keeping us warm. Similarly, anger can be a friend or a foe, depending on how we choose to utilise its energy. When we understand the nature of our emotions, we can learn to channel them in productive ways.

 

The Dangers of Suppressed Anger

Many people are taught to suppress their anger, but this can actually be counterproductive. The natural way of all emotions is to appear, express themselves and then move on. Emotions that are pushed down will inevitably find a way to resurface, and with anger that can often happen in explosive or passive-aggressive ways – just like a ball that’s pushed under water – it will eventually explode up and out. Learning to acknowledge, accept and be mindful of your anger in the present moment can prevent these outbursts and help you avoid damaging your relationships.

 

Harnessing The Power of Anger

So how can you turn your anger into an ally? The first step is to learn to recognise and acknowledge your anger when it arises. Instead of pushing it down or allowing it to take over, try to channel its energy into productive action. This might involve expressing your feelings in a healthy way, setting boundaries, or taking constructive steps to address the source of your anger.

 

Techniques to manage anger include:

  • Recognise your anger: Become familiar with your anger and what triggers it.
  • Breathe and take a moment: Pause for a moment to breathe and calm down before choosing how to respond to feelings of anger.
  • Express your anger appropriately: Use “I” statements to express your feelings and avoid blaming others.
  • Use humour: Humour can be a great tool to diffuse anger.
  • Release the energy first: Scream into a pillow, write an angry email (that you don’t send), do some push-ups or star jumps. You’ll find it easier to manage anger effectively when the physical energy has been released constructively.
  • Seek professional help: If you find that you cannot manage your anger on your own, seek professional help.

Conclusion

Anger is a perfectly natural and acceptable human emotion that can be harnessed for positive outcomes. By learning to recognise, accept and channel your anger, you can avoid damaging your relationships and improve your overall wellbeing. Don’t be afraid of your emotions – embrace them and use them to your advantage.

If you need help managing your frustration and anger, or you struggle to constructively utilise your anger to set boundaries, be assertive, and voice your needs or wants, please connect with me to arrange an appointment.

Warmest wishes,

Michelle

Understanding Depression: Symptoms and Seeking Help

Understanding Depression: Symptoms and Seeking Help

Depression is a widespread mental health disorder that affects millions of people globally. It can make everyday activities feel challenging and drain one’s energy, making it challenging to carry out daily tasks and engage in meaningful activities. Recognising the symptoms of depression is the first step towards seeking help and getting the necessary treatment. In this article, we’ll discuss some of the common symptoms of depression and why it’s essential to seek professional help.

 

Persistent Feelings of Sadness or Emptiness

One of the most common symptoms of depression is persistent feelings of sadness or emptiness. This feeling can make individuals feel hopeless, helpless, and worthless, making it difficult to find joy in activities they once enjoyed. It can also cause them to withdraw from social activities and loved ones, leading to feelings of isolation and loneliness.

 

Changes in Appetite or Weight

Depression can cause changes in appetite, resulting in either weight gain or weight loss. Some people may lose interest in food and experience a decrease in appetite, while others may turn to food for comfort and experience an increase in appetite. Changes in eating habits can also impact one’s overall health and well-being.

 

Sleep Disturbances

Depression can cause sleep disturbances, such as insomnia or oversleeping. Insomnia can make it difficult to fall asleep or stay asleep, while oversleeping can lead to feelings of exhaustion and fatigue. Sleep is essential for both physical and mental health, and a lack of it can worsen the symptoms of depression.

 

Loss of Interest in Activities

People with depression may lose interest in activities they once enjoyed, such as hobbies or spending time with loved ones. They may also feel a lack of motivation or energy to carry out day-to-day tasks. Losing interest in activities can make depression worse and lead to feelings of boredom and isolation.

 

Physical Symptoms

Depression can cause physical symptoms such as headaches, stomach problems, and muscle aches. These physical symptoms may be a result of the body’s response to stress and anxiety. Physical symptoms can make it difficult to manage day-to-day activities, making depression more challenging to cope with.

 

Thoughts of Self-harm or Suicide

In some cases, depression can lead to thoughts of self-harm or suicide. It’s essential to seek help immediately if you or someone you know is experiencing thoughts of self-harm or suicide. There are resources available to help those experiencing these feelings, and seeking professional help can be life-saving.

 

Seeking Help for Depression

It’s essential to remember that everyone experiences depression differently, and not all symptoms may be present in every case. However, if you or someone you know is experiencing several of these symptoms for an extended period, it’s important to seek help from a mental health professional. Depression is treatable, and with the right support, people can lead fulfilling lives. Mental health professionals can offer various treatment options, including therapy and medication, to help manage and overcome depression.

In conclusion, depression is a common mental health disorder that can significantly impact one’s quality of life. Recognising the symptoms of depression is crucial for seeking help and getting the necessary treatment. If you or someone you know is experiencing symptoms of depression, seek help from a mental health professional. Remember, depression is treatable, and with the right support, people can lead rich, full and meaningful lives.

If you need support for any of the above symptoms or if you have been diagnosed with depression and would like support, please connect with me to arrange an appointment.

Warmest wishes,

Michelle