Meditation is turning off society and listening to yourself. It only “works” when done for its own sake.
Hiking is walking meditation.
Journaling is writing meditation.
Praying is gratitude meditation.
Showering is accidental meditation.
James Pennebaker, a professor at the University of Texas, has run many studies over the years and found that people who wrote about emotionally charged experiences in their lives for three days a week, 20 minutes at a time, experienced a noticeable improvement in their physical and mental well-being. And the benefits - which included lower blood pressure, fewer visits to the doctor, better relationships, improved memory and more success at work - were sustained even in the months after the writing sessions had ended.
There was another study done on engineers working at a company in Dallas that was downsizing. The engineers who wrote about their experience and emotions were three times more likely to have been redeployed compared with those who wrote about time management or didn't write at all.
But sometimes, you sit down to write at the end of the day and life seems mundane. I've been at home all day today, and haven't had any major argument with anyone - what on earth do I write about?
One technique that works well for me is to just start with an empty page and just let the thoughts flow. There are usually a few thoughts that you are only semi-conscious of at any given moment, and starting the process of writing often triggers a chain that allows you to take time and think about these thoughts. But if this doesn't work for you, you can consider using prompts. Here are some possible prompts below:
What do I appreciate most in my life right now?
When am I at my best?
What do I really need right now?
If I had no fear, what would I do?
What do I know to be true that I didn’t know a year ago?
What does my dream life look like?
What would I say if I could go back in time and speak to a younger version of myself?
Reviewing what you have written is as important as the act of writing itself because it builds your self-awareness. Reading your previous entries can helo you spot the recurring thoughts and patterns in your life. What do you care about most? What do you keep worrying about even when you know you shouldn't?
You can journal using a paper diary, or somewhere online like https://penzu.com/. With an online diary, you have all entries in one place and don't have to worry about buying a new diary every year and storing them all. However, the act of writing with a pen and paper often helps to put people at ease, and get them in the flow, so each to their own. It's not important where you write, just that you do!
Inspired by: The Mindful Day - Laurie j. Cameron