A long time ago people used to write things down… on paper.
I know that I am not one to talk, as I am currently typing this on my laptop, but I really do see value in therapeutic journaling. Whether it is simply writing down two or three lines regarding what you are grateful for, the highlight of your day, or something you are looking forward to, journaling provides the opportunity to start or end your day on a more positive and reflective note.
Our mind can easily become cluttered with worries or negative thoughts. Capturing these thoughts can also be helpful. Looking down on our worries and negative thoughts in a more concrete form can sometimes help build space between yourself and the transient thoughts that can emerge. Looking down on these thoughts with curiosity and questioning their veracity can sometimes lead us to recognize that they are indeed fleeting and, in many cases, not necessarily accurate. Often, examining your inner thoughts on paper can help you to realize how silly they are, which, in turn, may make them easier to let go of.
If you really are not a paper and pen type of person, you may appreciate some of the gratitude applications that have emerged over the last few years. Grateful (iOS/Apple) is an excellent application for gratitude journaling, while our Android readers may enjoy Gratitude (iOS/Apple & Android) are two popular options. Grateful prompts you daily to input a response to various prompts that it randomly selects for you so you are not responding to the same question each day. You can also change the prompt to fit the mood of your day if there is something in particular you want to reflect on. What I like about this app is that you always have it with you, even if you are on vacation or at work, and that you have the option to attach a photo to your gratitude. It gives you the space to write just one sentence, but the option to write a full paragraph if desired.
What is so interesting about gratitude journaling is how quickly one can see results. While most of us have pretty fixed ways of thinking, it does not take much to provide your brain an alternative option for examining the world. Journaling can be an excellent way to challenge your moment to moment thoughts, but also provide an alternative pathway towards grateful interpretation of our lives, whether it be the little things or bigger events we can focus on in a different way.
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Image: journaling by Lindsay McCurdy. See side panel for further copyright information.
Jessica is a member of the clinical wellness and learning support team at FLEX Psychology. Jessica started Wellness Wednesday out of a desire to provide further opportunities for her clients to extend their wellness journey to all avenues of their life. You can learn more about Jessica by clicking here or by learning more about her and the clinical team at FLEX Psychology by clicking here.
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