If you are like me or any of the +7 billion people that live on Earth, chances are you’ve woken up on the wrong side of the bed, “snoozed” your alarm and shoved a pillow over your head for another five minutes of sweet sleep.
I tend to dread the day ahead, wishing I was free of all duties and had a hot date with the sun and the sand. Since that is rarely a possibility on the weekdays, I opted for a change in attitude and perspective. Our thoughts create our moods and emotions so it is essential to start your day off with positive thinking.
How did I do it? Here’s My Secret!
Let me start by saying I am not one to journal religiously. Sure, I’d kill for a fancy journal and a nice pen, but the habit of writing daily is just not for me (says the blogger). The Five-Minute Journal by Alex Ikonn and UJ Ramdas is an excellent option for those with commitment issues. After receiving the journal as a gift 30 days ago, this is what I’ve learned so far:
Positive Psychology Is A Thing
One of the main principles of The Five-Minute Journal is positive psychology and the effect of focusing on positive behavioral traits as opposed to depression, anxiety and perceptual disorders. The broaden-and-build theory by B.L. Frederickson elaborates on positive thoughts and emotions compounding overtime to produce increases in daily experiences of positive emotions, which, in turn, produces an increase in a wide range of personal resources including mindfulness, purpose in life, social support, and a decrease in illness symptoms.
After 30 days of starting my morning writing down what I am grateful for, I have found myself to consistently wake up in a more positive frame of mind.
Now, The Five-Minute Journal hasn’t relinquished all negative from my life. Instead, it has forced me to shift my thinking to count my blessings and focus on any of the positives in my life. For example, I may wake up one morning and be grateful for my cozy bed or for waking up before my alarm. Like my mother always said, it’s the little things that count.
Gratitude can change your life. It’s the experience of recognizing and counting your blessings and being thankful for the life that you live. Sure, it’s not easy, but there is always a light within your day. The Five-Minute Journal makes these valuable moments more apparent.
Journaling for Awareness
Every morning, you set an intention with three things that would make the day great. The caveat being that these things all have to be within your power. As much as I’d love to say a day with no upset clients or getting off work early would be great (believe me, it would), it is the power of focusing on specific actions that I can take that help to give me consistently better days.
After I write down these three things, I consciously make sure throughout my day that they are accomplished. I am actively engaging in activities I have determined would make my day great and therefore being more proactive at improving my wellbeing on a day-to-day basis. The past month of using The Five-Minute Journal has made me more productive and more appreciative of achieving smaller tasks.
It Calls For Reflection & Progression
Following the positive note from each morning, The Five-Minute Journal asks you each night: “What are 3 amazing things that happened today?” This process of reflecting on the day and making a checklist of all the positives in the day is a way for your brain to start getting in the habit of recognizing the amazing in life. Knowing that I’ll be taking inventory at the end of the day, my attention to activities and the joyful feelings that arise has become more instantaneous now. Within those instantaneous moments, I become gratuitous and elated in the present because I am giving my happiness recognition.
The conclusion of each day requires you to write down how you could have made the day better. What would you have done differently if you had a time machine? This could be changing an action, or reaction, to an event. This could be doing more or saying less. Whatever it is, I think of it as a way for me to start becoming aware of my f*** ups and using the past as a vessel to adjust my future. Once we start to understand negative habits or behaviors, we start to recognize and correct them so we can become the best possible versions of ourselves.
One of my favorite elements of The Five-Minute Journal is the daily quotes and challenges. Each day stores a new quote and new opportunity to be grateful and productive with your day; each week poses a small challenge that encourages you to take actions beyond your comfort zone. I’ll be sharing these quotes daily with an interpretation of how to put the inspiration into action.
The Five-Minute Journal is an incredibly small investment for a huge return on your well being and outlook on life. It inspires progression and the cognitive awareness gained by evaluating and thinking about your day gives you the ability to make tomorrow better. For only five minutes a day, I’d say this method is a steal. So what are you waiting for? Get yourself a journal and join me on the bright-side!