How journaling and meditation keep you sane

by Saree Jitta

When I said the word “journaling” people think of a princess diary, some sort of teen girls writing about her crush love story. In fact, it is a form of self-expression that can lift and empower people to understand they’re complex feelings and find humour with it. I never thought I could write, I mean I can write, but not like a blogger or like a writer. Then I’ve started writing a 5 minutes journal from Tim Ferris (recommended if you’re new to journaling) for over the past 3 years and it’s changed my life.

Let me give you a quick intro about what the 5 minutes journal look like. You start with;

I am grateful for…

Write down 3 things that you’re grateful for in your life. Believe it or not when I first started writing this, I couldn’t think of one thing I am grateful for in my life. It took me a while to be able to think of what I’m grateful for. Most people might think of a big thing to be grateful for, but it could be as small as a smell of a coffee in the morning, or when you wake up today, you’re still breathing. Because there’re many people out there that have to sleep on a street with no clean food or water, even the roof over their head, or dying people in a hospital. Trust me there’re people out there who’s fighting to be where you’re right now. Working on your gratitude will help you look at life in another perspective and being grateful for what you have in your life right now.

What would make today great?

Write down 3 things that you want it to happen or could be any tasks that you want to get it done. Again, it doesn’t have to be big, it could as small as I’m not going to put any sugar in my coffee today, I’m just going to smile at my colleague. You want to set the tone of your day, what you want your day look like.

Daily affirmations, I am…

Writing in a present moment as if it’s already happened. For example, I am exercising every Monday, Wednesday and Friday. Or I am peaceful and grounded. When you say the word “I am” out loud every day, eventually it’ll get into your subconscious mind which is more powerful than our conscious mind. What you’re repeating to yourself every single day, eventually it’ll become automatic and it’ll happen.

3 amazing things that happened today…

Write down 3 things that you’re proud of or achieved. For example, I didn’t put sugar in my coffee today. Next week you’ll be more confidence to do a bigger task. Or I got a new project because I had the guts to talk to my boss. You need to be able to celebrate your small wins. The more you do that, the more you strengthen your brave muscle.

How could I have made today even better?

Your day isn’t going to be perfect every day, that’s life. What matters is you’ve done your best and you can try again next day. Don’t beat yourself up if things don’t go your way, ask yourself what have I missed here? How can I make it better tomorrow? It could be I’m going to add more veggies in my diet, or I’m going to watch my tones when I speak to my partner.

Whether you’re keeping a journal or writing as a meditation, it’s the same thing. What’s important is you’re having a relationship with your mind.  – Natalie Goldberg

Journaling is another way of express your feelings. We’re all have feelings and emotions as human beings. Emotions; E = Energy in motion. It’s ok to have anger, fear or sadness. You just have to find a place to dump those emotions instead of bomb it at your partner or people around you. Try not to suppress it either, it’s not healthy, eventually it’s going to explode! Journaling allows me to express my feelings and emotions in a healthier way.

However, if you’re not good at writing, why not try meditation? 

I’ve started to meditate since I was little. I’m so grateful that I’ve been raised in a family who’s shown me how to quiet my mind by meditation practice. There’re many different ways to meditate. Sometimes I just do breathing meditation, if I just want to be calm or being in a present moment. If I’m seeking for the answer, or I might do visualisation meditation.

Today I’ll show you a simple and easy technique to kick start on your meditation.

  1. Choose your mantra. A mantra is a word or phrase that you silently repeat to yourself during meditation. The purpose of the mantra is to give you something to put your attention on other than your thoughts. I like to use the words “Breathe in” when I inhale through my nose, feel my tummy swollen. “Breathe out” exhale through my nose, feel my tummy flatten. 
  2. Find a comfortable place to sit. It’s best to find a quiet location where you won’t be disturbed.
  3. Gently close your eyes and begin by taking some deep breath. Try taking a few “cleansing breaths” by inhaling slowly through your nose and then exhaling out through your mouth. After a few cleansing breaths, continue breathing at a normal relaxed pace through your nose with your lips gently closed.
  4. Begin repeating your mantra silently to yourself without moving your tongue or lips. Focus on your breath.
  5. Do not try to stop your thoughts or empty your mind. As a human being we have millions of thought all day long, running around nonstop. It’s what we called “The monkey mind” it’s normal for our mind to wander. Don’t give your energy to the thoughts, simply bring your awareness back to your breathing.

If you’re new to meditation try 5 minutes first. It’s like you’re training your muscles in the gym, it takes time, same thing as training you mind. But the more you practice the more you get better at it. My favourite free app to help you start your journey on meditation: Insight Timer. Headspace.

“For him who has conquered the mind, the mind is the best friends; but for the one who has failed to do so, his mind will remain the greatest enemy.”

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