One of the best ways to get in touch with what you are feeling and how you are present in the world that I know of is journaling. Many studies have shown that it helps people become more aware, helps their moods and increases productivity. There is a very detailed and well researched outline of the benefits of journaling at
So what goes in my journal? A lot of times I sit down to journal and just spill what I am feeling and thinking about on the page. And this can be revealing at times. I can’t quite do them as morning pages the way Julia Cameron does, but often I will find a pocket during the day where I can free write for 20 minutes. I have found though that if I do do them in the morning, or while I can’t sleep in the middle of the night, I write from a more subconscious level. This helps me realize things that I wouldn’t otherwise have written. I think because I don’t have the distraction of the day pulling me away yet. So why can’t I always do them in the morning -I dance and stay up too late. Getting enough sleep is my biggest challenge.
Recently I felt like I wasn’t keeping up with my journaling practice and I start feeling as if I can’t quite sort out my thoughts and feelings. When I was participating in the 7 day ProBlogger blogging challenge I was writing all the time and, as I was writing I would often journal in addition. But I have some quicky journaling techniques that I can fit in even if I don’t really feel I have the time to sit down and focus.
1. Gratitude list -I started writing down 3 things that are wonderful about my life and days right now. Simple things, big things and strange things. People in my life, my courage, the flexible schedule which allows me to go to the gym in the middle of the day, the fact that my knees didn’t hurt at the gym (because I have been doing my physical therapy), a great brunch spot on Saturday and the unexpected joy of having brunch with friends. I try to write these first thing in the morning and it sets the tone for my day.
2. Setting intentions -I set an intention as well as a focus at the beginning of the week. The intention is usually something personal, relating to a section of the wheel of life or one of my primary focus goals in my personal development. The focus is business or work related and helps me put together my game changer for the week and the actions that need to go with it.
3. Wooping – This is really positive thinking taken to another level. I know it seems like it will be similar to the sounds that my workout instructors encourage us to make to maximize our enjoyment out of the class, but it’s even better than that. I heard about it recently on Hidden Brain -a podcast put out by NPR. Here are the steps in this technique
- What is your wish? What would you like to have happen in this situation?
- Imagine the outcome.What is the most positive outcome? Fully imagine how you would feel if you were to achieve this outcome
- Identify the Obstacles – What internal obstacles would get in your way? Emotions, habits, thought patterns or limiting beliefs
- Make a plan to over come the obstacle.
In the end the entire thing is constructed in a phrase like this
I want _____________ because _____________ and I will feel ________________
When __________________ then I will ___________________
One of the key components of this exercise is really visualizing the outcome and and the obstacles.
There is more information at http://woopmylife.org/woop-1/
4. A win log -It is easy to focus on what did not get done at the end of the day, but ultimately I need to focus on what did get done and what was productive about the day. And this log is also useful for seeing where you are getting sidetracked. Being sidetracked doesn’t mean that I am not being productive. Checking on the asset allocations in my retirement accounts is useful and important. But it was not Urgent! In fact the benefit of writing down what you did that day helps you to identify if you are spending time on unimportant things. I like thinking about how my wins fit into a Franklin Covey time quadrant.
5. Capturing an exquisite moment from my day – This is just about making sure that I remember to spot the joyous and beautiful moments. Like watching a Friday night movie with my besties.