Do you ever find yourself feeling like you don’t understand your own motives or choices? If you feel this way, you can learn why you do the things you do.
Life can be a whirlwind at times. Maybe you’ve just been too busy lately to spend time thinking about your priorities and goals.
One method to increase self-understanding is journaling your thoughts and feelings.
The idea of keeping a journal may sound strange to you; you might not think of yourself as a writer. Even non-writers keep journals, though. When you open yourself to journaling, you experience a new wealth of self-understanding.
Writing bits and pieces of your life experiences can be an incredible journey. Once you start thinking about something that happened to you in the past, you’ll find yourself remembering another story, then another.
Once you start making an effort to recall experiences from your past, you’ll trigger memories you haven’t thought about in years.
All of the experiences you’ll recall have combined to make you the person you are. To sort back through some of your life stories will help you understand yourself so much more.
Follow these steps to get started:
1. Decide how you’ll write your story.
Will you use a spiral notebook and a pen? A computer is the obvious choice if you’re comfortable with it.
2. Don’t worry about starting at the beginning.
Interestingly, a lot of people avoid trying to write down stories of their lives because they “can’t remember back that far.” Where you start the story isn’t important. Starting it is.
3. Think of your life as a series of short chapters.
To simplify your story, each situation you recall can be a “chapter.” For example, you might remember the time your Uncle Al took you fishing and the canoe tipped over. Go directly to your computer, open up a blank document and start typing.
4. Focus on getting the story down.
Things like sentence structure, spelling, grammar, and the like aren’t all that important for now, unless you plan to publish your journal. You can deal with all those things later by going back through and editing the material.
5. The order of your stories is irrelevant.
There are two suggested ways to do your stories on the computer:
- Open a new document for each “chapter” and title the document to describe the story.
- Or simply write all your stories in one document. Open that document when you feel like writing a story, and separate the stories by using chapter headings.
- If you feel the need later on, you can copy and paste the stories into whatever order you like.
6. Document what you remember.
Get down information about what happened, what you did, what you thought, and how you felt. These details will ultimately lead you to develop a better understanding of how you’ve lived your life as an adult.
Writing your life story is not all that difficult. If you follow some of these journaling methods and keep your focus off of the end result, you’ll find yourself recalling more and more parts of your life. Plus, you’ll learn to understand and even love yourself more than you ever have!
Start now to journal some of the stories from your life. Soon after, you’ll be glad you did!
I would love to give you a free resource sheet to support your quest for a healthy mindset. Click the button below to receive your gift.
I really wanted to talk about this topic today because I wanted to share some lifestyle-based strategies to improve your overall mindset and mental health, which in turn improves your life. You must do the internal work to improve your overall health. You can do this by learning what motivates you and working each day on improving your mindset. Your thoughts control your feelings, which controls your behavior. You can cultivate certain behaviors and practices that will not only enrich your life, but that you can pass on to your family, friends, and community, so that you can leave a legacy of health to your loved ones.
If you are familiar with my approach, I use lifestyle medicine as the first line of treatment, before medications, to treat lifestyle-related chronic diseases. Lifestyle-related chronic diseases include diabetes, hypertension, obesity, some cancers, just to name a few. Lifestyle modifications, such as stress reduction and mindfulness exercises, can help you feel better about yourself and your life. In certain cases, these approaches may even outperform pharmaceutical therapy. But I always tell my patients that conventional medications may be appropriate at this time to prevent catastrophic illness, but over time, you can work to make the necessary lifestyle changes to possibly reduce and/or eliminate medications. Please remember to always consult your physician for your particular needs and circumstances prior to making any decisions whatsoever.
Tools For Motivation And Mindset
Although you don’t need a cushion to meditate, you may want to consider using one at some point. You could meditate in a chair, or simply sit on the floor if you want. You can also use pillows or cushions from your furnishings to try out. Cushion, chair, bench, floor – it’s all good. Eventually, though, if you’re not sitting upright on a chair, you’ll probably do well to buy a dedicated meditation cushion. The cushion will support your sitting posture and help you create an appealing mindfulness corner that will encourage you to practice every day. I recommend this meditation cushion and mat bundle.
If you struggle with stress, depression, or anxiety, keeping a journal can be a great idea. Even if you don’t have these conditions, journaling can enhance your life in many ways. Having difficulty processing your thoughts and emotions? Journaling can help clear that mental clutter and move towards a positive mindset. Research suggests that keeping a journal can have positive impacts on both mental and physical health. So, to start you on your journey, I recommend this self care journal.
Remember, living a healthy lifestyle including eating a whole foods plant-based diet, regular physical activity, meditation and mindfulness, as well as healthy and supportive relationships are the best ways to support mental health. Please talk with your doctor about any complementary health approaches, including supplements, you use. Let me know what you think in the comment section below.
PS. I am always asked what tools and resources I recommend to help you reach YOUR health goals. Here is the ever-growing, always updated list for you.
PPS. If you or someone you know is experiencing severe stress, anxiety, depression and/or other mental health issues, please contact SAMHSA’s National Helpline, 1-800-662-HELP (4357), (also known as the Treatment Referral Routing Service) or TTY: 1-800-487-4889. This is a confidential, free, 24-hour-a-day, 365-day-a-year, information service, in English and Spanish, for individuals and family members facing mental and/or substance use disorders. This service provides referrals to local treatment facilities, support groups, and community-based organizations. Callers can also order free publications and other information.
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