15 Benefits of Keeping a Mindfulness Journal (& How To Start)

Mindfulness is an act of being aware. If you can be aware of your environment and things in your life, then having a mindfulness journal will do good for your mental health. Mindfulness also allows you to evaluate your present moment.

There are different techniques to practice mindfulness, and journaling is at the top of the list. Journaling is a recommended way to manage your mental health.

Mindfulness journaling helps you process and identify actions around your emotions. It helps you understand your feelings better.

Why Keep a Mindfulness Journal?

Research has shown that journaling is an effective way to reduce stress[1] and is associated with improved well-being for people with anxiety and depression.[2] It is affordable, and all it requires is a writing prompt and a journal.

You can decide to have a digital or physical journal. The “notes” app on your phone is an excellent place to start. However, I still recommend having a physical journal as it is therapeutic and gives you time away from technology.

15 Benefits of Keeping a Mindfulness Journal

Here are the benefits of keeping a mindfulness journal and some sample prompts to help get you started.

1. You Become More Self-Aware

Mindful journaling helps you become self-aware. You understand yourself better as an individual.

We often judge our personality based on the people around us or our space. Mindful journaling makes you conscious of your environment, body, health, and lifestyle.

One example of a prompt for self-awareness is this: What makes me feel calm?

When you answer this question in your journal, whenever you feel anxious or nervous, it becomes easier to handle. Thanks to keeping a mindfulness journal, you know what makes you calm, and this can be applied to other life situations to promote self-awareness.

2. It Helps You Be in the Present

Have you always wanted to be in the present moment? Being present means being mindful and aware of what’s happening in a particular moment.

Through mindful journaling, you won’t have to worry about past events. There is no fear of what will happen in the future because your focus is on your present day, and this thought can help you better deal with depression, anxiety, or any unwanted feelings.

If you can be in the present and write about your emotions, you are one step closer to tackling that problem.

3. It Helps You Stay Focused

Mindful journaling allows you to stay focused. When you list your goals in life and give a timeline to them, they become easier to achieve.

You can also add affirmations to these goals while recording your gratitude for every step you take towards achieving these goals.

4. You Become More Positive

If you always speak negatively to yourself or situations around you, a mindfulness journal can help you stay positive.

Negative thoughts lead to low self-worth. If you constantly use negative words about yourself, you release anxiety-induced hormones in the body.[3] The easiest way to let go of negative thoughts is by writing them in your journal.

You have to remind yourself that these thoughts do not control you. Strike out the negative thoughts, list positive words and thoughts, and stay focused on the positive.

5. You Become More Grateful

How often do you practice gratitude? What are the things you are most thankful for in life?

A prompt for gratitude could be: What good thing happened to me this morning?

Keeping a mindfulness journal makes you aware of these things. Show gratitude by writing two or three things you’re thankful for every morning or night. During the day, reflect on the activities or events you are most grateful for.

6. It Helps You Know Yourself

Mindfulness journaling will help you discover thought and behavior patterns in your life. As you read through your journal, you will notice the choices you’ve made and the results from these patterns.

If there is something you need to change, then it’s time for self-reflection.

7. You Become More Intentional

Mindful journaling makes you more intentional about your life. It allows space for personal growth and self-direction.

8. It Helps You Express Freely

You get to express yourself freely in your journal. It’s where you practice honesty and learn new habits or break out from old ones.

You can make a list of realistic expectations. When you write them down, with every achievement, tick it on the journal. It makes things easier because there is no external pressure.

Your goals become more achievable when listed in a mindfulness journal and makes you kinder to yourself.

9. It Declutters Your Mind

When you declutter your space, you feel better. Mindfulness journaling is a form of mental decluttering. It positively impacts your mental health and allows you to free up your mind.

With a clear mind, you see a new perspective on life. It will allow you to visualize a different life and offer the clarity you need on specific issues.

10. It Boosts Your Mental Health

Mindful journaling has health benefits. It can help reduce your cortisol level, which is responsible for stress in the body.[4]

While writing in your journal, you release endorphins, reduce anxiety, and positively boost your mental health.[5]

11. It Enhances Your Emotional Health

Mindfulness journaling enhances your emotional health and allows you to become a more peaceful person. Journaling is an innovative tool for improving your emotional intelligence (EQ). The more you write, the easier it is to navigate your emotions.[6]

It also works like magic on the brain. It allows you to cope with negative emotions and make better emotional decisions.

12. It’s a Good Mood Booster

Mindful journaling is the perfect mood booster. It helps you handle your fears and concerns while recognizing what triggers you.

Imagine being able to recognize what ticks your mood off? It becomes easier to manage, leaving you in a better mood.

13. It Helps You Be in Control

Mindful journaling helps you be in control. It makes you feel and become more powerful.

Having clarity on issues in your life is the first step to being in control. The best way to gain control of ourselves is by increasing our self-awareness through writing our thoughts while being mindful.

14. It Helps You Overcome Mental Problems

Therapists recommend mindful journaling because it helps you overcome mental health difficulties. If you’re suffering the effects of traumas and need a place to relieve your emotions without being vulnerable to anyone, your journal is your best bet. It also helps recover from addiction and other mental health issues like obsessive thinking.[7]

It also helps recover from addiction and other mental health issues like obsessive thinking.[8]

15. It Improves Your Memory

Mindfulness journaling helps you put scenes in place. If you have recently had a happy memory and worry it will fade, write about it in your journal. This way, you will be able to re-read it and feel better.

Sample Prompts for Your Mindfulness Journal

If you are ready to begin your journey with mindfulness journaling, here are some prompts.

Remember to allow yourself to be vulnerable. Open your mind, and hold nothing back. Effective journaling is an excellent way to manage stress and be more mindful of life.[9]

  • What was the highlight of my day or week?
  • What do I procrastinate about?
  • What urges have I given in to today?
  • What made me feel more productive today?
  • What is responsible for my anxiety this minute?

Final Thoughts

Your journaling time should also be a quiet time. It’s okay to have a space where you practice mindful journaling. Also, encourage children and teenagers to practice mindful journaling as this can help make them become more emotionally intelligent.

It is best to practice mindfulness journaling first thing in the morning or night. It allows you more time to reflect on your life. Write every day. It could be in the morning or at night, but make sure you never skip a day of journaling.

Featured photo credit: Ketut Subiyanto via pexels.com

Reference

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Suffering from Parental Guilt? 8 Tips On How To Overcome It

Parental guilt is real, and it happens to all of us for different reasons. As humans, it’s normal for us to experience emotions. But sometimes, stress can get the best of us, making us say or do things to our children that we often regret later.

Guilt is a negative emotion that we all want to release whenever possible, and we always want to be aware of it whenever we are carrying it unnecessarily.

It’s normal to feel guilty whenever we did something that we regret. It proves that we love and are committed to our children. However, too much guilt is detrimental to our well-being and our relationship with our children.[1]

7 Signs that You’re Suffering From Parental Guilt

Is the guilt you’re feeling toward your child normal? Or is it unnecessary parental guilt?

Here are seven signs that you might be suffering from parental guilt.

1. Feeling Guilty After Disciplining Your Child

Most of us feel frustrated and angry when our children do something that makes us think, “They should have known better.” While it may be true, kids lack the same reasoning skills as adults due to their stage of brain development.[2]

That’s why they need us, parents, to step in to provide guidance.

If you ended up yelling or felt your reaction went farther than what you intended, try the One-Ask parenting approach. The consequence can match whatever your parenting style may be.

Natural consequences work with this method, too! A natural consequence is anything that happens as a result of a behavior or choice without adult interference.

2. Not Disciplining Your Child

Perhaps you didn’t feel like you gave your child enough time, attention, or explained expectations. Afterward, you’re left wondering if you just reinforced undesirable behaviors by looking the other way and you feel guilty for not reacting. Notice a pattern here?

We feel guilty no matter what because it is human nature to second guess ourselves, and it takes a great deal of awareness to notice it and let it go. If this occurs, try sitting down with your child at bedtime or another quiet time.

Bring the event or behavior up, talk about why it was not appropriate, and help them come up with a more appropriate behavior next time. If you see that same behavior happen again, you can address it on the spot.

3. Not Following Through With Discipline

You started to discipline or allow them to experience a consequence, but they managed to talk, cry, or puppy-dog-look their way out of it and you feel guilty for being the “bad guy.” You may find the consequence you gave was more trouble for you than it was worth, didn’t match the crime, or didn’t have the energy to follow through.

I am non-confrontational even with my kids. Sometimes, it has served me well, while other times, I have had to practice standing my ground.

I read parenting books on fair discipline that resonated with me and practiced my response to familiar occurrences in my head so I felt prepared, confident, and ready to stand my ground when the time came.

4. Not Requiring Contributions Around the House

There are mixed feelings about allowances and chores that are rewarded.

Some parents feel having a child earn an allowance for contributions around the house is a fair and appropriate way for them to learn responsibility and earn money before they are old enough for a job outside the home. Other parents feel household contributions shouldn’t be rewarded as they are a part of being a family where everyone does their part.

No matter what your stance is here, kids benefit from having responsibilities around the house, so let go of the guilt when you hold them accountable.[3]

Yes, it can be easier to just do it yourself, but consider what your child is missing out on. Contributing around the house builds confidence and gives kids a sense of belonging and responsibility and that they are a valuable part of the family.

If your kids are young, have them match and put away socks and underwear, rinse dishes, or put away silverware. Picking up their toys is another easy way they can contribute while learning to respect their belongings.

Whether you choose to attach a monetary reward to contributions is up to you, but it’s worthwhile to think of ways all children can contribute.

5. Making Excuses or Being Embarrassed for a Child’s Behavior

“They’re tired.” “They didn’t know.” “It wasn’t their fault.”

While any of these may be true, chances are if you do a gut check, you may be feeling guilty for your child’s actions. It’s not fair to you to feel guilty for someone else’s actions—even for a child that may or may not have known better.

If there is an excuse, what changes can be made to address the cause of the behavior? Whether it is an earlier bedtime, a sit-down talk, or consequences, let go of any guilt and look at it as an opportunity to help your child learn and grow.

6. Stretching Yourself Beyond Your Means

While it feels good to give our kids clothes, toys, and experiences that make their eyes glitter with delight, remember that it’s the time we spend together that matters and will help them develop into awesome human beings capable of changing the world, not what we give them.

It teaches them the value of money and decision-making when they can’t have everything.

I have a daughter who is turning six this month and has asked for several things for her birthday. We had her make a list and circle the top three, reminding her to consider what she will get the most use out of and that while birthday gifts are fun, it’s our celebration together that matters. Even at that age, they can reflect on what holds the most meaning,

7. Feeling Guilty for Working

Most working parents feel a twinge of guilt when they are not able to volunteer at school or can’t play with their children when working from home. Remember, you are doing what is needed to support the family and there are benefits for children of working mothers, too.

It is important to spend dedicated time with your children, helping them feel safe, valued, and seen. But it’s okay if it can’t be the entire day.

It’s also okay to have your own time (and to enjoy it) and help children learn responsibility, respect for others’ time, and self-reliance.

8 Simple Tips to Overcome Parenting Guilt

Now that you’re aware of the signs of parental guilt, here are eight tips on how to overcome it.

1. Lower Your Stress Level or Find Stress Relief Activities

This may involve setting time aside for yourself, which may cause more guilt initially. Remind yourself you will be more calm, centered, and happier when you fill your own bucket.

There is a reason why parents are told to put on their oxygen masks on a plane before helping their children! Kids need to see parents taking care of themselves to help them understand they are part of a unit with all parts being equally important. This helps avoid the dreaded—but common—entitlement syndrome.

It also helps us get out of the survival mode that triggers overreactions and anger. Whether your preferred self-care involves yoga, meditation, exercise, time with friends, or reading a good book, take time for yourself. You deserve it and everyone will be better off.

2. Set Clear Rules For Working Time

Have you noticed that when your attention is focused on trying to send that email for work, everyone seems louder and gets on your nerves more?

Our brain can only stretch in so many directions at once, which is why we often have a hard time concentrating on parenting and work at the same time. It is only a matter of time before we snap—and here comes the guilt!

If you can’t separate work and family (as many of us can’t), try setting clear rules for your working time. Whether it is volume control, how and when you are available, or a process to support independent problem solving, notice what your triggers are and problem solve with your family.

With everyone being home more often, this one has been a big focus for us and takes constant planning and effort.

3. Learn Different Parenting Styles

Spend some time researching parenting and discipline styles that feel fair and appropriate to you. Most books and websites offer concrete examples and implementations so you can feel more prepared and in control of your reactions.

4. Show Genuine Support to Your Child (Even in Divorce)

It is common for parents to want to be the preferred parent after a divorce, but what kids need is reliability, stability, and for parents to take an active interest in what they care about. Support them in their interests and hobbies, and let them teach you about them.

You can show them your unconditional love and set appropriate and fair expectations and boundaries.

Breaking the bank on an epic trip to Disney or Paris might win points temporarily, but it’s the ongoing interest that will build a strong relationship. As a child of divorced parents, I saw clearly when my parents were acting out of guilt rather than genuine interest or love.

5. Set Aside a One-on-One Time With Your Child

Set up one-on-one time with your child and focus fully on them. Be clear with the activity or time frame, so your child has appropriate expectations.

While we may want to spend all day with them, we often can’t. So, it helps to give them specified start and end times and, in the end, express how much you enjoyed your time together and set up your next activity so it becomes a routine.

6. Tell Them Honestly How You Feel

Say you are sorry, and tell and show your child you love them always no matter what, especially after they mess up. This is important but also more difficult than it sounds.

We serve as role models for our children, so acknowledging our own imperfections and how we process, move on, and admit our mistakes are necessary.

We may tell our kids frequently that we love them, but they need to hear it most when they make a mistake. When you get upset the next time, try saying out loud what you are doing to process your emotions.

For example, I tell my kids I am feeling overwhelmed and need a few minutes to myself. I also thank them for respecting that so I can feel better and be the best “me.”

Your version may be different, but consider a quick “reset” practice during times of stress so you can move on.

7. Practice Self-Compassion

As parents, we are compassion experts for children. Forgive yourself as you forgive your kids, be open to your own growth as you support your child’s growth, and love yourself with that same unconditional love as you do your children.

Try closing your eyes, feel the love in your heart for your children, and imagine wrapping yourself in that love.

8. Assert Your Role as a Parent

Accept your role as a parent, not necessarily a best friend. Do what you know is best for your child, even if they don’t like it. They will thank you later.

Final Thoughts

What is the consequence of not releasing feelings of guilt? The joy of parenting goes unrealized and can become another burden to bear.

Parenting is often described as the most difficult job in the world. It is also an opportunity to experience the most profound love in the universe and expose yourself to experiences that will allow you to grow and evolve.

Our children are here to teach us just as much as we are here to teach them. What are some moments you have felt guilty as a parent? What is it telling you? Listen, respond, plan, and let go.

Featured photo credit: Xavier Mouton Photographie via unsplash.com

Reference

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25 Interesting Historical Photos – Part 342

Here are this week’s interesting historical photos. For part 341, click here. 1. On 12 November 1928, the Banana Massacre occurred in Santa Marta, Colombia. Approximately 2,000 workers of the United Fruit Company were killed while demanding decent working conditions. 2. War criminal Erna Petri is booked after being exposed. During the war, Erna, a…

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