How To Use Journaling To Reduce Stress And Feel More Accomplished With Your Day
When I first graduated from college and was working in sales, one of the large challenges I faced was dealing with stress. No matter how great or productive of a day I had, I was always going to bed feeling stressed about all the tasks I needed to get done. One of the tips of advice I was lucky enough to get from a mentor of mine was to start journaling my accomplishments. Every night before going to bed, I started writing out 3 things I had accomplished. This helped me to start focusing on what I DID do rather than what I didn't!
By taking just a couple minutes to write out these accomplsihments I was able to help reduce my stress and improve my sleep! This small behavior is one of the habits that started my obsession with journaling and made me curious to learn how else I could use journaling to help my life in more ways.
After trying many different journaling strategies and spending 6 months interviewing successful individuals on some of their strategies, I found what I believe to be the 7 components of a great end of the day reflection!
1. End your day on a positive note
There is a lot of research behind positive affirmations and how they can help improve your mindset. When you first begin your end of the night reflection, take a quick, couple of seconds to write out one short positive sentence to describe the day. For example, "today was great!". Even if the day was miserable, by writing this sentence out, it will help put yourself into the mindset of focusing on the positive rather then the negative.
2. Focus on what you DID do rather than what you didn't
Write out your accomplishments... my favorite part! Try writing out at least three accomplishments. They do not have to be big accomplishments! If you put gas in your car today that is an accomplishment! Write it all out! For me, the more I write out the more satisfied I feel about my day. It is too easy to let yourself go to bed feeling like the day flew by without getting all that you wanted to get done. This small exercise will help you visually see everything you did!
3. Refect on the day's best moments
What were your top three, best moments of the day? What were some of those little events today that made you happy or excited? Writing these out will help you feel more positive about your day and grateful for the exciting moments you had. Also, it will be rewarding to look back on these memories later on in the future. Occasionally I will flip through my journal and read these "best moments" and it is crazy how quickly we forget small events that took place.
4. Write your new ideas
We learn new things and get new ideas every day! Keep track of them! You might not be able to act on every idea right away, (and some may be better than others,) but by writing them down you help your brain to remember them. This also helps to put you into the mindset of focusing on opportunities. When you take the time to write out your new ideas, you start to realize how many opportunities you may have!
5. Journal what's happening
If you are not in the habit of journaling, this part might be a little difficult at first. To start, try writing one sentence about the day. What are some of the challenges you are facing now? What are some of the emotions you are feeling? One of the most rewarding parts about journaling is being able to look back on it in the future. It is very helpful to look back on my previous journal entries and read about the challenging events and situations I have overcome. At the time, those situations seemed like they would never end or were impossible to overcome! Now, when I am faced with a difficult situation, it has become a habit of mine to journal about it because I know it will be rewarding to one day look back on that moment after I have overcome the challenege and see how I did it.
6. Track your progress and habits
One of my mentors has always told me, "your successful behaviors will lead to your successes," so how can you make sure you are doing the successful behaviors you need to be every day? By using a way to track your habits, you can make sure you are taking the "successful bahaviors" you need to be taking to get to your goals. It can be a way for you to hold yourself accountable and see what you are doing right and where you need to improve.
7. Focus on constant Improvement
Before going to bed, try asking yourself this quick question, "how will I improve tomorrow?" By focusing on improvement it will keep your mind searching for new ideas and ways to improve. It will encourage you to continue to grow and find ways to challenge yourself to the next level.
Let's get journaling!
These seven compenents are what make up the nightly guided reflection in the GoalCrazy Planner. However, it can all be done in a normal notebook too! So, there are NO EXCUSES! Research has shown how journaling and tracking your goals can help you achieve more and have a more positive attitude, so try it out! This process doesn't have to take long and can easily be done in 5 minutes or less. Is a happier and more productive life worth 5 minutes of your time to you?
If you need help getting started, check out the GoalCrazy 90 Day Guided Planner & Journal below!