Lately I have been really into journaling. Not so much, "Dear, journal...today I did this, that, and this." My journal is more about self-care routines, what I think about future goals for myself and how I think I can attain them, what I'm grateful for, stress management, and just other random feelings/circumstances/and so on. In this blog, I wanted to share what I've found helpful in coping with stress and just daily life things that sometimes can get in my way. (My journal pictured above!)
The first thing I wrote about in my journal was actually something from a book I was reading, 'The Complete Idiot's Guide to Buddhism' by Gary Gach. In the book I saw this really interesting looking set of lines and thought to turn it into a journal exercise:
Am I suffering? What's the situation? (Be brief)
What keeps me from being happy? What am I attached to about my suffering?
How do I identify myself with it? Is it real? Does it have a life of its own? Is is physically present here and now? Is it in my mind? Is it permanent?
What if I let got of my attachment to all in the situation that's not immediately present, and the self-image I identify with that situation? Then would I be happy?
How can I cultivate a better way of living that doesn't let me fall into the same patterns I fell into over again?
Here's a picture of my journal entry:
I've made journal entries using the same exercise and every single time, the answer to, "Is your suffering permanent?" has been 'No.' Try it! Don't worry about being precise in your writing or having to impress anyone or yourself with the answers. Just write whatever pops into your mind at the time. Then, Once you're finished, read over your answers and reflect :)
Some other journal exercises I have done are:
- Write three things that made you happy today (do this before bed and reflect)
- Self-care assessment tool, found here: Take it now!
- Mandala; gratitude mandala (seen to the right)
- Writing down random feelings or thoughts that come into my mind
- Journaling about meditation
Finally, and I just did this exercise today, is drawing a picture of how I feel when I am stressed. Then, I wrote down things that make me stressed out. After reflecting on my picture, I think my next journal exercise would be to draw how I feel when I am happy/optimistic...then write down things that make me feel that way. I will post when I do that one!
For now, I leave you with my awesome (and by awesome, I mean bad) drawing. I hope this has given some new ideas to you out there who journal!