Has your day-to-day lost its joy? Do the hours seem filled with monotonous routine? Now’s the time to start a daily mindfulness journal, and bring back the wonder! It’s simple and takes only ten minutes a day.
WHAT DOES IT MEAN TO BE MINDFUL?
Do you find yourself wolfing down food while on your smart phone? Or driving to the grocery store on autopilot, while your brain’s off solving the world’s problems? I relate to this too. This is mindless behavior, and it fans the flames of worry and anxiety.
Mindfulness is about paying attention in the simplest way possible. It’s about participating fully in the task at hand, and in so doing, infusing that task with meaning. You must learn to rediscover your five senses. And, if you’re someone who gets stuck in their head, this shift in focus will re-frame how you see the mundane (and give your brain the stress relief it was craving).
WHAT IS MINDFUL JOURNALING?
Mindfulness journaling is jotting down what your senses tell you. That’s it!
Remind yourself, throughout the day, to stop and notice what you hear, feel, taste, smell and see. If this is new for you, set an alarm to notify you several times every day. When you notice something in particular, right it down. And don’t make stuff up, either. There are no gold stars for finding something really cool to write for each and every sense. Sometimes you won’t smell anything. Or sometimes what you smell is icky! That’s okay too.
SOME EXCERPTS FROM MY MINDFULNESS JOURNAL
Taking a mindfulness walk is a great way to start reconnecting with your senses. Nature provides much richer opportunity for mindful awareness than a dreary office. To show you how easy this can be, here’s a window into my journal from yesterday:
- I notice the places on my feet that contact the earth when I’m walking. My entire sole doesn’t touch, but only certain points. I started paying attention to those areas on my feet.
- Slowly rubbing the pads of my fingers together. I wonder, can I actually feel the ridges of my fingerprints as they slide against each other?! Fingerprints are so tiny! But they’re there. I’m not sure if I can feel them or if I am imagining it! I bet I can feel them.
- Why is my upper lip the very first place I start to sweat? So funny! It tastes salty.
- Yum! I love my ice cream sandwich! This is so good. The chocolate cookie part and the vanilla ice cream go so well together. And it’s a bit soft too. The best combination!
- Phew! Just passed the thick overgrown empty lot. It smells like stinky standing water.
- My Burt’s Bees strawberry lip balm smells sweet and tart. So good! I love how smooth it feels on my lips.
- Those funny looking ducks with the red wrinkly faces always come running over when I walk by. The younger one is making the cutest squeaky toy noises. Seriously! She sounds like a rubber ducky muttering under her breath.
- It’s the golden hour – the time just prior to sunset, where the sunlight outside is quite literally golden. Everything looks prettier. The golden glow is falling on fat blades of grass, it’s making leaves glow from behind.
- Tadpoles! The little lake where we live has hundreds of little tadpoles! I know they are, because the frogs were mating a couple weeks ago, and now these little guys are wiggling around. They are kind of cute!
HOW TO START A DAILY MINDFULNESS JOURNAL — GRAB A PEN & PAPER!
Like I mentioned earlier, all you need is a piece of paper and a pen. Or, if you’d prefer, you can journal on your laptop. I prefer simple old-fashioned handwriting for two reasons.
- It removes the possibility of online distractions.
- It helps keep your mind sharp by improving motor-skills and memory.
And though any old loose leaf will do, I love a pretty notebook. It makes mindfulness journaling feel like more of an “occasion” – something I look forward to at the end of the day.
Your mindfulness journal can be lined, but without any extra clutter. You want the blank slate.
Two journals that I adore, and am using now are pictured below: Commit to the LORD Whatever You Do, and Hope in the Lord Always. Click their respective links to browse Amazon for these and similar journals.
And of course, a smooth silky-writing pen is an essential accompaniment to any cute journal, right? 😉 Well, no, but I like these pens so much that I can’t not mention them! Poppin pens are a little pricier than your average Bic, but it’s the little things in life, that bring me joy. If this resonates, and you find yourself seeking cute pens, Poppin has many colors to choose from.
YOU’RE NOW READY TO START A DAILY MINDFULNESS JOURNAL!
I like to text myself (do you ever do that?). It’s great for reminders, especially when I want to remember a fragrance, a texture, or an interesting flavor.
I don’t carry a journal with me, but it’s totally up to you however you go about it. At the end of the day I examine the texts from myself and then spend ten minutes writing those sensory experiences in my journal.
Or, you can journal as you go.
Keep at It
If you forget a day, don’t worry about it. The important thing is to keep that awareness.
If you finish a day with only one sense recorded, that’s okay too. The quality of your sensory experience is more important that the quantity.
You will notice, however, that as you practice this, your senses will become more refined. You’ll begin to observe interesting smells and sounds on a more regular basis. This awareness will draw you into the present moment — which is where the magic happens!
In This Moment
The ordinary becomes infused with meaning. You feel the cool water on your hands, hear it gurgle down the drain, feel the smooth skin of the tomato you’re washing, and smell that unique tomato vine scent.
This is life lived, dear reader. And you’re experiencing it fully. You’re not analyzing it, you’re living it.
WONDER BECOMES GRATITUDE
Once you’re experiencing these little glimmers of wonder throughout the day, gratitude will begin to bubble to the surface. Nurture the gratitude. As you begin to sense the significance of ordinary things, things you have taken for granted, the natural response is thanksgiving.
This practice of mindfulness journaling has a lot in common with counting of blessings, and giving thanks to God for the little things (which might not be so little after all).
I love hearing from my readers! Leave your questions and comments below, and I will always respond. Blessings to you, Ali 🙂