In my weekly feature called, “Mindful Monday,” I like to share my journey on the road to becoming more ‘mindful.’ This encompasses the act of being watchful, aware, wary, heedful, alert, careful, or attentive, in whatever area in my life I feel it applies to.
Welcome to Mindful Monday. I’m happy to see you.
Last week was my first opportunity toward regaining a more mindful attitude. You know how it is a common belief that if you surround yourself with positive people, you, in turn, become more confident yourself? It WORKS! I am happy to say that I had a much more productive week because “I CHOSE” to be positive and take control of my mental and physical health.
I journaled my food intake on an app called, My Fitness Pal (tracks calories), and I logged in my Weight Watchers Points Plus values in a notebook. It really helped to keep me in line, and I was consistent in logging in for the whole week. Being more mindful of what I was eating enabled me to lose 1.2 pounds this week. I didn’t suffer, and I even had some treats like pretzels and a Weight Watchers Angel Food Pumpkin muffin – twice!
Walking on the treadmill has helped to curb my appetite. I logged in 5 days out of the week for an average of 1.2 miles a day. I set up my laptop on the treadmill and walked at a rate of about 2.0 mph while answering emails and blog messages. I am convinced this keeps me off my butt and makes me healthier.
Thank you for all the follows and encouragement that you showed me last week upon the creation of this blog. Suzanne, from Art & Life, (click to visit her post) joined me on the mindful path with a post of her own. It was a thoughtful discussion on “Expressing Gratitude.” I think you will enjoy the read.
That’s what this week is going to be all about – Mindful Gratitude, and journaling. All too often, we ruminate in thoughts and conditions of our own making. All that brooding doesn’t change the facts of our situation. It makes it worse because we are concentrating (being mindful) on the negatives in the situation instead of the positive. We end up at war with ourselves, and that is not a winning proposition.
As women, we wear many hats – wife, mother, daughter, sister, friend, etc. We are the caretakers of our families. That sets us up to focus on everyone else, except us. Sometimes this attitude of not acknowledging our own issues allows us to ignore our own problems. We end up feeling like no one cares about us. In reality, we are doing a disservice against ourselves.
There is a way to break out of this situation. Start a gratitude practice. I use a notebook where I log in my daily food intake with enough room at the bottom of the page to write down the things I am thankful for that day. Showing feelings of gratitude are a way I have learned to cope with my emotional eating. Keeping track of what you eat is another way to feel in control. When I feel sorry for myself is when I overeat. Sad, but true. But, I have figured out a way to deal with this situation!
JOURNALING YOUR WAY INTO MINDFULNESS
Write a Letter Journal
One of my favorite ways to journal is to write letters that I never send. No, I am NOT totally bonkers yet, but hear me out. Anne Frank wrote letters to her imaginary friend. Biography.com has an excellent video that explains how Anne Frank started journaling. It is an amazing video, and I hope you will watch it!
The best part of a letter journal is that these messages never get sent. I love these types of journals because they are great stress relievers. You can pour out your soul and say what you think, and no one knows any better. Sometimes after I have it all written, I then reflect on the situation again. There have been times when I can change my perspective of a particular situation because I took the time to reexamine the facts. That is powerful!
When you write a letter (to yourself or whoever you want to write to) it becomes a useful tool in clearing your mind of your hopes, fears, dreams, and worries. I always feel better when I write something down. It is an act that frees up extra space in my brain so that I can put other things there, like memories that bring me joy.
Memory Journals to Remember the Good Things in Life
Another fun way to journal is to keep a journal of your most cherished memories. It could be the kind of memoir where you chronicle your child’s or grand child’s first years. That sort of journal could even be more accurate. I did a gardening journal with my grandchildren a couple of years ago. We wrote down all the seeds we planted and how well they performed. We kept track of all the perennial plants we bought and where we planted them around our house. I let the kids write things down so that I had their handwriting to look back on. We kept the plant tags from each new plant and taped them in our garden journal. That was one of the most cherished memories I have with my grandchildren. It was a really fun thing to do together.
Maybe you are more the artist type and prefer doodling or drawing as compared to writing in a journal. There is nothing wrong with that! The idea is to channel the thoughts and images out of your head to allow time for you to live in that one particular moment. There are no wrong ways or right ways when it comes to journaling.
Image Credit: Pixabay Free images
A Brainstorming or Stream of Consciousness Journal
This is another of my favorite kinds of journals. When I wrote my novel, The Heart Stone Chronicles, I wrote down ideas in my brainstorming notebook. Sometimes I would hear a phrase or idea from a television show, and I added it to my notebook for future use.
Sometimes it is how a particular phrase sounds, or how some song lyrics really touched a chord in my heart. It is the impromptu writing that spurs me on some days. This stream of consciousness writing helps me define my ideas. I always write down my plot ideas, no matter how silly or crazy they sound. I just let the words flow, and if they turn out to work for me, I use them.
At least once a week, I come in my creative room (where I do all my writing) and let my word-freak fly. I write for five minutes. Anything that comes to mind works for me. It is not always about my book. Some days my writing is about my feelings, or whatever it is at that time I feel compelled to write about. I came up with this journaling idea for Mindful Monday in one of my brainstorming sessions.
Journaling is GOOD for YOUR Health
I know that journaling is good for me. It certainly improves my mood and makes me feel less anxiety. Fast Company.com
in their post entitled, “Why Journaling is Good for Your Health, and 8 Tips to Get Better,” quotes:
“Dr. James Pennebaker, a psychologist and leading expert in the field of Expressive Writing—a type of journaling that usually involves exploring issues that can literally correct the course of your life—journaling strengthens immune cells called T-lymphocytes and has been shown to be associated with drops in depression, anxiety, and increases in positive mood, social engagement, and quality of close relationships.”
There is conclusive evidence that shows when you journal you are using the left side of your brain with the act of writing. It appears that it is not so much about processing your thoughts as it is in actually writing them down that brings about the desired results.
Writing engages the left side of our brain allowing the right side that governs creativity to light up with all kinds of creative ideas. This is why in creative writing classes your professors encouraged you to write the good old-fashioned way with a pen and paper.
Image credit: Pixabay free images
All of this writing in journals brings us right back to living in the moment. The act of concentration and channeling your thoughts from your brain on to paper allows you to see the beauty in that exact moment. By journaling the things you are grateful for, you will get a sense of peace in your heart. After all, that is the goal. Once you see all the things you have to be thankful for, the rest falls into line.
Please let me know how journaling works for you. Remember there is no right or wrong way to journal. It is all about what helps you to become more mindful of your own journey. I have to go now and write in my journal!
Remember, this is not a challenge. This is an offering of support. If you would like to join in with your own Mindful Monday goals, you can do so in the comments, or on a separate post of your own making. If you want to link back to my post, please feel free to do so, however, it is not necessary. My main aim here is to give and get support to become more mindful of the things I take for granted in my life.
What are your mindful goals for this week? Peace and joy to you all. ❤