Start a Journal For 2017

Why You Should Start Keeping a Journal

The world just lost a great woman at the end of 2016, Carrie Fisher. What was not lost, though, were the journal reflections that she kept during her life, especially the journal that she kept while filming Star Wars as Princess Leia. This she made into a best-selling book, The Princess Diarist.
Other ‘greats’, from Richard Franklin to Winston Churchill, many of history’s greatest achievers have kept a journal or diary at some point in their lives.
Journaling is not what made these great figures what they were. Nor am I saying that journaling alone will be enough to make you ‘great’ or write a best-selling autobiography or fiction novel. But what I am saying is that these folks are onto something with the idea of keeping a journal. In actuality, there are a ton of very valuable benefits to journaling that make it worth your consideration. Here are just some of them…

It’s a Record

When you write a journal, it means you have a record of everything you’ve done. This record becomes something you can look back over in order to learn important lessons and to put your life in perspective.
It can sometimes be a great feeling looking back and seeing all the exciting things you’ve done. But if that’s not the experience you get from your journal then perhaps it can highlight that something needs to change. Either way, this lets you honestly appraise your life.
Just imagine being able to read this in 20 years – there will be so much detail that you would otherwise have forgotten! This is a way to immortalize yourself and to hold tighter onto those memories.
What’s more, this journal is a record for others and means that they can potentially learn from your experiences. It’s a legacy for your loved ones to know you better, even when you may no longer be here.

It’s Meditative

Most of us spend our day using technology, working on things that make us stressed and otherwise staying wired and on the go. Writing a journal at the end of the day with pen and paper is a kinesthetic experience–an excellent alternative to those tech activities. The act of writing is almost meditative in its ability to encourage focus. It’s quiet, it doesn’t involve a glaring screen and it’s a great way to unwind before bed.

It Can be a Powerful Tool

You can also use a journal as a tool. Write about your day, including what you ate and how you felt physically after eating. This might help you pinpoint a food sensitivity, too. Or journal about what you dreamed as soon as you wake up in the morning and reflect on what this dream might be teaching you.
Make a note of each day you worked out or jot down each time you performed some act that you are trying to make into a habit. You can even just make a note of your mood. This lets you assess your performance in any goal at a glance and also to get some useful contextual data that might help you to find correlations in your routine and the way you feel/act. While you’re at it, jot down the 3 things that you’re grateful for each day. The practice of gratitude is the most effective means to increase your over-all life satisfaction.
So pick up a notebook, marble composition book, or blank bound journal book, grab some pens and start creating the habit of keeping your thoughts and actions in a journal. It’s a great habit to cultivate.
And if you would like to download and print out a gratitude journal to use as your journal, go here and add your name and email address and you will be able to download your own gratitude journal. Leave me a comment below and let me know how you plan to journal for 2017.

Save

It’s Time To Get Honest

honestycompressed

 

Overwhelm Happens To Us All

It’s safe to say that every person in the world knows what it’s like to be overwhelmed at one point or another. Some people live lives where overwhelm seems to be the norm. Maybe that can be chalked up to being busier than ever as a society in general. Or it could be chalked up to personal habits that continue to lead to chaos and overwhelm. It can also be about repeatedly saying YES to something or someone when you really want to say NO to that request.

But regardless of the reason, when overwhelm hits, your stress levels rise and your body reacts with the same hormones that you get when you experience the stressful “fight or flight” feeling.

Living in that overwhelm state isn’t optimal. It leads you towards that downward spiral into chronic health conditions and moves the needle away from your wellness and more towards dis-ease.

Overcoming Overwhelm With Mindfulness

You can reduce overwhelm by allowing mindfulness to take over instead. Mindfulness allows you to see what’s actually happening. It’s really about getting honest with yourself. It’s about getting honest with your emotions, feelings, and thoughts. And most importantly, this is done in a non-judgmental way.
This means that you become aware of your emotions and any thoughts that are driving what you do. You take the time to focus on the present moment and discover what’s at the root of what you’re doing.
thoughtstoresultscompressed
Your actions are really driven by your thoughts.  Conscious or not, your thoughts  have influence over what you ultimately do–what action you take. Your actions produce the results that you get in your life. So the big picture looks like this:  The results in your life are directly related to your thoughts. The good news is this:
Examine your thoughts to get better results from life.
For example, are you taking on too many projects because you have workaholic tendencies, want to please everyone and maybe you tie who you are into what you do? Once you see what’s really happening, you’ll recognize the thoughts that lead to your emotions. The emotions contribute to or cause the overwhelm from your inability or unwillingness to say NO and instead say YES to every request that comes your way, resulting in guess what? OVERWHELM!

Acknowledge the thoughts and feelings

Emotions are not always comfortable. Consequently, people shy away from wanting to allow these feelings to simply ‘be’. Some of these underlying emotions that people have difficulty with include anxiety, fear, shame or depression. It can be uncomfortable or downright painful to experience these negative emotions. With the practice of mindfulness, you are a curious investigator, noticing and experiencing all emotions for just a bit.

Mindfulness calls for you to acknowledge the thoughts and feelings but not hold on to them. You acknowledge and then release. When you’re acknowledging these thoughts and feelings, you do so with compassion. This reduces the overwhelm that you would normally feel. You become a curious observer. The thoughts roll past you as if on a movie screen. It may be helpful to remember the acronym, RAIN

Let it RAIN on your parade!

R=Recognize. Become aware of what’s going on. “Here I am again thinking I can’t do this.”

A=Accept. Rather than shaming yourself, accept with kindness to yourself that this is going on. “I’m simply afraid I will fail again.”

I=Investigate. What feelings can you identify in your body when you have these thoughts? What images are coming up?

N=Nonidentify. You want to tell yourself that these thoughts and feelings are not you. They are simply passing through. Allow them to roll past your inner movie screen and know that you have a choice to respond to them. . . . or not!

When you let mindfulness take over, you can deal with the thoughts and feelings that  have previously dictated your actions and therefore your results.  Mindfulness teaches you how to stop the train of overwhelm and see yourself with honesty. You are more than your thoughts.  You are worthy,  you are valued, and you deserve compassion.

What’s been your biggest nugget from this mindfulness article? Honestly, I would be thrilled for you to leave your nugget in the comments below.

Save

Save

Welcome

winning-1529402_640

Welcome and make yourself at home!  This website is a work in progress (for now) and there are great things planned to help you optimize and live an extraordinary life.  You’re in the right place if you’ve been asking yourself these questions;

  • “Is that all there is?  Surely there’s more to life than what I’ve been shown so far.”
  • “Why am I here?  What’s my purpose, since I sure don’t feel like I’m fulfilling it at the present time?”
  • “If I could just (    fill in the blank    ), my life would really be great.”
  • “Can’t someone just help me feel better?”

These questions (and more) will be addressed right here on this website in the coming months and years. So stay tuned to this site as more information becomes available.  And you might want to consider taking my self-paced course, “21 Day Jumpstart Your Health Habits For Life“. You’ll learn about creating new habits and kicking old ones that don’t serve you well.  It’s self-paced and complimentary, so why not start it today?