Tag Archives: writing

Keeping a journal

Dalai Lama journal and pen

Shortly after I started my wellness journey, I picked up the advice to start writing a journal and capturing my progress and thoughts for the day. Over time this has evolved into a daily practize that I just don’t skip. It is a way to chart my journey, capturing what I eat, seeing my progress, – through peaks and recovering out of troughs – and it is also a way to release my thoughts for the day before I go to bed.

A journal as a release for stress
I have long had problems with sleeping, but I have found that I sleep better when I release whatever is in my mind before I go to bed onto the pages of a notebook. It is a great way to organize my thoughts, and to ponder things that are happening in my life.

The journal will not talk back to me or judge me, and over a series of days I can write down and explore different ways I could approach something that is giving me stress, or think through a problem. Sometimes I just release frustrations, without looking for a solution.

A journal of hope
I have also discovered that it is a great way to continue to maintain hope that I will be healthy long term. I am so conscious of how I feel each day through having to write it down, that I can see progress in a way that I couldn’t if I wasn’t being so diligent in capturing it. This also helps in my food journey, I can see how eating better is affecting me positively, and that helps to keep me on course.

A journal as a conscience
My journal has become my conscience. I don’t like writing in it that I haven’t done anything by way of exercise for the day. I capture classical exercise – going for a run, doing yoga – but also playing football with my son, walking around the neighbourhood, walking my son to school. I also capture my meditation practize here.

My journal has also become my conscience for food. I write down absolutely everything that I eat, even if I cheat. But I don’t like having to write down that I have cheated, so I don’t like to cheat.

My journal template:
I find it easier to stick to following a template for my journal. Habit makes it simpler to see patterns, but to also not have to think about what I will write about, just how I felt and what I did.

Date:                Hours of sleep:
Exercise (including meditation):
Supplements (if you take any):
Medicine (if you take any):
Stress /10    Pain /10    Energy /10
How did you feel today?:
Thoughts for the day:
What am I grateful for today:

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Inspiration for the day

Flower close up, Maya Tagalle Villa, Beliatta, South Coast, Sri

Keeping a journal has become a daily practise for me, but while I follow the same template every day, it isn’t a static process. Over time I have started capturing things that strike me, inspirational quotes, passages out of books that I am reading that I would like to remember.

My journal contains quotes of Gandhi, Brene Brown, and even Dr Seuss.

I may never look back at these journals, or maybe I will in a period where I want to remember how it was in this time, but capturing these quotes makes me feel like I am reading the books more deeply. That I am thinking about things that inspire me. Sometimes I refer to these quotes in my “Thoughts for the day”, other times I just capture them, think about them, and move on.

Here are a couple of my recent favorites to get you started:

“How much better to know that we have dared to live our dreams than to live our lives in a lethargy of regret” Gilbert E Kaplan

“It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.” Theodore Roosevelt