Happiness. Gratitude. Mindfulness. Don’t we all live for that?
There’s nothing wrong with that attitude. In fact, we all deserve to be happy and we should strive towards that goal for as long as we’re living. The problem is: it’s almost impossible to be happy all the time. Most of us are far from Buddha’s smile. But, there’s a good thing about it: the journey.
The journey towards happiness is bumpy. If we want to experience pure freedom and joy, we have to dig deep into our soul and mind, and get all the trash out of there. We have to develop an immunity against stressful situations, which we’ll keep experiencing.
Today, we’ll explore a method that makes us more conscious about the happy and less happy moments we go through: journaling.
Journey. Journaling. The similarity between the words is not a coincidence. By keeping a journal, we become aware of all emotions, fears, expectations, obstacles, and joys in our journey. We are witnessing our own way towards happiness.
Now, the question is: how do you keep that journal?
Tips: How to Keep a Journal of Happiness
- Understand the Reason
Why do you need journaling and how will it make you a happier person? You need that answer before you commit yourself to this practice.
Mindy Bennett, a writing tutor at EduGeeksClub.com, explains why journaling makes sense: “I had a job I loved, a great partner, and tons of friends to give me support whenever I needed it. Still, I wasn’t happy. Something was missing and I couldn’t put my finger on it. I tried contemplating over my life, but that didn’t work… my thoughts were too chaotic,” – she says.
“Then, I thought: why don’t I just write? It’s what I do for living, anyway. Journaling was the most overwhelming writing challenge I’ve ever faced. I had to express my fears and deepest emotions on paper. At the same time, this was a beautiful experience. When I write about what makes me happy or miserable, I reach a stream of consciousness that keeps me going. This practice helps me understand myself.”
A stream of consciousness. A practice that helps you understand yourself. That’s what journaling is all about.
- Find that Motivational Booster
First, you make a commitment:
“I’ll write in my happiness journal every single day.”
Repeat that to yourself. You’ll feel inspired for an entry during the beginnings. However, you may notice that your inspiration fades away within a few days. You’ll skip one day, making the good old excuse: I’ll just write something tomorrow. That’s called procrastination, and it’s not a good habit to have on the journey towards self-realization.
You need something that will motivate you to keep journaling on the long run. Here are a few suggestions:
- Get a beautiful notebook and a fancy pen. It sounds silly, but you’ll be surprised how these little things can motivate you to write more.
- If you don’t like writing by hand, you can start your Penzu It’s an online service that lets you keep your thoughts private. It lets you create a pretty awesome online journal that you can enhance with photos and images you find online. You can access it from anywhere and you can rest assured it will be 100% private.
You’ll be able to search through your journal, so you’ll easily find the exact entry you have on mind. As for the inspiration, Penzu will send custom email reminders to keep you going.
- If you’re ready to share your journey with the world, create a Tumblr You’ll turn the journal into a blog, and the feedback will inspire you to keep going. When you gain enough followers, you’ll feel the responsibility to update the journal on a daily basis.
- You Need Only 10 Minutes a Day
Is your mind playing tricks on you, trying to convince you that there’s no time for journaling? Look; if you can’t find 10 minutes a day for an activity that leads you to a happier life, then there’s something really wrong with your schedule.
10 minutes is all it takes. Sit down. Clear your mind. Think: are you at a good place now? Why? Why not? Describe how you feel in this very moment and what would make you happier. Don’t edit anything. Don’t hold anything back. Just pour your feelings out. When you’re done, go to bed. You’ll do the same thing tomorrow.
From time to time, you can go through the entries and you’ll see your progress. With practice, this activity will become easier. You will stop censoring your thoughts and you’ll be completely honest with yourself. When you recognize your flaws and the obstacles that prevent you from being happy, it will be easier for you to take the right action.
- Practice Gratitude
When you start writing about your feelings, it’s easy to focus on the negative. You’ll complain. That’s okay. Don’t hold your bitterness back. The paper (or computer screen) can handle it.
However, you should never put your entire focus on negative thoughts. Recognize the obstacles, but give credit to the good things, too. Turn this into a routine: at the end of each daily entry, write what you’re grateful about. Even if it’s the same small thing every day, keep writing it down. With time and practice, you’ll train your mind how to be more optimistic.
- Be Specific!
Getting into details is not a comfortable thing to do. You’re hiding some thoughts and emotions from yourself. When you write “I was happy today,” ask yourself: why? What exactly made you happy? How did that thing make you happy? Why weren’t you happy about it yesterday? How can you keep that thing going?
- I am happy for my partner.
- I’m not happy with the way he treated me today.
These statements are too vague. When you write something like that, you’re not digging deep enough. How exactly did your partner make you happy or miserable? Be 100% honest with yourself. Remember: no one will read your journal. It’s all about revealing the truth to yourself and finding the path toward happiness.
Are you ready to do it? Why wait? Today looks like an awesome day for journaling!
Antonio is a hopeless optimist who enjoys basking in the world’s brightest colors. He loves biking to distant places and occasionally he gets lost. When not doing that he’s blogging and teaching ESL. He will be happy to meet you on Facebook and Twitter.