Starting a daily journal practice is an easy way to re-wire your brain and change your life. Here’s how a daily journal practice changed my life.
Why I Needed a Daily Journal Practice (and why you probably do too)
We all grow up with trauma. Some of us worse than others. But we all have it. Everyone has faulty thinking and behavior patterns we’ve picked up along the way. And unless you identify them, it’s hard to know they’re present.
For me, I grew up with an absent father, a violent, drug addict mother and in a very unstable, unsafe household. My brain was wired for fear. I am always hypervigilant, ready to fight or flee. As I got older and built a better life for myself, I was having a really hard time breaking the habit of fear and worry. It’s just what I became used to. It’s what my brain knew. And the brain learns and repeats. Neurons that fire together, wire together.
On top of that, the pandemic hit, we moved eight hours south to a town where we knew no one and between working, raising my boys, setting up a new house – then my dad died. Three months later, my mom died. It has been A TOUGH YEAR, GUYS. We all have them.
I often feel overwhelmed with my emotions from what’s going on in my personal life, how much I need to manage on a day to day basis with work and running a household and having kids, and within the world.
And that’s where journaling comes in.
Journaling allows us to get our emotions on paper, separate them from ourselves, organize our thoughts, our days, our intentions. Journaling allows us to better respond throughout the day. Journaling can even re-wire the brain. Our brains are extremely plastic, meaning we can change the circuitry to be healthier and happier if we perform the right tasks and when given the right tools. Journaling is an inexpensive and extremely powerful tool to change your thoughts, habits, productivity and happiness.
How To Start Journaling Daily
I am not kidding when I say I’ve bought dozens of journals over the years. Most were just straight forward, to the point – basic. Boring. To do lists, a daily schedule, maybe a few lines for random thoughts. Some came with stickers, which I have to admit was a draw. Who doesn’t like stickers?! But they were all just lacking.
I wanted something functional that had my daily to do list and schedule, but also something that supported my daily emotional wellness. Something with weekly and monthly goals for my business and personal life, something where I could practice daily gratitude and write my thoughts and intentions for the day.
Enter Monk Manual.
How a Daily Journal Practice Changed My Life
Journaling allows me to build a meaningful, intentional life. So many of us live our lives on autopilot, just going through the motions, no passion, no reflection, no goals. Monk Manual helps change that. It frames your days, weeks and months in such a way that you are undoubtedly going to live a happier, more fulfilling, more productive life.
For me, anxiety creeps in sometimes and I get into negative thought patterns. Journaling daily helps me break up those thought patters in several ways. First, each there’s a habit to choose each day within the Monk Manual. It can be joy, self love, acceptance, whatever you want/need.
Second, there is a space each day to write three things you’re grateful for. The trick here is to try and write three different things each day. A daily gratitude practice literally reframes our brain and our perception. It teaches the brain how to see the positive and lean toward gratitude, something that is actually not natural for brains to do without exterior input. It’s really amazing.
Third, instead of using the “ways I can change tomorrow” section at the end of the day, I use this section to write my Future Self Journal. This is just something that works for me and isn’t necessary for others, but it really has helped changed my life and re-wire my brain. I learned this technique from Dr. Lepera and it’s called The Future Self Journal. It’s a series of questions that I have found massively helpful. Dr. Lepera has a huge following on Instagram and while I don’t support all of her work or beliefs by any means, I do find The Future Self Journal incredibly healing.
What I love about the Monk Manual is that it nourishes my emotional wellness and also balances my daily tasks, schedule and priorities. It has a to-do list I fill out daily and a schedule I write out as well to keep me, my tasks and my life on track. Whether it’s something I need to do for my business, my kids, a doctor’s appointment, a party – I put it in the daily calendar.
Monk Manual balances my daily life and tasks with my emotional wellness and supports the kind of life I want to live and the kind of person I want to be. I’m not perfect, my life isn’t perfect, but writing in my Monk Manual daily has really helped change my life for the better.