The first time I heard of the Five Minute Journal was from Tim Ferriss. It’s kind of hard to miss it because he talks a lot about it.
The idea I had about what journaling was made me feel very uncomfortable and the word itself was... eeky.
The image that would come to my mind every time I heard about journaling was that of an “artist” with an Einstein-inspired hair style, writing feverishly for hours, pouring his heart out on the pages in front of him, using highly intellectual words, analyzing his emotions and views on matters of grand scale.
Do I have the vocabulary it takes to journal? Do mundane matters qualify for journaling too?
What do you write in a journal? Am I supposed to start my entry with “Dear Diary”?
How often do you do it? Are there any guidelines how to make it work and get the most benefits?
I couldn’t feel more intimidated.
Journaling? Out of the question!
mainly when I was overwhelmed or when I needed to deal with intense negative emotions – fear, anger, frustration, anxiety, etc. I called it “emptying my head”. I have been doing this on irregular intervals, only when my other tools can’t help with the situation. The "process" usually takes me between 30 minutes to an hour.
After all, there is no right and wrong way to journal.
I must say I truly enjoy the results from it – clarity, liberation, peace, excitement to rise again. Beware it’s highly addictive.
When I heard Tim talk for the millionth time about the Five Minute Journal, I googled it up and much to my surprise, “the five minute” thing wasn’t a marketing trick. It really did take 5 minutes. OK 10 minute tops, if you take a few extra minutes to experience the feelings it brings.
The rest is history. I even got my husband excited about it. And that’s HUGE.
The first few pages of the journal are an introduction of how the journal works – both explaining what you need to fill in daily, as well as the science behind the journal. Don’t worry, the whole journal, including the scientific part is explained in a very easy to understand words. No fancy terms making you feel like an ape.
“Depending on what they are, our habits will either make us or break us. We become what we repeatedly do.” - Sean Covey
Living in the Netherlands, chances are big that it would be raining when I wake up. I used to look outside and think to myself “From all the countries in the world, why did I move to Rainyland?!”
Guess how excited I was about my day.
Now I appreciate the rain. I’m grateful for a night of good sleep in my bed, that I have a rood above my head.
Because my Five Minute Journal is one of the first things when I wake up, it triggers me to think of what I will be writing about in it in just a few minutes and one of those things is gratitude.
The very same thing – rain, used to make me complain, now it helps me appreciate what I have. The only difference is that I’ve switched the auto-pilot of my brain off.
After I wake up (and visit the ladies room), I drink water with lemon juice. That’s when I think of how I could make my day great. It’s usually small things – a nap, read a book for pleasure, call a friend, etc but the practice has been a powerful reminder that I am in charge of my own life. There are things which I can’t control but I could still make my day, hence life, great.
When I sit down to write down the things I came up with, I take a minute or two to magnify my feelings in that very moment. As Oprah says “What we dwell on is who we become”.
Sometimes I also go back and read a few of my old entries and it always amazes me that the feeling of appreciation is equally powerful when the thing I was grateful for was something “big” like a trip to New York, for instance and when it was something “small”, like a cup of tea on a cold winter morning.
All the negativity you harbor shows in your life (and on your skin).
I am very good at replaying a scene from my day while brushing my teeth before going to bed and constantly thinking of what I could have / should have said or done differently.
One of the parts in the Five Minute Journal you fill in before going to sleep is “How could I have made today even better?” and this is where I get the chance to say or do that thing. This part of the journal helps find closure on those situations from my day which make me unkind to myself.
It also helps me forgive myself for making mistakes and being human.
Needless to say I’m hooked, so much so that I picked the Five Minute Journal as inspiration for our October theme - Happiness.
Have a look and I hope to see you online.