Mindfulness (noun): the quality or state of being conscious or aware; Intention to cultivate awareness of mind body and spirit
When I say ‘journaling mindfulness’, I am referring to practicing habits in writing and tracking that will help someone incorporate mindfulness into their daily routine. Journaling mindfulness involves the mind body and spirit: being aware of your thoughts, physical being, and emotions. My 2021 planning routine consists of several methods for journaling mindfulness. Each method–habit trackers, vision boards, and daily affirmations—can be used be used independently or simultaneously to cultivate a more mindful you.
Tracking healthy habits, such as exercise and nutrition, can help you live a healthier life. By creating and sticking to a tracking system, you can build consistency and develop habits due to regular tendency or practice. Once an action becomes a regular habit, it can have a positive effect on your overall mindfulness (or awareness).
Let us consider an example. Drinking 64 ounces of water is often chosen as a daily healthy habit worth tracking. Drinking enough water can help your body carry nutrients and oxygen to your cells, stabilize your heartbeat, and protect your organs and tissues. Mentally, adequate hydration is also known to calm the mind and curb anxiety. Once this habit has been built, you become more and more aware of what a hydrated body feels like. You may have more energy. Your hair and nails may be growing at an accelerated rate. You may feel less hungry and more at ease. On the other hand, you also become more aware of what a dehydrated body feels like: irritable, snacky, tired, anxious. Your consistency led to heightened awareness. Yay, you!
Now that I have sold you on using habit tracking to journal mindfulness, it is time to put purpose to practice! Deciding what items to track on your habit tracker can be tricky. Ultimately, you want to think of what will spark the most joy for you or have the biggest impact on your overarching goals. If your goal is to have the energy to spend quality time with your loved ones each day, then tracking hours of sleep may be on your tracker. If your goal is to express your creativity more, daily journaling or creation may be a habit you track. Because I wanted to focus on building mindfulness this year, I decided to create two ‘year in pixel’ trackers—one for fitness and one for mindfulness. My fitness tracker records the workout I do each day—from kickboxing to hiking. My mindfulness tracker keeps track of mental strength (journaling, reading, yoga, and meditation). Together, I call these my Mind Body Spirit (MBS) Trackers.
There are only two rules when in comes to habit trackers: choose habits that serve you and track them consistently. So many great templates are available for free. Choose one that works for you (or create your own) and have fun with it!
Does the idea of daily of weekly tracking make you panic? No worries! There are other ways to journal mindfulness that are less intimidating for those who would rather go with the flow. How does a method that can be completed once a year (or even less!) sound? The next method for journaling mindfulness is creating a vision board. A dream board or vision board is a collage of images and pictures that represent one’s dreams and desires, designed to serve as a source of inspiration and motivation.
By creating a vision board, one can practice mindfulness by becoming more aware of his or her thoughts. This is achieved through visualization. When you put your goals on paper in a visual format, it can help you achieve them. Studies show that mental practices, including visualization, can increase motivation, confidence, and motor performance by keeping positive thoughts at the forefront of your mind.
Use three easy steps to create an effective vision board. First, take a moment reflect on what goals are most important to you. These can be referred to as your ‘Big Rocks’. Your Big Rocks are your priorities—the tasks, projects, and goals that you most want to tend and accomplish. Once you have created a list of the things you want to manifest, you are done with the most difficult step. Next, you piece together a visual representation of this list using photos, artwork, words, and phrases. Bring your vision to life on the page (or screen!). I currently have three vision boards in my home: one large poster that visualizes my life vision, one collage for my dream home vision, and another page in my planner that summarizes the year I envision for 2021 . The third and final step to creating an effective vision board is to place your vision board where you will see it regularly—on your nightstand, in your home office, or even by your TV. Digital vision boards also make great desktop backgrounds on your computer. The key is to look at your vision board as often as possible to heighten your awareness of these long-term goals and wants.
My third method for journaling mindfulness is to record daily affirmations. Affirmations are short, powerful statements that allow you to consciously control your thoughts. Affirmations firmly declare a positive thought and should be assertively stated as a truth. To write an affirmation, begin with “I am” and use present tense. The statements should also be brief and specific. This year, I have chosen to focus on three affirmations:
- I am successful at everything that I do.
- I am healthy and wealthy.
- I am beautiful inside and out.
To record these affirmations, I keep a mindset journal (or affirmation journal). This journal lives on my nightstand and has been incorporated into my evening routine. Before bed, I briefly journal an entry or scribe my three affirmations. After a week of entries, I decorate the page with quotes and images that resonate with me [pictured below]. By regularly recording affirmations, one becomes more aware of when they are embracing positive thoughts and repelling negative ones.
By practicing mindfulness, one can lessen stress, increase happiness and creativity, and strengthen memory and sleep. You are able to create a life you love and be more intentional with your thoughts and actions. After using these mindfulness journaling methods for only two months, I have had noticeably better sleep (with more vivid dreams), gained confidence in my leadership position at work, and feel more positive overall. I hope you have enjoyed reading my tips and would love to hear how you plan on journaling mindfulness this year.