In the following guide, you will learn how carrying a mindfulness diary can help you obtain different benefits for your well-being and, in general, for your mental health. You will find some practical recommendations, as well as some reflections on this practice.
Mindfulness diary is one of the ways in which the many principles that generally make up the conceptual framework of mindfulness are put into practice, as a practice for obtaining better mental health and improving, in some way, the quality of life.
Similar to the mindfulness diary is the worry diary. People make it in order for them to record the things that cause them distress.
It consists of keeping a record of a series of key aspects that are taken from the principles of mindfulness. This can be done on a daily basis or adjusted to other types of needs. Ultimately, the mindfulness diary has a number of benefits that come from the very exercise of writing and taking space for yourself from time to time.
Have you ever tried to keep track of the things that go through your mind? To begin with, this practice would be interesting insofar as it would allow you to keep everything that has ever been significant to you, and protect it from oblivion. On the other hand, it would allow you to take up again at some point what you have written and remember aspects of the past that are yours.
Do you remember that feeling of reading something from the past and thinking about how you came to write that? “Did I really write this?” “What was going through my mind?” So, to begin with, just as a memory resource, it’s attractive to carry a mindfulness diary. As we’ll see, beyond serving as a storage of what goes on in our minds, there are other benefits to this practice as well.
Starting a mindfulness diary: some practical recommendations
To begin with, we will provide some practical recommendations to start this practice properly. The mindfulness diary can be any notebook, pad or item that allows you to keep a periodic record of what went through your mind. You may want to build a notebook yourself or buy one of those offered on websites for this particular purpose.
You may prefer to carry this practice on your mobile phone, in some medium that you find more versatile and easy to use. After all, the smartphone is a device that many people now use for their everyday activities.
On the other hand, think about how often you want to write – every day? Maybe, and this is a general recommendation, take about 10 minutes a day to write in the one you chose as your journal. You may also prefer to start with no set periodicity and determine how often you will do so along the way.
Mindfulness diary: what am I going to write?
This is another of the main questions that arise when we talk about mindfulness diary. What to write in it? What is the purpose? Can I write anything? To begin with, there should be no restrictions on what you can write or record since it is your own diary. However, we are going to offer some recommendations about the content you could write in your diary, as a general guide to start this practice.
Read what you feel
To begin with, and as one of the defining characteristics of mindfulness, try to make a reading of your inner experience, everything that you feel at certain moments in your life. Why did I feel so much anger yesterday when I was with this person? How do I know that I am happy? What are the bodily signs that allow me to know that I am anxious?
The above and other questions can help you to have an idea of what it means to write in your mindfulness diary what you are feeling. What you are feeling is also related to your goals and what generates high motivation. For example, you may be starting to meet a new person, and this is creating a sense of well-being. Why do I feel so good when I meet certain types of people and not others?
What can I do when I’m sad and need a little pick-me-up? Do I allow myself to feel sad sometimes? The previous ones have to do with the way you regulate your own emotions, and these are also interesting ideas that, when recorded, will help you on that path of knowing how they work and improving what you don’t like so much. Likewise, it will be a way to begin to practice acceptance and compassion in the face of that which cannot be easily changed.
In your mindfulness diary it would be good if you could find some sections where you show appreciation for everything you have, what other people give you, the places you frequent, the food you eat, the people who treat you kindly, the opportunities to learn from your mistakes.
Gratitude is a fundamental element in our lives, and mindfulness has put a lot of emphasis on it. It is clear to everyone that life is not just about receiving or getting things. No. There are also a lot of things we should be grateful for, and at least keep in mind that they are not a matter of course or part of everyday life for everyone.
In your mindfulness diary, you can set aside some space to write down everything you are grateful for. Maybe today has been difficult, but when you try to remember you realize that there was a person in some public space who treated you in a very kind way, and that helped your mood to be higher. That’s great, isn’t it?
When you go back to your pages, you can make a memory of everything that you can be grateful for, and you will see that a very positive feeling comes out of it. As we said before, the mindfulness diary also aims to remind us of those parts of ourselves that we may sometimes forget.
Practice being more aware of the way you think
Did you know that each of us has a habitual way of thinking and interpreting what happens? Yes, these can be different from one person to another. We do not all read the world the same way, even though it is the same world and we may become very similar.
Of course, there are some general patterns, which we all share, but there are also many elements specific to each person, which have been formed in such a way given the particular experience and heritage that each individual possesses.
For some, daily frustrations can be interpreted as an affront to life, “why does this only happen to me” is a common question. When we don’t reflect on our thought patterns, and on the fact that they may be different (and in fact probably are) from those of other people, we can have a very intense sense of defeat. Sometimes we feel that we are alone in the world.
Mindfulness diary: we must also look around
Through the mindfulness diary, we can also carry out the task of reading the environment around us, its characteristics, how it differs from other people’s. “Does everyone live under so much stress?” “Does everyone on a Thursday afternoon feel so empty?”
When we read our environment, we are implicitly reading ourselves as well. Why? Simply because we’re not isolated beings in nothingness. We are the product of the interaction between everything that characterizes us and the external environment. After all, maybe that effective way of reacting to stress is due to some external trigger in your work that you hadn’t become aware of.
If this refers to reading the environment around us, through the mindfulness diary we can get to know crucial aspects that influence us in some subtle way.
What is my role in relation to others?
You can also write down anything you find interesting about the way you behave when you are with other people. How do I behave when I feel comfortable with the people around me? can I feel comfortable easily? do I prefer small or large groups of people? what is my role in my different social circles?
As we can see, this is again a reading of external elements. However, in that reading, we are resolving some personal issues. Finally, what we are is closely related to the opportunities to behave in certain ways when we are surrounded by other people.
Writing down these kinds of aspects will also positively nurture that journal of things you may never have evaluated and valued in yourself.
Register your intentions
Another option we recommend to adopt in the personal mindfulness diary is everything that can be classified as plans, intentions, desires, interests. All this also provides some information about the way you are and your tendencies.
It might be interesting, after having kept the record for a few months, to go back and take a look at your old interests. Are they the same? Are there any of them that you have changed radically? Can you believe you had that goal in the past?
A mindfulness diary is a practical tool that is part of the resources that are created around mindfulness as a general idea of a relationship with others and with oneself. Through this diary, you can keep track of a series of things that are of interest for self-knowledge and personal growth.
There are some practical recommendations on how to make use of this tool, but the most important thing is to integrate it into your own life in the most appropriate way and adjusted to your routines. It’s worth trying!
Frequently asked questions (FAQs) about mindfulness diary
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