Journaling. Some find it a scary word. It might reminds you of those boring classes in high school when you were asked to journal your thoughts while reading a novel. Eek! It may sound like self-help nonsense, but research actually suggests the effects are real in creating a happier, more mindful you! Not to mention when every single person asks you at work how your trip was, you can elaborate more than “it was great. saw this, this, and this”, because you will actually remember what you did, saw, and how you felt about it!
There’s a strong connection between happiness and mindfulness. Writing in a journal brings you into that state of mindfulness; past frustrations and future anxieties lose their edge in the present moment. It calls a wandering mind to attention, from passivity to actively engaging with your thoughts. There’s also a unique relationship between the hand and brain, sparked by the composition of thoughts and ideas. Words are representations of ideas; writing these ideas out causes the mind to compose or re-compose ideas while journaling. This strengthens previously covered information and forces you to engage in the material you’re writing about and aids in cognitive recall.*
While traveling, I try to journal every day as I find that reflecting on my past day makes me appreciate each moment just that much more. Here are a few ideas to get you going:
- Take 2-5 minutes to reflect and do a step by step through your day. Find a quiet area, close your eyes, take some deep breaths, and run through your whole day. All of it. The good, the bad, the weird, & the fun.
Travelling with: (this one is awesome when you’re busy meeting a ton of new people. Get their name, and contact info!!!! Believe me, you’ll thank me for it in the future – I’ve met people while travelling and have stayed with them in their home country. Visiting a country and having a home-stay is the best way to experience a new culture!)
Things to think of while reflecting on your day:
– What did I see today?
– What was my favorite thing I saw today?
–>Why was it my favorite?
– What was my least favorite thing I saw today(if any)?
–>Why didn’t I enjoy this part of my day?
– If I were to wake up again today, what would I have done differently?
– 1 thing I’m thankful for today:
–> If this has something to do with another person, have I told them?
– I made an impact on someone else’s today by:
Finances (it’s nice to write this down as it gives you a visual of what you’re actually spending. Doesn’t need to be down to the cent, but a general idea of how much you’re spending every day is always a good idea).
– How much did I spend today?
–> on what?
– Am I over/under my daily budget? By how much?
– Am I over/under my trip budget? By how much?
– Things to remember tomorrow:
– Plans for tomorrow:
– Goal for tomorrow:
Personal/Goals (will obviously be different for everyone.. these are mine!)
– Did I meet someone new today?
–> Who? How? Anything interesting I learned? Contact info!
– Did I give gratitude to someone today?
– Did I achieve my goal I had set yesterday?
These questions are meant to make you introspect your day, feelings, thoughts, and aid in writing your journal. You don’t need to spend an hour writing, however taking 15 min/night reflecting on your day will help you become happier, more mindful and will help you recall your travels. No matter how amazing your day was today, your goal should always be to go make tomorrow even better.
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*Think Better, Live Better Thia Nguyen- TheUtopianLife.com