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Journal Your Heart Out

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In an age of quick-swipe gratification, activities that require quiet reflection can feel outdated and impractical. Where many of our predecessors kept journals to record their ideas and to think more deeply about their days, we are now more likely to send 140 characters into cyberspace and then absentmindedly scroll through social media until we fall asleep (much later than we should).

Modern technology has immense potential for improving our lives, but that doesn’t mean that we should leave old traditions behind. Keeping a journal, as simple and as plain as it might sound, is a key Habit of Health.

Here’s why:

  • Mindfulness. Looking back on your day and writing about the choices you made—the good and the bad—can actually make you more aware of those choices the next time you face them.
  • Sharpness. Organizing your thoughts at the end of a day can actually improve memory retention, which can help to keep you mentally sharp.
  • Relaxation. Keeping a daily journal can help you to address and resolve challenges, which in turn helps you to lower your stress levels. Less stress means better sleep and smoother days.
  • Tracking. Day to day, progress can be difficult to measure, but if you have a running catalog of your thoughts and your growth, you can more readily see just how far you’ve come.

Starting a journal does not need to be an intimidating or time-consuming task. To begin, all you need is five minutes of your day, perhaps shortly before you go to sleep. Write down one opportunity from the day where you could have made a healthier choice, and then write down one triumph where you could have taken a less healthy option but didn’t.

Write them down in that order as well. Ending on a positive note is better for your overall wellbeing, and it reminds you that you’ve made some progress that day, no matter how small.

If you have any questions about the process of journaling, please let me know. I’d also love to hear your success stories and your own tips for keeping this Habit of Health going strong!

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