Mindful Moments (Journaling) – A Slow Experiment

Steven Houston

It’s the last Slow Experiment episode for September! For the final week of Mindful Moments, Ben and I look at journaling as way to bring a pocket of slow and mindfulness to a busy day (and our days certainly were busy during the book tour). It’s no secret that Ben is not the biggest journaler alive (see: the great journaling experiment of 2016), but by the end of the episode even he is convinced to give it another crack. Maybe.

On the other hand, I am a big journaler, and have used it as a tool to manage anxiety, give shape to my mornings and help me find slow moments in everyday life for many years. I found during the book tour that the busier life got, and the more I had to strip back my morning rhythm and self-care, journaling was a thing that stuck, and kept helping. It gave me immediate relief on anxious days, was portable and easy, could be as big or small a task as I needed and I felt the effects throughout the day. (If that’s not a testimonial to the power of the journal, I don’t know what is.)

We then share a few ideas for ways to bring journaling into your day, from my ideal scenario (Julia Cameron-style, 3 A4, handwritten, stream-of-consciousness morning pages over a cup of coffee) to the reality of some days (a couple of bullet points quickly jotted down). We also share some other techniques floating around, including Gretchen Rubin’s one sentence a day and the movement that is Bullet Journaling (abbreviated to bujo, apparently!) The key takeaway here is that whatever works for you is the way to go.

I also talk about some research I discovered about the impacts of journaling on physical and mental health. Studies have shown that journaling can help:

  • strengthen your immune system
  • people who journal regularly heal more quickly and get fewer colds/flus and viruses
  • reduces levels of stress, anxiety and depression
  • influences our emotional intelligence and our ability to identify and solve problems in relationships

Join us this week and experiment with a different kind of journaling. Feel free to share your efforts over on Instagram, using the hashtag #slowexperiment.

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