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I'm a big fan of gratitude journals and positive thinking, so of course I had to see for myself what The Five-Minute Journal from Intelligent Change was all about. I got it in January this year, so I have used it for exactly six months by now.
It has a great-quality cover and it definitely makes it easy to make it a habit to journal every day. Only having to dedicate a total of five minutes really make all your excuses about "not having time" null and void.
The book starts with a very in-depth introduction explaining the science behind the book and philosophy, which is a nice touch. Every journal page has a positive and encouraging quote and once a week you get a challenge, like calling someone you haven't talked to for a while or reading a self-improvement book.
Then it is divided into two sections, one to be done in the morning and one in the evening. It's a great way to kick-start your day, and also a really nice practice to settle down with when you go to bed.
Photo by Evie Shaffer
These are the prompts you fill out:
I am grateful for . . .
Ah, the classic one. Obviously this is where you write three things that you are grateful for in your life. It can be everything from "I am grateful for snuggling with my cat in the morning," and "I am grateful for the sun being out" to "I am grateful for the opportunity to go teach English in Japan." (Lucky you!)
This is my favorite practice that I've kept on and off over the years, and let me tell you, I do so much better when it's on. It actually rewires your brain to feel, and expect, happiness, and it is one of the easiest things you can do to improve your life and mental health.
What would make today great?
This is the part where you think of three things that would make the day great. It is important to note that it has to be things that you are in control to make happen; writing "sunshine" won't do much for you.
I find it very beneficial to actively think of things I can do to improve my day instead of just meandering about, hoping that good things will happen! It makes you ponder, "What would I be happy thinking back on?"
Photo by rawpixel
Daily affirmation: I am . . .
Quite self-explanatory; you write an affirmation, like "I am a successful blogger." (One day, right? ;-) ) The idea with affirmations is that you write something that might not be true, but is something that you want or like to be. The more you say/write it, the more you will believe it, and in the end it will become true.
I've never done affirmations before, and I'm very glad I got to try it out! I really felt a change in my mindset after only a week or two. If you lack confidence in yourself and your abilities, this is the most important daily practice for you.
Related article: The #1 secret to feeling confident!
3 amazing things that happened today
This is part of the night-time routine. It makes you focus on the good things that happened that day which is brilliant, cause if you're anything like me you have a tendency to forget them . . . It makes me feel more grateful about my day.
A con is that there really isn't a lot of space to write on, so you need to be very short about it.
How could I have made today even better?
Here you write things that you could have handled better. The idea is to look at your behavior and find different ways to handle the situations you were in, and think about how you want to be.
Photo by Rosie Kerr
All in all it's a great book, as long as you're aware that it is more of a life-improvement book compared to the traditional gratitude-journal-let's-only-focus-on-the-positives style.
If you live with anxiety or depression, putting the extra stress on you might not be worth it. It makes me feel disappointed in myself if I haven't done the "What would make today great?" tasks, and I also find the last prompt, "How could I have made today even better?", to be a very negative way to end my day. Focusing on my failures just undoes all the positivity I feel from listing the things that went great.
So if pure positivity is what you're after, I recommend The One-Minute Gratitude Journal instead. :)
That being said, this is a wonderful self-improvement book that makes you focus on how you can be better, what you want to be like, and also all the good things you have in your life.
So, if you want to . . .
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