The ‘Five Minute Journal’.

I’ve been keeping a journal on and off for years. I’ve quite a collection of various Page a Day diaries which have faithfully recorded the first three months of many years past but which then, in the blank pages of March to December, speak to either boredom of having to show up each day and write; or perhaps I just had more exciting things to do. Occasionally the vast months and pages of blankness are punctuated with to do lists.

The desire to document and log my life has been with me since about the age of 8. My earliest scribblings being eulogies written for dead pets where I felt compelled to document their passing and my love for them, and there have been the diaries as just mentioned and sometimes poems to my children and to my husband. My motivation to write then appears to be catalyzed by the sense of possibly and hope of a new year, and by loss, love and by change.

So as I switch gears professionally and as we all move into this second lockdown, I’ve felt I wanted to keep a journal again and have discovered the ‘Five Minute Journal’. Developed by Psychologists interested in addressing habit formation (…how can I resist an evidenced-based solution) the journal is designed with the fickle and distracted human mind, in mind. It only requires five minutes to complete and is structured around a small number of questions to answer. To support sustained motivation you also can rope in a friend (thanks Brenda and Vic) as research has shown that accountability may also be powerful motivator.

Drawing on the latest from Positive Psychology (…I am home!) it provides space to document the things in life I am grateful for and to reflect on what went well in the day. The authors of the FMJ claim that journaling in this way will increase my happiness. These claims that are also backed up by findings from Positive Psychologists with mounting evidence for the impact of gratitude to well-being.

Whatever the promised benefits, it feels good to have a place to document life and I’ll enjoy having an excuse to check in with friends as we all head into what may be a very long winter.



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