Minutes to a Happier You – The 5 Minute Journal

I know, I know…. The title is a bit cliched but hear me out 🙂 I wanted to share with you a little routine which could help you stay happier and more balanced throughout the day. All it takes is about 5 minutes.

Business-Man

Before I dive right in, I thought it might be worthwhile sharing why I think this technique is so powerful.

Over the past year, my daily routine has changed significantly but I think the one thing that has had the most impact is a journalling exercise which takes about 5 minutes. Before I adopted this exercise, I would have days when I’d come home from work holding onto some negative comment or thought I’d encountered throughout the day. So not only would I have an average day at work but then I’d also be bringing that baggage home, which is not good for me or those around me.

Having adopted this exercise for a few weeks, it dawned on me one day that my mood seemed to be better and was staying more balanced throughout the day.

The Method

Now credit where credit is due. I got this idea from Tim Ferriss’ Tools of Titans and I have tweaked it slightly to suit. (By the way, Tools of Titans is a great compendium for living and motivation if you have not checked it out already – see my review here.)

All it is, is a journalling exercise where you write down the following questions and provide responses:

  • List 3 things you are grateful for
  • List 1 thing you did well
  • List 1 thing you could improve upon.

And that’s it! Easy!

Given the nature of the questions, this works best at the end of the day so you can decompress and reflect on your daily encounters with your own mind and others. I find also you don’t have to be obsessive about completing this daily. I do this 4-5 times a week on public transport while I’m on my way home from work. I record my entries in a small journal which is about A5 in size. Having all my journal entries in one place is handy as I can flick through my previous entries to recollect or if I need a little inspiration.

This Seems Too Simple…

Notebook

For some of you, the seeming simplicity of this exercise may make it seem a little daunting. Relax…. There is no right or wrong way to do this. There is also no reason to worry if you are answers are unique or creative enough each day. I find a lot of the same themes recurring on a regular basis. I often express gratitude for family members and for our pets but then there will be some simple things, like, “buses that run on time” or “the pavements on which I walk”. I often express gratitude for my favorite types of food as well. KFC, anyone?! 🙂 In terms of “1 thing I could improve upon”, this invariably comes down to me meditating more regularly.

If you are still thinking that this exercise may be too good to be true, just give it a go. You may be surprised  at the results. What I have found is that not only am I grateful in the moment I complete this journal, but then that sensation tends to revisit me throughout the day. So on top of being more balanced and happier, I also feel more gratitude. I think that’s a pretty great way to live each day.

I really hope you can take 5 minutes out of a coming day to put this into practice. Better yet, put this into practice over a few weeks and observe the results. I would love to hear about how you go or if you have any queries, please drop me a note below.

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