Amanda Cade

Worth It! (Things to try, read, watch, hear, and discuss)

Thanksgiving is right around the corner, which means that most of us are taking time to reflect on the positives in our lives. It’s great that there’s a holiday centered around this practice, but I think that gratitude and positivity shouldn’t be forgotten for the other 364 days of the year. As a former Negative Nancy, I’ve spent a lot of time over the years trying different techniques to improve my mindset, especially since sooooo much research shows that a positive attitude has benefits for mental, emotional, and physical health. One of the most effective things I’ve tried is my daily journal.

I’m old school and keep my journal in a notebook, but electronic tools also totally work. Sometimes I jot things down during the day as I have time and ideas, and sometimes writing in the journal is the last thing I do before bed. It doesn’t matter when you update, as long as it becomes a consistent part of your day.

It’s possible that you’re thinking, “Come on, Amanda, do you know how busy I am? There’s no way I have time for a journal.” Trust me, I get it-sometimes I’m so busy I have to set a reminder to stop and eat. The good news is that the basics of this journal method can be covered in just a few minutes a day (and has room for expansion if you have the time or inclination). All you really need to do is make a couple of lists. So today I’m sharing my personal “must haves” for a daily record, and a way to use the journal for later reflection and maximum benefit.

journal 3

A few minutes a day can make a world of difference.

 

1. Gratitude/Positive Experiences

There’s a ton of information out there about the benefits of gratitude journaling, and lots of ideas to help you get started. I really like this post from the Positive Psychology Program, which also contains a lot of ideas to help you get started. In a nutshell, this section of my journal helps me to reflect every day on the great things in my life, and makes sure that I don’t discount or forget about them. This is especially important on bad days, when I have to be careful not to let setbacks send me into a negativity spiral. Even on the worst days, there’s something positive, even if it’s as simple as hearing and falling in love with a new song on the radio.

gratitude

We should be thankful 365 days a year.

2. Worries/Concerns/Irritations

This might seem a little counterintuitive (After all, aren’t we trying to feel better?), but hear me out. One of the biggest problems with worry, stress, and anxiety is the way it tends to bounce around in our brains, influencing our mood, interactions, productivity, and sleep. Well, guess what? Writing down what’s bothering us helps to stop that cycle, and often helps us to think more clearly about our concerns. You can find some more information and suggestions from Shape Magazine here. I also add “irritations”, but only when there’s something that’s really bugging me. I find that writing those down helps me to gain perspective and consider whether they’re really worth messing up my day. However, if you find that writing down frustrations is magnifying instead of minimizing them, you might want to consider leaving them out.

3. Personal Successes

success

Nothing is too small to celebrate.

This last section means I always end on a positive note. We all do something every day that should make us proud of ourselves. Maybe it’s a big thing (I got a promotion! I’ve finally saved enough for a new car!) or a small thing (I stuck to my diet. I provided a sympathetic ear. I helped a coworker complete a project.), but there’s always something. Don’t let those successes go by unnoticed and unrecorded. It’s really easy for us to focus on our failures, shortcomings, and problems, so it’s super important to reflect on what we’re doing right.

Speaking of reflection…

Once you’ve been journaling for a while, you should revisit your earlier entries. Each day, I flip back to my entries from a month ago and a year ago and think about where I was at the time. This practice is great for reminding you of the good things in your life, and helping you feel more positive about your current circumstances. One of the best things, for me, is discovering that most of my past negatives worked out fine, and that a lot of them I have totally forgotten by the time I look at them again. This helps me remember that whatever is going on today is also probably going to be ok.

For example, here are a few items from my journal one year ago today:

  • Gratitude/Positive Experiences: My niece gave me a collage she made at school
  • Worries/Concerns/Irritations: A particular coworker is behind on a deadline, again, and that’s stopping me from moving forward on a project
  • Personal Successes: I finally finished cleaning out the guest room closet

When I reread that entry this morning, I looked at my niece’s collage again, and remembered how great it felt when she gave me something she had worked hard to create. Even though I tried really hard, I honestly couldn’t remember the details of the issue with my coworker, and I know that whatever the project was, we completed it in the end. I’ve actually been having a similar issue recently, so the reminder that these kinds of things work out came at the perfect time. The guest room closet is still in pretty good shape, and I’m feeling proud of myself all over again.

In short, rereading my journal made me happy. Oh, and for today, I’ve already listed “started my blog” under “Personal Successes”.

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Do you journal or log events in your life? What techniques do you have for maintaining perspective and a positive attitude? Let me know in the comments!

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49 thoughts on “Worth Trying: A Quick Daily Journal to Improve Your Mindset

  1. Great post! Negative Nancy made me smile, once upon a time, I was one too, although Negative Nancy was not the name I would have used. Thank you Amanda, reading your post helped me see how far I’ve come since 2013 when I started blogging. Blessings!!

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Amanda Cade says:

      Thank you so much, Ann-you’re my very first comment! I’m glad that you’re feeling more positive and celebrating your progress!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. You’re most welcome Amanda. Congratulations on the first and many more to come. Feel free to visit over here anytime for encouragement, I’ll leave the lights on. (smile) Blessings and enjoy your writing journey!

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Kamber Shaffer says:

    I enjoyed reading your post. I often forget how journaling can be an act of self care. I especially like that you included a gratitude section for every log. Every day is a day to be grateful, not just this time of year.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Amanda Cade says:

      I totally agree. Gratitude is something that’s so easy to forget if you don’t make an effort to notice it.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Yes Amanda. I have the habit of daily journal everyday night before sleep ; and with 3 sections ‘ Good Things’ , ‘Lessons Learned’ and ‘To Improve’ in it, to capture the high level bullet points for the day. This daily habit really help me to revisit main events in day ; and get into sleep with a happy feel on that day !

    Best Regards,
    Shaheem.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Amanda Cade says:

      “Lessons Learned” is a great category! I may need to add that to my list.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. I don’t journal but I write down everything I am doing every day. It is so rewarding when I finish everything on my list.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Amanda Cade says:

      I’m so with you-crossing an item off my to do list always creates a happy moment.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Oh yes and that feeling at the end of the day when it’s all done!

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Amanda Cade says:

        That’s when I get to have ice cream. Lol

        Liked by 1 person

      3. 🤣😂🤣😂🤣

        Liked by 1 person

  5. The Eclectic Contrarian says:

    The voice text feature and notepad on my phone is pure gold sometimes! Without them, I would certainly forget half of what I post! I’m the type that if something passes through my mind, I’d best write it down or there’s no telling when or if I’d remember it again… get old(er) 😝😁

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Amanda Cade says:

      I hear you! Before I had a cell phone, I not only carried a notepad in my purse, but I would call work from home and home from work to leave myself reminders on my voice mails.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. The Eclectic Contrarian says:

        That’s dedication! lol! But I don’t judge you!

        Liked by 2 people

      2. Amanda Cade says:

        Being able to keep track of things on my phone is definitely easier than calling myself. Plus it got me out of the odd habit I had of referring to myself in the third person. I would leave messages like, “Good morning, Amanda. Don’t forget that you wanted to talk to Carrie before this afternoon’s meeting. Have a great day.” On the other hand, at least I could count on those voicemails being positive. 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

      3. The Eclectic Contrarian says:

        Lol!!! That’s awesome! I’d love to physically write more.. but carrying around a little book is just aggravating to me… the phone is so much more convenient.. but I hate technology lol! Yes, I’m different….

        Liked by 2 people

      4. eqhigh5 says:

        Awesome idea to invoke positivity in your messages. Next time you call your office phone to record yourself a message, amp it up a bit:, “Hey Gorgeous, you look fabulous, as usual. Call Carrie, she’d love to hear from you. And whatever you’re doing, it’s working. Have a great day!”

        Liked by 1 person

    2. eqhigh5 says:

      EXACTLY! I’m a write-it-down-now type of person, I keep a spiral notebook handy 24-7 to keep me on track. Life is busy, it’s those little tools that are the foundation of my magic act…the illusion that I have things under control!

      Liked by 1 person

  6. libarah says:

    Thank you so much for your likes and follow👍🏻

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Amanda Cade says:

      You’re welcome! 👍🌅

      Liked by 1 person

  7. frenchc1955 says:

    Thank you for starting my book, Maledicus. I tried to thank you on instagram, but I could not find how to place a comment.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Amanda Cade says:

      You’re welcome! I’m always excited to find a new author. 🙂

      Like

  8. Thanks, great article, Amanda! I use the way you write for more than 30 years, and greatfulness, success list and concerns are important elements. If I feel it just not that important I just write the topic down and erase it afterwards – I use a laptop since 1993. But one thing Is one of the biggest miracles for me: in my best moments I write down as specific as I can what I really want. Years later, I forgot it totally I realize then how often it just became reality. That gave me so much confidence in using this tool of writing my journal as often as possible
    All the best, Leander from Berlin, Germany

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Amanda Cade says:

      I love that you’ve been journaling so long, and that it continues to enhance your life. 💞

      Liked by 1 person

  9. I enjoyed your post. I, too like to keep a journal. Over the years I’ve kept my ideas, thoughts, things to do, things accomplished, searches I’ve done, travels etc. in a calendar like booklet. And have kept all these calendar booklets, lol. From time to time I go back and read a few to see how much change has happen since then, or just read what happen then (I tend to write history in the making – good stories and not as it’s happening), as well.

    I agree with you it is good therapy. There is something to be said of writing something down, makes it real (if only in your head, and sometimes it makes you strive for that goal), or it can expel the sadness away when you reread what you wrote or makes you laugh at the antics or pictures you either inserted or drawn. And so my reasoning for keeping one.
    Thank you again for sharing. Blessings always.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Amanda Cade says:

      Like you, I also like to write stories and more details about what’s going on (when time permits). In recent years, I’ve really focused on becoming a happier, more positive, and more emotionally healthy person, and the journal is one of the biggest contributors to my improved mindset. That’s why I chose the topic for my inaugural post.
      Thanks so much for sharing your thoughts, and have a wonderful day!

      Liked by 2 people

      1. You are very welcome 🙂 Yes, a positive attitude is an essential key to a happier, healthier you and that spreads to others. Even in the worst of situations God gives us the strength to forge ahead and a healthy mindset helps you learn from it not cave in. Thank you and many blessings be upon you!

        Liked by 2 people

  10. Lisa Mace says:

    I just journaled this morning upon waking: “God loves me more than any person ever could & that will never change”. Thank you for your post. Keep it up, the world needs to hear from those of us who want to spread the light & share how we co-create excellent lives.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Amanda Cade says:

      Thank you so much, Lisa! What a wonderful thought to begin your day. I hope the rest of the day is just as full of positive thoughts and blessings.

      Like

  11. koreahoward says:

    This is a great article Amanda. I like that you take the time to care for yourself. Journaling is a great way to reflect and mindset is everything. I keep 2 voice diaries that I use often. Journaling has been a great form healing for me. Thanks for sharing and continue being awesome!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Amanda Cade says:

      I’ve never thought about voice diaries. I might have to give that a try. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  12. Amazing post Amanda!! I agree with remembering to be thankful the other 364 days a year. Thank you for the great tips 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Amanda Cade says:

      Thanks, Megan! I’m loving the positive vibes on your blog, too. 💞

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I really appreciate it! Thank you so much. I’m just starting out so I really do appreciate your support❤️❤️❤️

        Liked by 1 person

  13. This is great info, and very useful. I do write in various ways to help me navigate through and process my thoughts and emotions. Mainly, I write journal entries and poetry, but one of my favorite recent habits is keeping a prayer journal. I ordered the Prayer Map creative journal from Amazon, and it has been so useful. Each page has space to write what you are thankful for and what you’re worried about, plus who you’re praying for, and areas of need… I’m very pleased with how this practice has helped me.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Amanda Cade says:

      I’ve found that having a specific plan helps to keep me on track and committed. Sounds like the journal you ordered is really working well for you. Thanks so much for sharing your experience!

      Liked by 1 person

  14. davidyochim says:

    Love this.

    Liked by 1 person

  15. robertkwanga says:

    I started journaling a while back. Shortly before I started my own blog. It’s been a very positive experience for me.

    I still have to worry about the time to do said journaling, but atleast I get to do a little of it.

    I’m glad you exploring life using journaling. I’m also someone who believes journaling can be a really creative way to unleash the things we hold back inside us.

    Great work Amanda, how long have you been blogging?(Hope you don’t mind) Your posts are really well written and organised and I love that. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Amanda Cade says:

      Actually, the blog is really new. This was my very first post. I’m so glad you’re enjoying the blog so far!

      Like

      1. robertkwanga says:

        I really am. Being a beginner myself, I can appreciate the amount of work your content took. Really well written. 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

  16. Amanda, I must say bumping into your blog wasn’t a coincidence but heaven sent! Thanks very much! ⭐️⭐️

    Liked by 1 person

  17. Shell Vera says:

    I journal daily, pretty much. Also old fashioned and still do it by hand in a notebook. I find the process of writing helps me destress. I go back through old journals at least once a year to look at patterns, themes, growth, and cycles.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Amanda Cade says:

      The looking back is one of my favorite parts of journaling. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Shell Vera says:

        Mine too when I grow! When I’m stuck in a cycle I become frustrated but I like that I am aware enough to see it and that I can fix it starting the moment I become aware!

        Liked by 1 person

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