Have you noticed that working these days seems more tiring? I do pretty much what I was doing before. The “only” difference is that kids are always at home. And of course, we have constant information noise about the current situation. Even if we limit access to the television, the news comes to our minds one way or another. I compare the current situation to a long-haul flight with no noise cancellation headphones. There is a constant sound of engines and air that makes us more tired at the end of our journey. I would like to propose three mindfulness practices that will help to stay sane in a crisis, but also be more positive about the surrounding world.
Grab your thoughts with journaling practice 💭 🖊
One thing that we could do about the constant stream of thoughts is to try to catch them. This is where journaling comes in handy. We need to sit down and write what is in our heads at the moment. It could be a paper form, and it could be a digital form. It is that simple. Simple, but not easy. It takes some time to get to this habit, to find needed time and to experiment when it is the best moment. Some folks recommend starting in the morning. We can also create some automation to help us to do something that Michael Sliwinski calls “intermittent journaling”. He writes about it and shares some good ideas in his post How intermittent journaling and some smart Siri shortcuts help me enjoy more intentional and productive days.
When we implement journaling to our evening routine, we can notice a lot of things from the passing day. It will also help to “close” the day and to have a better sleep. We can close all those open loops in our head that unconsciously keep us alerted. Have you ever gone to bed, tried to sleep, only to stand up and note something for next day? The thought was so good, or so urgent that kept bubbling up and preventing from a sound sleep. Journaling can help to clear the mind and have a better rest.
Be grateful with 5-minute journal 📔
I struggled in the beginning to find the time and to get to the habit of capturing my thoughts. Where do I start? What do I want to write about? It was like this until I listened to one of the episodes of Tim Ferriss Show where he was talking about the 5-minute journal.
It doesn’t matter what situation we are in, there is always something to be grateful for. Even the simple fact we can breathe it is already a good reason to be thankful.
For some of us, being thankful is not natural. Fortunately, it is something that we can train. The 5-minute journal method is simple and easy to practice every day. It doesn’t require a lot of time, just, well, 5 minutes. We can modify questions. The suggestion is to start simple and do it every day to create a habit. It will help to re-program our minds to be more appreciative, to see what is around us and to stay more positive.
I am grateful for:
What would make today a great day?
Daily affirmations - I am…
Three amazing things that happened today:
Thank one person for something that they did for you.
How could have I made today better:
You will probably notice after a few first days that you quickly run out of ideas. Here are some tips to help you.
- relationships (spouse, parents, kids, friends, co-workers, etc.)
- opportunity you have today
- something great that happened
- something simple – something near you, coffee, cloud, tree etc.
It is amazing what happens after a while of practising 5-minute journaling. I started seeing the whole new parallel reality around me. I am being amazed by things that I would typically walk by unnoticed. Little bird in my garden, funny shape of clouds, or simple fact I was able to play with my kids on Sunday afternoon. What is interesting, gratefulness is contagious. I see my kids already picking it up. They can spot some little treasure moments during the day, stop and say it out loud. This is amazing.
Collect good memories and have them handy with Jar of Awesomeness 🏺 📝
Continuing the topic of capturing our thoughts, I would like to propose another mindfulness practice that may keep you sane in situations of crisis. Thanks to a 5-minute journal, we can start noticing that the world around us is beautiful and there are good and sometimes funny things happening all the time. While journaling practice is more for personal use. We sometimes catch intimate thoughts, and like any other journal or diary, we probably want to keep them just for ourselves.
Sometimes, however, we would like to collect memories and go back to them with our families and friends. Another time we need a bit of uplifting. The solution: set up the Jar of Awesomeness. It could be just an empty jar, tin, box, or another container, preferably with some lid. The idea is to start collecting small cards written with short stories, sentences or funny facts from everyday life. I usually add the date with an indication of what day of the week the situation happened.
We can use the same tip for the category and write cards about
- small wins
- things that we enjoyed
- good stuff that happened
Mindfulness Practices that help to stay sane
One of the reasons why we do not feel happy every day is the fact that we do not live today, we only care about what happened yesterday, or worry about what will happen tomorrow. Sounds trivial, but it is so. We are thinking too much about what we have lost or what we want to achieve. There is not enough time here and now with what I have.
The practices that I shared in this post help to stop for a moment and capture short moments. They help to notice the situations when it turns out how good we are at the given moments. How happy we are with the people around us. And really how rich we are. Rich in knowledge, relationships, and everyday experiences.
A side effect of practising mindfulness, especially being grateful, is the fact that we began to see good in the world around us. First just to “save” it and put to the jar or put it into a journal, but in time, it helps us to see the world with different optics. The perception of the reality around us changes, complaints disappear because the head is busy noticing different things.
Lessons learned during this coffee journey ☕️
- our brain is a powerful weapon, it could be used to create, innovate and appropriate the surrounding world, but it also can be destroying force when we expose ourselves to negative thoughts for a lot time
- fortunately our brain has fantastic plasticity, and it can be trained and programmed
- we can follow certain mindfulness practices to be more positive and to stay sane in the situation of crisis
- journaling, capturing our thoughts in some form of written notes can help to change the optic we see the surrounding world, the situation that we are in, and, perception of people who are wound us.
- Day One App for journaling
- 5 minute journal App
- 8 journaling techniques for better mental health
- Full digital journaling automation with hands-free dictation
- Michael Sliwinski: Journaling Shortcuts
- Tim Ferriss: Magic of mindfulness
Cover photo: 2015, sunset in Cyprus 🇨🇾
Do you have any practices that help you to stay sane? Do you practice mindfulness?
Thanks for reading!
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