As well as following an anti-inflammatory diet and doing yoga, I keep a five minute daily journal and it has transformed my mental wellbeing. Being in chronic debilitating pain day after day, month after month can lead to depression and impacts your mental health. It sounds ridiculously simple but taking a few minutes to note down the positives in my life has had a dramatic impact.
Before gaining control of my endo pain I was extremely depressed and I’m ashamed to say at times I didn’t feel my life was worth living. If it wasn’t for my amazing husband who always knows what to do and my beautiful kids, offering their love and support I honestly don’t know where I’d be. Now I’ve recovered to a level I can manage my illness, I continue to keep a daily journal and constantly notice myself growing as a patient, Mum, wife and yoga teacher. Even now, I notice when I haven’t journaled for a couple of days and always resort back to my little book!
This transformation didn’t happen over night, I had to stick with it and sometimes came up against resistance, but by persisting with it for just a few minutes each day the benefits have been well worth it! Each day I write three things I’m grateful for, another three that would make my day great and a daily affirmation. The journal is designed to help you set the tone for the rest of the day and answering these questions helps to create positive habits. Before I go to bed I write three amazing things that happened to me during that day and how I could have made it even better. It’s amazing what you begin to notice and how your mindset changes when you observe the positive things in your life instead of focusing on the negatives. It wasn’t until I’d been doing the journal for several months that I recognised and accepted how depressed I’d become and it explained a lot about my behaviour, including my mood swings and tiredness.
Admittedly, when I first started keeping a journal I was sceptical, but I was inspired by the scientific evidence that shows keeping a daily gratitude journal leads to better sleep, reductions in stress and physical pain, a greater sense of well-being and a better ability to handle change. Since keeping my own journal I’ve even bought my kids their own so they’re grateful too for the amazing things that they have and to bring about joyful happiness as they go through the challenges of life. This is not an easy subject to share, but I hope by raising awareness, journaling may also bring positive changes to other peoples lives.