As I mentioned here, I spent most of 2016 trying to get better and more consistent with journaling my thoughts.
I have to admit I really only dabbled - I preferred doing yoga and some meditation in the morning and by the time I was ready for bed, the thought of writing pages on my inner most musings sounded exhausting.
Even though I saw benefits from journaling, including more gratitude and better sleep, it never really stuck.
So far in 2017 I have been much more consistent with the practice and am using Brooke Castillo’s strategy of thought downloads.
So how does my thought download routine work?
- I spend 5 minutes in the morning writing down all the thoughts in my head so I can start to look at them.
- I run the self coaching model on one of my overriding thoughts. I identify the circumstance/fact that has brought on the thought, then note down my feelings, actions and results from here. I often do this once for the default way I’m thinking, then once for how I would like to be thinking.
- I note down the dominant emotion I felt the day before, and the desired emotion I want to feel today (for example, today’s proposed desired emotion is ‘inspired’).
And what have I noticed?
- I am grumpy in the morning! At first I felt a little worried by my thought downloads, but now I go back and have a little snicker at how irritable I was and how I didn’t continue feeling that way throughout the day.
- In line with the first point, I’m learning again that my thoughts are not the truth. So if I feel a certain way when I wake up, or am thinking certain thoughts, I don’t have to carry those same ideas with me throughout my day.
- It’s great to have an anchor emotion to focus on. I’ve been pretty good at sticking to my desired emotion for the day but I have had a few days where ‘overwhelmed’ was my number one emotion. I can then go back and look at how I got to a less desired emotion, and how I could have thought and acted to get to the emotion I wanted instead.
I’ll keep you posted on the progress of this practice but so far I’m enjoying being more conscious about my thoughts and the day ahead. As Brooke says:
Let me know in the comments below if you try the thought download practice of if you have another journaling technique you use.