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How Mindfulness, Journaling and Setting Intentions Has Helped with My Anxiety.

Did you write down your intentions on the international day where we’re all supposed to it? January 1st seems to be the date we’re all expected to hit the ground running, but what happens when we don’t feel motivated or inspired on that day? The truth is, nothing happens. Because we are multi-faceted individuals, and we have so many things that influence our desires and sense of motivation. Not to mention, if you live in a part of the world where January 1st means cold weather and snow on the ground, that puts a damper on inspiration sometimes too. Things aren't growing in nature right now, so why do we expect our bodies to feel motivated and ready to go?

If January 1st wasn’t your day(it wasn’t for me this year), and you haven’t reflected on last year or made intentions for the coming year, I’m here to tell you that it’s okay! And if you need some tips on how to get started, how I reflect on the previous year, what types of intentions I write and how I make this a sustainable practice that I do multiple times a year, I’m here to share!

First, Let Me Tell You a Little About Me:

About 3 years ago, I started to notice feelings of anxiety bubbling up a lot. I mean, I've always felt anxious, for most of my life. But I had just graduated from Holistic Nutrition school, and this was a second career for me, and I kind of felt like a fish out of water, not knowing what steps to take next. That's around the time I started working with a counsellor and spiritual coach, and started exploring concepts like mindfulness and the law of attraction(the idea that our thoughts and behaviours are energy, and "like energy attracts like energy" when it comes to people and experiences in life). I started to talk more about what I was what I was really feeling deep down. I started to take time to sit quietly more often. To pause, and reflect more often. And I started writing in my journal, with things I was grateful for, things I wanted to reflect on, and things I wanted to create moving forward. I started writing down more of my intentions for the day, the week and even the year. And it was always so cool to see what was created in my life as a result of those intentions. I started to focus on how I want to feel, rather than goals I wanted to achieve by a certain age. Soon, I really did start to feel in those ways I had listed, and before I knew it, things were happening in my life, just the way I had imagined, and I started to feel lighter and lighter every day. Until I finally felt different. I remember saying to my counsellor "now I realize, the feeling I was feeling before, those knots in my tummy that were just always there, that was anxiety". I was only able to identify it and realize what a relief it was to not feel that way now that I was looking back. It made me realize what a weight I had been living with for so many years, thinking that there was likely nothing I could do about it because maybe it was just who I was as a person. Now I know, that there is always something we can do about it: about how we feel, what we experience in life, about getting to where we want to be. Because I believe we are the creators of our life. When we stop, slow down and pay attention a little more, when we identify how we feel and how we want to feel, and learn how to express it all in a way that resonates with us, we start to have a little more awareness of our surroundings, and gradually start to feel lighter. These are some things I've learned and incorporated into my practice over the years..

3 Things Before You Get Started:

A reminder I often need is that motivation comes in waves. In life, sometimes we’re going to feel motivated, and sometimes we're not. This is a natural process. The sooner I remind myself of that, the sooner I start to be kinder and more patient with myself, and trust that my body will feel motivated again when it's ready. If you’re not feeling in the mood to sit down and reflect and write intentions right now, here’s some things you can do to prepare and set the tone:

1. Find a cute notebook or journal: something you think is pretty or one that really speaks to you. This way, you'll be encouraged to use it more often.

2. Think of, or assign a space for reflecting and writing: somewhere quiet, without distractions, so it can be a place where you feel calm and relaxed.

3. Choose a time of the day that works for you and your schedule: this can literally be any time, and you get to deterine for how long. But either way, set and block off the time in your mind.

Reflecting on Last Year is a Good Starting Point:

The first thing I do, before moving into what my intentions are for this coming year, season, or period in my life, is reflect on what I learned from my past. In any given year or time period, we all have ups and downs, and we don’t need to judge those as successes or failures, or focus on the people and what was "done to us". What we want to do instead is look at the big picture, and what those experiences may have taught us. I find when I start looking at it that way, and I write those things down, I’m better able to move forward into this year with a clearer vision of what I want. Here are some reflection prompts you can use in your journal:

Whether you wrote down your answers for all 5 of these, just the first one, or none of them, just the act of sitting quietly for a few moments to read through and reflect in your mind can be helpful in creating a nice peaceful energy to move forward with.

Focusing on Intentions:

Instead of setting the typical goals that tend to fizzle away shortly after we set them, I've been focusing on setting intentions instead. For me, setting an intention means attaching it to a feeling. For example, if I want to feel inspired in my day, I start to look at some the physical things and practices I can start doing that help to create that feeling for me. My favourite example is "making my bed in the mornings". I know that when I do this, I not only feel accomplished afterwards, like I can check something off my to do list that day, but it also helps me feel comfortable, less cluttered and more inspired when I come back into my room at the end of the day. I can easily just write that down on my list of things to do each day, but I find it really "sticks" when I do it because I want to promote a feeling. So I would write in my journal:

"I want to feel inspired and motivated today"

And then I would list all the things I could do that make me feel that way:

1. Make my bed in the morning.

2. Do a 10 minute meditation

3. Write a to-do list for my day

Some people like to make intention lists daily, at the beginning of each month, or at the beginning of the year. Feel free to do what works for you.

Ideas for Daily Journaling:

Journaling can be a powerful way to manifest what you want in life, or it can be used as a way to get your thoughts on paper, so you can feel lighter. I use my journal for a little bit of both. I write down all my big ideas, all the things I want to call in and manifest into my life, and all the things that are making me feel tight and anxious so I can get it out. Here are some of the prompts I use:

You can do this one any time, but I like to do it around the New Moon each month, so that I can clear old beliefs, and make room for new ones:

This one is something I typically only do a couple of times a year(or any time I feel like I'm not clear on what I want in life and I'm not able to attract the things that make me feel good). If there are categories in your life you want to add, you can do that too:

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