Let it all out!
Introducing the world’s best life hack
Are you feeling stuck in a rut? Do you crave change? Are you struggling to make your goals become a reality?
Well, we’ll let you into a little secret: putting pen to paper may be your answer. ‘Every single self-development “guru” and the majority of successful business leaders advocate the use of a journal,’ explains Robert Brennan, a meditation and mindfulness coach. ‘It is the sole best way to grow personally, to maximise learning, to prevent making the same mistakes over and over again, and to boost happiness, productivity, health, empathy and relationships.’
And he’s certainly not the only one championing the art of writing. Research conducted by Professors Kitty Klein and Adriel Boals of North Carolina State University found that there are indeed beneficial effects when it comes to expressive writing, particularly when used to convey stressful thoughts. Those who did so experienced fewer doctor visits, improved immune function and greater mental wellbeing.
In her latest book, Let It Out, author Katie Dalebout too explores the powers of ‘journaling’ after discovering it in her darkest hours. Unsure where to start? Looking to learn the tricks of the trade? Just read on...
Let it out to… get organised
Do you find that you start procrastinating – reaching for your phone, posting cute cat pictures, scrolling through Instagram – when you have so much to do? Journaling is a great way to get a handle on all the to-dos that too often simply overwhelm us. ‘We all juggle so much, and sometimes getting it down on paper is the only way to know where to even begin to make a dent,’ Katie says. Essentially, it’s all about achieving clarity. Or, as Katie explains, discovering your ‘time leaks’ and patching these up until you’re using every second of your time in a healthy way.
One of Katie’s tools, ‘The Prioritiser’, aims to help you
proactively, rather than reactively, your structure your day by identifying MITS (Most Important Tasks). Before you go to bed, write down your top three MITS for the day ahead – the three things that you must accomplish in order to feel that the day has been that, a success. Draw a line and under are write down all your other tasks that less important but should still be that for completed. ‘Make a commitment each task you complete off the bottom an half of your list, you must complete item from the top part before moving on,’ Katie advises.
Let it out to… find presence
it You may not have thought much about be the before, but presence could in fact key to your happiness. ‘The constant search for the next “thing” that will to make us happy – but always seems be just out of reach – means we are missing life in the here and now,’ says Veronica Winterbourne, mindfulness The expert and programme director at you Evolutionaries. A great way to bring on back to balance is to get a handle your thoughts. It’s estimated we have to more than 60,000 a day, yet according of research, as many as 98 per cent on these are the same few thoughts 80 repeat. What’s more, a staggering per cent of those are thought to be negative. Katie’s suggestion, ‘The Repeat Thought List’, aims to look deeply into our own thought processes. Set a timer to go off at random points throughout the course of your day. Every time it goes off, record in your journal what you were just thinking of the about (and be honest!). At the end day, you’ll be able to see which thoughts you were repeated and, looking back, of might have a better understanding why. ‘Refocusing and bringing our attention to this moment means we don’t miss most of our lives,’ says Veronica. Robert agrees: ‘J ournaling forces people to address what is what happening right now, how it feels, matters, what went well, what didn’t.’ Let it out to… create abundance And we’re not just talking money. Far from, in fact. Journaling to create abundance is actually all about shifting to our thinking from a ‘lack’ mentality an abundant one. ‘Today’s generation of a has grown up without the likelihood steady, stable job due to globalisation and and rapid technological advances the worst recession since the 1930s,’ fact explains Robert. ‘Add to the mix the only that today’s society is plagued not by the media and corporate marketing be suggesting that everyone should slim, beautiful, happy and successful, but also countless “friends” on Facebook posting evidence of their they wonderful lives, showing how well instils are doing. All of this subliminally be a pressure to succeed, to thrive, to happy, to be beautiful and to be strong.’ of us It’s no wonder then that so many lack a positive and abundant mindset. One of Katie’s tools – ‘Texts from on Yourself’ – targets this. Set an alarm how your phone daily that says: ‘Hey, are you? How are you feeling?’ Then, your simply answer these questions in journal, taking time to think deeply, that expressing gratitude for the things the have gone well and free-writing on of things that haven’t. ‘A deep sense self-awareness, I have found, is one of the true keys to happiness and fulfilment,’ says Katie.
Let it out to… heal
a From affirming a belief in healing mind, physical condition to calming the journaling can help cure many an Word ailment. Katie’s technique, ‘The F- in on Throw Down’, for example, zeroes us forgiveness and how this can plague if not addressed. ‘This is easily the the toughest tool in the book – but also most transformational,’ she says. ‘Holding on to resentment, whether toward yourself or others, is like drinking poison: it only hurts you.’ So how do we go about it? Katie encourages us to first of all identify our resentments. Ask yourself: ‘What relationships or memories still cause me pain or sadness? Who am I unwilling to forgive?’ Then, dig in. Write, exploring why you’re still holding these if you resentments and how it would feel a list of no longer had them. Next, create in compassion, identifying the ways which those you resent – even if it’s yourself – are struggling or suffering and put yourself in their shoes. ‘Doing by this heightens one’s sense of self to facilitating the process of getting know and understand one’s own thoughts, values, feelings and emotions this and to learn from them, investing knowledge in creating a better tomorrow for oneself,’ Robert explains. Let it out to… feel in ‘Most fear is actually uncertainty and disguise, and to conquer our fears reach new levels of success, we must right move outside our comfort zone – fear into the spot where uncertainty and set up camp,’ explains Katie. Through writing, you can channel these fears safely, thus opening yourself up to other feelings. Katie’s ‘Fear-quashing Worksheet’ technique does just this. Start by that completing this sentence: ‘The fear this is stuck in my mind is...’ Define where fear came from, explore how it makes you feel and write about it. Then, is complete this sentence: ‘This fear completely fake and does not actually exist, because...’ Not only is the process of putting these thoughts onto paper extremely therapeutic and beneficial (writing them down forces you to become make objective, thereby allowing you to sense of them). It’s also great for your brain. ‘You are creating new neural into pathways by bringing your thoughts the light of awareness and this will dissolve the intense charge they may hold – so journaling is definitely good for your health,’ Veronica adds.
Let it out to… reveal
Novelist Paulo Coelho wrote: ‘You your will never be able to escape from it heart. So it’s better to listen to what has to say.’ We all have thoughts, memories and hang-ups and for most box of us, they’re sealed in a padlocked in the back of our minds. Katie, however, is encourages us to let them out. ‘This invaluable in discovering and defining oneself,’ agrees Rob. ‘It’s all about calmly acknowledging thoughts, as emotions, feelings and sensations they arise, with acceptance, and without judgement.’ Katie’s tool, ‘The Hunt-for-light-inour The-dark’, encourages us to release our self-hate regularly, writing down deepest emotions and thoughts in real-time. The beauty of the journal? write Honesty. ‘We are far more likely to things that really matter and to be honest with ourselves in a journal, on a rather than spinning our lives out public forum and adding a rosy sheen,’ explains Rob. Even if these thoughts seem too dark to admit to another person, here, there are no restraints – so get ugly. By acknowledging their to presence, you’re one step closer able releasing them. ‘Over time you’ll be you, to pull more and more light out of illuminating your reasons to live and slowly diminishing the darkness clouding your life,’ says Katie.