Dear friends and family,

Hope you are keeping well and safe. I am very happy to share with you a 5-part series on Mindful Journaling in collaboration with CollinsDebden, the makers of fine journals and diaries. These are powerful ways in which you can begin building up your immunity in preparation for the time when we can all come out and rejoice in each other’s company. Stay safe and stay strong!

1.0 Staying Calmly Active and Actively Calm: Introduction to Mindful Journaling

As we navigate these uncertain times, we are surrounded by unfortunate news whilst adapting to a new life of social distancing, self-isolation, quarantines, working from home and home-based learning. In such a scenario, it’s vital that we remain ‘Calmly Active and Actively Calm’. A quiet mind in the midst of incessant chatter is what we should be aiming for. But how do we attain such a state of calm?

Embracing our vulnerability 

Firstly, we need to acknowledge that the feeling of fear, anxiety or worry is normal, and we are not alone! It is not in any way a sign of weakness. If at all, it’s a sign of strength. It’s a sign that the body, mind and soul are awakening to a new reality that recognises the preciousness of life. You want to live!Acknowledge the emotion that you feel and say to yourself, “It’s fine to feel whatever I am feeling at this moment.” Embrace your vulnerability and let it go.

Practicing mindfulness and maintaining a positive frame of mind

Looking on the bright side, this pandemic gives us the much-needed opportunity to pause, take-stock and spend time on ourselves.  

As we adapt to our new schedules and routines, it is essential to maintain healthy habits and a positive mind-set to take on the new challenges. In other words, mindfulness. 

What is mindfulness?

Mindfulness is what arises when you pay attention, on purpose, in the present moment, non-judgmentally, and as if your life depended on it. And what arises is nothing other than awareness itself.

Mind Based Stress Reduction (MBSR), Jon Kabbat-Zinn, Ph.D

What is Mindful Journaling and how can it help? 

Mindful Journaling is a process which takes you through a short mindfulness exercise before you write. Sensory-based Mindful Journaling sessions that include visualisation exercises are a great way to take you away from the internal and external noise, quieten your inner critique and unlock your latent creativity. 

You will learn to listen to your own voice. You will be guided through a visualization process to bring out what’s within you in this series of articles. You will start writing spontaneously without a care about correctness. You will write from your heart. And be surprised by what you discover. 

As a first step, find yourself a quiet spot in your home with a journal and pen within reach. Begin with the short mindfulness exercise as follows

1. Sit comfortably

Find a comfortable position to sit down. Sit upright and make adjustments if necessary. By doing so, it allows you to show an act of loving kindness to yourself. 

2. Relax and Meditate

Drop your gaze and close your eyes gently. Begin by taking a deep breath through your nose, releasing the air through your mouth. Watch the passage of your breath as you inhale and exhale. 

3. Pay attention to your breath

Breathe in and out deeply but slowly with intentionality…watch what it is you feel in your body; observe the gentle expansion of your abdomen or chest as you inhale and the gentle contraction as you exhale. Repeat this for 6 times or until you feel calm.

4. Breathe naturally and observe

Allow your breathing to return to normal and observe the passage of air as you would as an outsider. Be amazed by the flow of air that gives you life. Repeat 3 times or until you feel calm. 

5. Allow your thoughts to flow from within 

Whenever you find thoughts entering your mind, acknowledge your thoughts and let them go with loving kindness. Focusing on the breath, gently return the mind to the present moment, telling yourself that it is natural for your mind to stray. 

6. Be grateful and embrace the present 

Bring a gentle smile into your face. Feel the corners of your lips rise gently to form a kind smile. Visualise that smile spreading quietly and slowly up your cheeks and to your eyes, like an early morning sun, radiating throughout your body, making it warm and relaxed. For the last moments of this meditation, bring your smile to your breath and be grateful for every breath that you take.

And now you are ready to put pen to paper, follow these tips on Mindful Journaling.

1.1 Getting Started: 6 Tips on Mindful Journaling

Pouring your anxieties and sorrows, your fears and worries, and your joys and amusements onto a blank page can be immensely therapeutic. The blank page in your journal can be a non-judgmental friend, a confidante, a buddy, a casual acquaintance or brutally honest critique…it can be anything you want it to be. 

Though writing or journaling is perceived by some to be challenging, Mindful Journaling can be a pleasurable and effortless experience. 

In this calm state, follow this set of useful tips and start penning down your thoughts into your journal.

1. Make a list of 7 to 8 beautiful moments in your life. 

Give yourself 5 minutes to make a quick list in bullet points. Don’t think too much…let it come spontaneously

2. Run through your list quickly and select one that you would like to write about

Put a star against it

3. Write for 5 to 10 minutes freely about this beautiful moment.

Pen down your thoughts continually without judgement nor worrying about spelling, grammar, sentence constructions and/or choice of just write and let the pen lead the way. Trust the pen to take you deep into your consciousness and stop writing when you are satisfied

4. Read what you have written to yourself without judgement

5. Highlight phrases that made that moment beautiful for you

6. Reflect on what you have written 

What surprised you? What did you discover about the moment? What did you discover about yourself? What did you discover about your writing? How did it make you feel? What were some emotions that you felt?

With these 6 handy tips, you may want to develop the writing further and jot down your reflections. Share this piece of journaling with a family member or friend. Post it on your blog or social media and tag us @collinsdebdensg #JournalwithCollins. 

Or keep it all between you and the journal. 

For more information on how Mindful Journaling can help us during these uncertain times, follow our social media accounts on Instagram and Facebook and stay tuned to the latest instalment of our Blog Articles. 

Till then, keep the journaling practice going! Take short breaks during the day to quieten your mind and write on your favourite Collins Debden journals. 

Haven’t got your hands on our stylish journals? Here are our recommendations for you:

Shalini Damodaran is passionate about writing and coaching others to write. She was a teacher educator, specialised in the teaching of writing at the English Language Institute of Singapore.
Shalini Damodaran is passionate about writing and coaching others to write. She was a teacher educator, specialised in the teaching of writing at the English Language Institute of Singapore.
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