My life is chaotic. Always has been. 2022 was chaotic good for me, but still chaotic. I’ve done, learned and experienced so many things this year. Sometimes, it’s difficult for me to keep track of what happened. As a result, I frequently got overwhelmed, and I forgot to reflect on all the positive things that happened to me.
I’m sure this is relatable to some of you. Sometimes, you forget about all the things you’ve accomplished, because one teeny tiny negative thing is bothering you, or because you’re busy completing too many tasks at the same time.
Especially September was an eventful month for me. I went on an awesome interrail trip, but I also experienced some less fun events. On top of that, I was insecure about the past, present, and future (yay, imposter syndrome). As result of all of this, I was quite stressed during the first Fall months.
But then, I decided it was time to change stuff. I started meditating and journaling. And honestly, both activities have helped me a lot. I gained clarity and I discovered joy, while navigating the chaotic good year of 2022. Let’s share my journey with you.
I’m not sure anymore what made me do it, but on a random Friday, I decided to leave the office two hours earlier. I felt a bit burnt out: I was in a massive creative rut, wasn’t productive and many thoughts were bothering me.
I decided to buy myself a book (HA, high school teachers — I read books now!). Interestingly, this book wasn’t about Copywriting, Psychology or Influence. No: I bought a book about meditation.
I’ve heard so many positive words about meditation and mindfulness, but I always seemed to be pessimistic about doing these activities. But on that specific Friday night, I gave it a try. I read 40 pages of that book, and then did my first meditation session.
The purpose of meditating is to clear your mind, give you a sense of calm and peace. And this benefits your emotional well-being and your overall health. Meditation: Take a stress-reduction break wherever you are – Mayo Clinic
So there I went. I focused on my breathing and I tried not focusing too much on other things. Yes, of course, sometimes my mind wandered. But then I tried refocusing again.
The longer I meditated, the calmer I felt. I realized that the emotional brain had taken over the rational one. Many things I worried about, weren’t even that important. My busy and chaotic brain was making up stories that didn’t make sense at all. But I needed that meditation session to realize that.
And the more I meditate, the calmer I get. When I meditate now, I often recall little things that made my day, or I get creatively inspired. The blog you’re reading right now is the result of a meditation session.
The latter part of October and the beginning of November were awesome. I’ve done so many things. And then I realized: Hey, but I also did so many cool things back in February, March, August, July, May etc. I just lost track of them because I am so busy.
Our brains can’t save everything. Luckily, we have an external drive, which is our computer (or the traditional pen and paper).
Journaling brings along many benefits, such as tracking your process and growth, gaining self-confidence, reducing stress, finding inspiration and strengthening your memory. 7 benefits of keeping a journal | Kaiser Permanente . So indeed, journaling can be great if you are forgetful and/or you are living a chaotic life.
I decided to give journaling a go, right after I returned from my second holiday trip in November. Each day, I try to answer myself the following 5 questions:
- What am I grateful for?
- What have I done today? And what have I learnt?
- What do I still need to do?
- What’s bothering me right now?
- What could I improve in the future?
When I answer all these questions each day, I get so much more insight into my professional and my personal life.
I’ve been journaling for nearly one month already, and it is so cool to see and remind myself of all the answers I’ve given, of all the things I’ve done, of everything I’ve learned, and of the progress I’m seeing.
And when rereading my entire journal, I’m grateful for everything I experienced in November and I’m proud of all the things I’ve learned.
If you want to navigate the rough sea that’s called life, you sometimes need to step back and reflect. That’s why meditating helped me. I use 30 minutes of my entire week to just sit somewhere and do nothing but breathe and think. No, I wasn’t even using my phone.
Next, you should also create a path for yourself you want to travel, and you should remember the road you’ve travelled. And that’s why journaling has helped me.
By combining journaling and meditation, I could recall the tiny moments that gave me joy, and nuance the moments that made me stress. And I’m certainly reminding myself of the importance of these two activities once I’m in a stressful period again.