Author: Anna Frinzi
Jump starting creativity, helping to form a solid self care routine, and allowing you to reflect on your behaviors, thoughts, actions, and emotions simply by jotting them down, are just a few of the benefits of getting into the habit of journaling. It can feel overwhelming to know where to start with journaling as there are various forms and ways to do it. We created this 7 day challenge for you to start small and try out a few of the most common journaling methods, to see what works and develop your personal style.
Day 1: Gratitude journaling
Let’s start with a popular form of journaling: gratitude. Write down three things you’re grateful for, no matter how insignificant they may seem. Starting the morning with gratitude and a cup of tea or coffee can assist in channeling that positivity into the rest of the day. Noting gratitude has been linked to fewer depressive symptoms as demonstrated in research by the Journal of Cognition and Emotion.
Day 2: Bullet journaling
Bullet journaling can take many forms and is a great way to organize your thoughts in a clear, straightforward way. This earlier blog post does a phenomenal job of explaining the basics of bullet journaling and how to start. The list making style of bullet journaling can also help with organization and be a beneficial stress management strategy as well.
Day 3: Freeform journaling
Set a timer for 5-10 minutes, depending on how much time you have, and jot down each and every thought, idea, image that comes to mind no matter how outrageous or bizarre. This journaling practice is not meant to make sense and does not require order or even complete sentences. It’s meant to spark that spontaneity and get the creative juices flowing!
Day 4: Dream or vision board
Take today to create a vision board with all of your wishes, dreams, and ultimate goals on it in any way that appeals to you. You can create this visually with images, or simply write it down. There are no rules on how to create your dream board, as it is ultimately your creation. Do what feels right for you and what inspires you.
Consider this as you create your dream board: What excites you? What makes getting out of bed each morning worth it? What motivates you to take care of yourself? When do you feel the most alive and vital? What are your ultimate hopes and dreams for the future 5 years, 10 years, etc.?
Try reflecting on your Noom Super Goal and your Big Picture Goal for your health as you complete this journaling exercise.
Day 5: Activity journaling
While using Noom, you’re encouraged to log your food and exercise in order to stay within your personalized calorie budget, and to have an accurate indicator of calories in and calories out to achieve that goal weight in a realistic time frame. Today’s focus will be your exercise and activity level. Make today’s goal to get in some extra movement, whether it be dancing in your kitchen or walking mindfully outside. Take those extra steps by using the stairs instead of the elevator, walk the dog longer, park your car farther away, and note your step count. Journal your movements from today accurately in the app, or take the extra step to note it on paper as well.
Day 6: Food journaling
Noom prioritizes food logging with its state-of-the-art food database system. You may be used to logging food in the app with Noom but take today’s challenge to be extremely intentional with this process. If you’ve come to a lull with logging, or find it painstakingly tedious, try this challenge with an open mind, and consider the benefits of being aware of what you are choosing to nourish your body. With today’s food journaling, try to enjoy one meal mindfully by utilizing this article, and discover the benefits of eating while staying attuned to your senses.
Day 7: Emotion journaling
Identify your top three emotions that you’ve felt the most strongly this week. You can use the Noom emotion wheel to identify those main emotions if you’d like. After identifying those three emotions, create a column under each emotion, and note how this emotion has affected you this week and what led to these feelings. In what situations did you feel this particular emotion most strongly? How did this emotion fluctuate throughout the week? What are the positives and negatives of this emotion? Complete this practice in each column for each of the three emotions chosen. After completing these different journaling methods, reflect on which one or two styles resonated with you the most. Ask yourself: Does this way of journaling feel like something you want to continue doing? What benefits did you notice? What insights did you gain? Journaling is not for everyone, but there are health benefits that are worth considering. Psychologist James Pennebaker at the University of Texas at Austin discovered through numerous studies that journaling boosts immune function, and improves t-helper cell growth in patients with illnesses such as HIV/AIDS, asthma and arthritis. Extensive research by Pennebaker found that expressing yourself on paper reduces stress, and noting these stressors and emotions has a direct positive effect on physical and mental health.
Journaling provides a gateway for that introspection on life, problem-solving techniques, self-expression, and personal growth and development that is the heart of Noom. Way to step up to the challenge and journal on!