Midlife is a time of transition, reflection, and introspection. We often reasses our lives, taking stock of our achievements, dreams, and goals. We also look for meaning in the challenging, stressful, or negative experiences often associated with midlife, such as relationship breakdown, caring for aging parents, career dissatisfaction, parenting teens, etc.
Mindfulness is a life skill that helps us cope better with these challenging midlife experiences. It helps to lower stress, protect against anxiety and depression, supports better sleep, and improves your mood . Focusing on the present increases self-awareness and helps us gain new perspectives, all helpful when we are looking to create a more authentic, satisfying, meaningful life.
There are many ways to practice mindfulness, some of which include meditation, breathing exercises, mindful movement and being present in nature. But one activity that provides big rewards is mindful journalling, or meditative writing.
What is Mindful Journalling?
Mindfulness is the act of waking up to the present and recognising all that we are experiencing in the moment. Mindful journalling is a way to build this awareness. When we sit down to write we begin by quieting the mind. We focus on the words in much the same way you focus on your breath during meditation. It helps us become more aware of what’s going on in our heart, mind and body, in the here and now. It invites introspection and allows us to examine and safely express our thoughts and feelings. It gives us a space to reflect on the world, ourself, and the way we are living.
Journalling is a mindfulness practice that can be rich and meaningful. It allows us to dialogue with ourselves and learn what we are feeling and thinking. This is an important aspect of personal development at midlife. We must learn to take direction from our own inner voice rather than from of our parents, bosses or society. We can then redefine our identity for ourselves and create a life that aligns with what feels meaningful to us now. This is what helps promote psychological wellbeing at midlife.
My clients find journalling to be a helpful way of tracking and recording thoughts and feelings, especially between counselling sessions. These experiences can then be addressed and processed during therapy sessions.
Journalling can help you to:
- create the space to reflect on events from the day
- identify fears or concerns that may come up that cause stress, anxiety or life dissatisfaction
- reflect on challenges and navigate difficult emotions
- get some distance from your thoughts by looking at them rather than being in them
- recognise the triggers that lead to unhelpful thoughts and behaviours
- practice positive self-talk to build confidence
How to Benefit from Mindful Journalling
Writing is a focused activity that turns the attention inward. It allows us to slow down our thinking mind, notice what we are feeling, reflect on our experience and record our observations.
There is no right or wrong way to journal mindfully.
You might find it helpful to:
- Use mindfulness prompts to guide you. They can help guide your focus and inspire deeper reflections.
- Follow your changing thoughts, and record them as they flow. This is a mindfulness exercise in tracking the movements of the mind moment to moment.
- Reflect on things you feel grateful for, bringing your attention to the positive experiences in each day.
- Set yourself themes to focus on. You might reflect calmly on aspects of life that feel unresolved, for example career, relationships, parenting etc .
There is no limit to what mindful journalling could look like, but most importantly make it your own. Write at your own pace and express yourself in your own way, without being critical or judgemental. Focus on the process more than the product, and the opportunity for self reflection and expression.
Mindful journalling is a way of spending quality time with ourselves. It creates a space to reflect on our own needs and desires, helping us find our true north. There is also relief that comes with honest expression, which in turn reduces stress and leaves us better able to cope with the daily challenges of midlife.
If you would like help getting started I have created the perfect Mindfulness Journal, complete with 30 days of writing prompts. Get your FREE copy below.
About Michelle Seelig
Michelle Seelig is a Counsellor, Meditation Teacher and Coach working with women to help them get unstuck, rediscover the joy and meaning in their lives and ultimately grow into the person they were truly meant to become. If your journalling practice brings up thoughts or feelings that you would like help processing, book a Complimentary Discovery Call over here and together we can discuss your unique needs.
Receive your FREE Mindfulness Journal, designed to support your mindfulness journey.
With 30 days of writing prompts this journal will help you cultivate mindfulness in daily life.