As February rolls around, whether or not you buy into the Valentine hooplah, at the very least, notice that Valentine love is in the air. I have never been particularly attached to Valentine’s day, however I do appreciate the reminder to consider all the love in my life; that which I receive, and that which I give.
The Valentine reminder to notice, consider, acknowledge, and act upon our love habits inspired us to give journals to our clients as they begin this new year; so that they can notice, consider, acknowledge, and act upon all of their emotional habits.
In the spirit of this “love month”, I would like to share with you what Davidson (who happens to be my partner in life, love, and business) and I are doing at Physical Culture in a continued effort to help our clients establish habits that bring them joy.
Research published in APA's Journal of Experimental Psychology: General (JEP: General) (Vol. 130, No. 3) indicates that expressive writing reduces anxious thoughts rooted in negativity and improves working memory. Researchers believe that these improvements free up our mental space to live life more fully, in many ways, including our ability to cope more effectively with stress. Co-author Adriel Boals, now a postdoctoral fellow at Duke University, says "[This] suggests that at least for fairly minor life problems, something as simple as writing about the problem for 20 minutes can yield important effects not only in terms of physical health and mental health, but also in terms of cognitive abilities," he says.
(Carpenter, Siri. “A New Reason for Keeping a Diary.” Monitor on Psychology, American Psychological Association, Sept. 2001, www.apa.org/monitor/sep01/keepdiary)
With plenty of compelling research to support the positive physiological and emotional results of a journaling practice, we made journals for all of our clients with hopes they will keep them at the studio and spend a bit of time developing the habit of journaling. These pages don't have to be anything in particular or grande. It can be an acknowledgment of gratitude, an off loading of stressful thoughts, or just a simple doodle. The point is, that journaling of any variety brings awareness and focus to the thought habits that create the results in our lives.
This is not a new concept or practice however, as we have discussed previously, new habits are more likely to stick if you link them to already existing habits, ie coming into the studio to workout. Developing a journaling practice is an incredibly simple way to improve the overall quality of your life and the lives of those around you. Could you use more joy and love in your life? Couldn’t we all? Give journaling a try this month and just see how your life, love, and relationships improve.
Don’t know where to start? Check out this list to give you a jump…
Who am I most grateful for in my life?
Who do I need to say “I love you” to more often?
Who in my life right now needs more of my support?
Who are 5 people I admire most and why?
What am I most grateful for in a relationship?
What are the 3 things I admire most in my spouse/partner/friend?
How does my spouse/partner/friend make me feel loved?
How can I bring more love into my relationships?
Today I would like to __________________ .
One of the greatest life lessons I learned is _______________.