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Five Journaling Prompts That Will Change Your Life

Five Journaling Prompts That Will Change Your Life

Why you should pick up a pen and paper today

Journaling (also known as “expressive writing”) offers a multitude of psychological benefits such as the chance to release anger, to make sense of difficult or traumatic events by setting them down, and granting yourself a degree of psychological distance from personal problems.

It also gives you the chance to engage in some deep self-reflection, which can help you clarify your values, goals and overall life direction. Journaling has the power to be truly transformative if you take the time to analyze yourself. As the saying goes, knowledge is power!

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Why use prompts?

However, facing a blank page can be an intimidating prospect. What should you write about? Start with the following five prompts. They have all been designed to get you thinking about some of life’s deeper questions and to kickstart some serious self-reflection.

1. If I were given a year off work, I would…

This prompt will help you bring your most cherished dreams into focus. What would you do if you had a year in which you could do anything? Would you study, do some volunteer work, start your own business, or undertake some self-development? Writing out your answer to this question can help you redirect your attention to long-forgotten or deeply-held dreams and ambitions.

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2. If I had a time machine, I would…

This prompt can help bring any regrets you are carrying to the surface. Although you might not want to dwell further on what has gone wrong in the past, writing about what has happened can be a good step in working to overcome rumination. Use your journal as a place to examine where you have gone wrong but also what you can learn from your mistakes.

3. If I could give my younger self a piece of advice, I would say…

Making mistakes is a painful but inevitable part of life. On the plus side, making mistakes is one of the most effective ways of learning about ourselves, how best to relate to others, and the world in general. This prompt will help you realize that your experiences have made you into a wiser person. Furthermore, you will come to appreciate that even if you could go back and deliver advice to your younger self, they would still learn much more in making their own mistakes!

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4. The seven things I could never do without are…

This prompt forces you to examine your relationship to material possessions. What do you truly need to lead a “good life”? Do you suspect that you might be overly attached to certain items? Does the thought of choosing only seven things make you panic, or do you feel as though you will always be fine as long as you have friends and family around you? Answering this question can highlight dependency on money or status symbols.

5. If I could ask an omniscient being one question, I would ask…

If you believe in God, what question would you ask him or her? If you are an atheist, imagine that you have an audience with an entity who knows everything about the universe and those within it. Either way, this prompt will help you realize your most pressing concern about life in general and how best you can direct your energy.

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For instance, if your question would be “Will I ever find love again?” then this is a valuable indicator that you should consider investing more time and energy into refining your relationship skills and meeting new people.

How to make the most of these prompts

Take your time when answering these questions. Your answers are for you alone, so be honest. Allow yourself an hour for each. Quite often, when you grant yourself permission to write fully and honestly, you will be surprised by how much you have to say. If you are embarking on a journey of personal development, why not re-answer these questions every few weeks or months? This will allow you to track your progress as you move towards a more authentic, fulfilled life.

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Jay Hill

Jay writes about communication and happiness on Lifehack.

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Last Updated on July 3, 2020

30 Small Habits To Lead A More Peaceful Life

30 Small Habits To Lead A More Peaceful Life

In today’s world, true peace must come from within us and our own actions. Here are 30 small things you can do on a regular basis to increase your overall sense of harmony, peace, and well-being:

1. Don’t go to every fight you’re invited to

Particularly when you’re around those who thrive on chaos, be willing to decline the invitation to join in on the drama.

2. Focus on your breath

Throughout the day, stop to take a few deep breaths. Keep stress at bay with techniques such as “square breathing.” Breathe in for four counts, hold for four counts, then out for four counts, and hold again for four counts. Repeat this cycle four times.

3. Get organized and purge old items

A cluttered space often creates a cluttered spirit. Take the time to get rid of anything you haven’t used in a year and invest in organizational systems that help you sustain a level of neatness.

4. Stop yourself from being judgmental

Whenever you are tempted to have an opinion about someone else’s life, check your intentions. Judging others creates and promotes negative energy.

5. Say ‘thank you’ early and often

Start and end each day with an attitude of gratitude. Look for opportunities in your daily routine and interactions to express appreciation.

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6. Smile more

Even if you have to “fake it until you make it,” there are many scientific benefits of smiling and laughing. Also, pay attention to your facial expression when you are doing neutral activities such as driving and walking. Turn that frown upside down!

7. Don’t worry about the future

As difficult as this sounds, there is a direct connection between staying in the present and living a more peaceful life. You cannot control the future. As the old proverb goes, “Worry is like a rocking chair. It gives you something to do, but it won’t get you anywhere.” Practice gently bringing your thoughts back to the present.

8. Eat real food

The closer the food is to the state from which it came from the earth, the better you will feel in eating it. Choose foods that grew from a plant over food that was made in a plant.

9. Choose being happy over being right

Too often, we sacrifice inner peace in order to make a point. It’s rarely worth it.

10. Keep technology out of the bedroom

Many studies, such as one conducted by Brigham and Women’s Hospital, have connected blue light of electronic devices before bed to adverse sleep and overall health. To make matters worse, many people report that they cannot resist checking email and social media when their cell phone is in reach of their bed, regardless of the time.

11. Make use of filtering features on social media

You may not want to “unfriend” someone completely, however you can choose whether you want to follow their posts and/or the sources of information that they share.

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12. Get comfortable with silence

When you picture someone who is the ultimate state of peace, typically they aren’t talking.

13. Listen to understand, not to respond

So often in conversations, we use our ears to give us cues about when it is our turn to say what we want to say. Practice active listening, ask questions, process, then speak.

14. Put your troubles in a bubble

Whenever you start to feel anxious, visualize the situation being wrapped in a bubble and then picture that sphere floating away.

15. Speak more slowly

Often a lack of peace manifests itself in fast or clipped speech. Take a breath, slow down, and let your thoughtful consideration drive your words.

16. Don’t procrastinate

Nothing adds stress to our lives like waiting until the last minute.

17. Buy a coloring book

Mandala coloring books for adults are becoming more popular because of their connection to creating inner peace.

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18. Prioritize yourself

You are the only person who you are guaranteed to live with 24 hours a day for the rest of your life.

19. Forgive others

Holding a grudge is hurting you exponentially more than anyone else. Let it go.

20. Check your expectations

Presumption often leads to drama. Remember the old saying, “Expectations are premeditated resentments.”

21. Engage in active play

Let your inner child come out and have some fun. Jump, dance, play, and pretend!

22. Stop criticizing yourself

The world is a hard enough place with more than enough critics. Your life is not served well by being one of them.

23. Focus your energy and attention on what you want

Thoughts, words, and actions all create energy. Energy attracts like energy. Put out what you want to get back.

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24. Assign yourself “complaint free” days.

Make a conscious decision not to complain about anything for a whole day. It might be harder than you think and the awareness will stick with you.

25. Surround yourself with people you truly enjoy being in the company of

Personalities tend to be contagious, and not everyone’s is worth catching. Be judicious in your choices.

26. Manage your money

Financial concerns rank top on the list of what causes people stress. Take the time each month to do a budget, calculate what you actually spend and sanity check that against the money you have coming in.

27. Stop trying to control everything

Not only is your inner control freak sabotaging your sense of peace, it is also likely getting in the way of external relationships as well.

28. Practice affirmations

Repeat positive phrases that depict the life and qualities you want to attract. It may not come naturally to you, but it works.

29. Get up before sunrise

Personally witnessing the dawn brings a unique sense of awe and appreciation for life.

30. Be yourself

Nothing creates more inner discord than trying to be something other than who we really are. Authenticity breeds happiness.

Featured photo credit: man watching sunrise via stokpic.com

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