I talk with people who are thriving despite COVID, and I speak with people who are overwhelmed, panicked, grieving. These days, I talk with people who blame COVID for all that’s going wrong in their lives; and I talk with people who are jumping into the chaos and disruption with curiosity and imagination.

journal-writing-for-happinessThere’s a terrific quote from Jody Hill that can be challenging to accept sometimes: “If I’m not happy in this time, in this place, I’m not paying attention.”

The brilliance of this quote is what happens if you accept its truth and then figure out how to pay attention closely enough so that, at this time, in this place, you come to happiness.

Where, in all the craziness around you right now, are sparks of delight? Moments of joy? Unexpected gifts?

Can you find them? Embrace them? Celebrate them? Journaling can help you find these moments.

Finding Signs of Resilience

Even on my most challenging days, I walk by the grass growing through the recently applied chip seal (asphalt and gravel) on our road and marvel at the creative force in those green shoots. Heck, if a blade of grass can push through that asphalt and gravel, I can surely make it through another day with a bit of cheer and imagination.

Here are some ideas for getting past the negative and finding the positive, right now:

  • Allow yourself to journal what’s making you overwhelmed, panicked, grief-filled, or angry.
  • For each of the things you journal, note whether or not you can actually do anything about it. (COVID is a ‘gravity’ problem in design-thinking-speak. You can’t do anything about it.)
  • If you can’t do anything about it, let it go for a while. Just let it be and know you’ll have to work around it.
  • If you can do something, journal a small first step you can take to improve or change that thing that’s making you feel bad.
  • Then take that step today. Taking small actions to initiate change will make you feel much, much better.
  • Journal everything you want in your life, from big things to little. Take one step towards accomplishing at least one of those things today.

Journaling Through to the Other Side

Journaling is also a wonderful way to accompany yourself through challenging times. Why not try it for getting through the next few months? Remember when you journal, you are simply talking to yourself, and there are no right or wrong ways to journal.

If you’re new to journaling, one way to make it easier is to write at the top of the page today’s date and time, your location, and one of these questions:

  • What good things are happening around me?
  • Is there something I am afraid of right now?
  • Are there things I wish were different in my life right now?
Then let yourself answer the question(s) with no editing or censoring from your ego-mind. You can write anything you want to write in your journal. If you find yourself journaling things that upset you, breathe and be curious (and kind). Keep writing if you can. Remember, you can always rip out the pages and burn them. No one but you needs to see what you’ve written as you explore what’s going on inside.
We’re in a time of extraordinary transformation. The more love and joy you allow yourself now, the easier the transformation becomes.