Susannah Taylor: A life-changer to take note of

Do you write a journal? Or should I say ‘Are you journalling?’ The practice has become so popular that I keep hearing people use the word as a verb. Every mental health practitioner and life coach I speak to recommends writing down daily thoughts as a tool for improving our mental state, organising our thoughts and boosting our mood.
Image: David Venni. Stylist: Sairey Stemp. Blouse and Jeans, Sezane, Boots, Hobbs

The past couple of years have caused a tsunami of worries, stresses and anxieties, but writing them down can act like a release valve on a pressure cooker. In a recent chat with life coach Alister Gray (youtube.com/AlisterGrayYT), he told me the very act of putting pen to paper almost physically takes the worries out of our heads in a way that typing on the computer cannot do. While the worries won’t disappear, it’s a way of seeing them clearly.

‘Isn’t journalling like keeping a diary?’ you may ask. It is, except modern journals often have a structure that will provide us with tools to improve our lives. Kerry Kershaw, founder of uk.magicofi.com where you can buy beautiful spiritual journals, says writing things down can also help manifest ideas. ‘Putting pen to paper is bringing something to life, whether it’s a dream, an idea or a goal.’

One practice that has become incredibly popular is gratitude journalling – writing down the things we are grateful for. We can fall into the habit of focusing on negatives. However, writing down a few things we are grateful for every day – anything from ‘I’m grateful to have a healthy body’ to ‘I’m grateful for my lovely dog’ – forces us to focus on the positives, and also makes us realise how fortunate we are.

To get the most benefits from gratitude journalling we need to do it daily. This is what makes The Five-Minute Journal (£27, intelligentchange.com), which has sold more than one million copies since it was launched, such a success. With a page for each day, in the morning we are asked to jot down three things we are grateful for, three things that would make today great and two daily affirmations. At the end of the day it asks us to write down three amazing things that happened and how we could have made the day even better.

I have been putting it to the test since the New Year and what I love is that it really does only take five minutes (often less). As someone who struggles to find the time to wash my hair, it’s something even I can commit to daily. I won’t lie, in the beginning I was strangely resistant to it – in the morning I’m used to cracking on with the school run and packed lunches, then in the evening I am desperate to pass out. However, the more I do it the easier it is. When I’m reticent I remind myself that I think nothing of throwing five minutes away scrolling on Instagram. While I didn’t think I needed a gratitude practice, little by little I’m finding it makes all the good stuff shine a little bit brighter – and that has been especially helpful over the past couple of months.

However, the bit I find a real game changer is the ‘What would make today great’ part. This makes me pause to clarify the things I want to accomplish, focus my to-do list and feel more organised. Try it yourself. Five minutes a day might just change your life.

I’m balmy for this

I love Spots & Stripes’ naturebased skincare for tweens and teens. But its new Awesome Arnica Balm is also for me. Packed with arnica, calendula, lavender and rosemary, it helps reduce bruising, aids sore muscles and even calms a headache or period pains. £16, spots-and-stripes.com.

The cool way to warm up

Did you know that 73 per cent of clothing ends up in landfill? Which is why Bam Clothing has launched its new 73 Zero Insulated Gilet. It’s 100 per cent recyclable, quick-drying, warm and fitted to the body. It’s the perfect activewear addition as we head (finally) into spring. £120, bambooclothing.co.uk.

READ MORE: How just five minutes of journalling a day can help shift your perspective on life