I wish someone had told me in kindergarten that the key to handling life is found in how we react to uncertainty. How we handle our anxiety about an unknown future.
It would have also been helpful if they taught us that there is no such thing as happily-ever-after, uncertainty will never stop happening, and disappointment and starting over will happen more times than you will ever want.
Maybe that would have been a little heavy for a 5-year-old, but why sugarcoat reality and inflate our expectations?
The more I experience the rougher parts of life, the more I wish I had started building my resilience sooner.
And yet there were unintentional things I did as a child that has helped me with my resilience today. One of those things is journaling.
Recently finding myself wallowing in my own uncertainty, I leaned on my journaling to help reclaim perspective. I was going to write an essay about the topic, but I decided to share the brainstorm I did in my journal, as well as others. This is a tried and true trick I constantly use to pull myself from the “shut down” reaction when something goes wrong in life, to moving myself (sometimes dragging myself) to embracing a strategic approach on my battlefield.
You don’t necessarily need to keep a journal if that’s not your thing, but I like being able to go back and cringe at the thoughts I had ten years ago, or even ten days ago.
I’ll leave you with this: it’s difficult to continue feeling terrible in life when you have a plan.
I do monthly intentions. I’m not an artist, but I don’t care. I do it anyway! (Unicorn added by my 6-year-old daughter.)
I love to collect quotes that resonate.
An example of a brain dump I did in July. It was helpful when in August I took action on the Kyle part of this mind map, and having written it down several weeks before, I knew the feelings did not come out of thin air.
I learn new ideas and/or ways of thinking about things and write them down.
In July I decided I wanted new protocol in my day, so this is my AM and PM protocol. Still using it! The “3 frogs” refers to “swallowing the frog.” I pick the 3 most important tasks to do for the day.
I like to brainstorm with post-its. My daughter likes to help me decorate with stickers, and I have to say there is something happy about using stickers.
I seriously have to put “watch tv” on my list of things to improve haha. I never take the time to slow down and relax.
These were just a few ideas that I use on a regular basis. The main thing I’ve learned to accept is that my ideas, lists, goals, areas to improve, focus, etc are constantly evolving. I embrace that. Sometimes I really need to lean on journaling, and other times I do not.
I use the Gratitude app on my phone to list what I am grateful for everyday, but I do try to write about good things in my journal as well. When my husband passed away and I went through his journals and my journals, I realized we both tended to focus a lot on documenting our gripes. I think it’s a natural human tendency. We want to vent. It takes intentionality to pause and review what is good in your life. Since then, I try to also document what is going well.