Journaling is an evidence-based approach proven to benefit both your physical and emotional health. When you write down your emotional experiences, you activate the right ventrolateral prefrontal cortex in the brain that helps to relax neural activity linked to strong emotional feelings. Not to mention, studies also offer that journaling is associated with improved outcomes for fighting diseases like asthma, rheumatoid arthritis, HIV/AIDS and cancer. Overall, putting pen to paper to reflect on the day in your own words helps both physical and emotional wounds heal faster.
Here are seven equine-inspired journal templates to get you started on a reflective writing practice!
Contain Your Worries
The practice journaling is proven highly effective for managing stress and decreasing worry. By getting your anxieties out on paper, you stop your thoughts from endlessly ruminating in your head. Instead, when laid out in front you, it is possible to find alternative perspectives and ways to reframe the issue. Journaling also help you reflect on instances where you’ve already built resiliency and the strategies that allowed you to overcome. We are typically much harder on ourselves than we would ever be on our friends, so you may find it helpful to consider what support you may give a friend facing similar challenges. Here’s a Worry Template to guide you when stress begin to overwhelm you.
Writing down your goals is key to achieving them. Research suggests those who vividly write their goals are up to 1.4 times more likely to successfully accomplish their goals. Check out this Goal-Setting Template to set a SMART (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-bound) goal for yourself. By writing your goals, you tap into powerful neuroscience. Firstly, you are providing yourself with an external storage of the goal, where you may easily access and review your goal whenever you need. Furthermore, writing improves the encoding of your goal into your long-term memory so you continue to remember what you are working towards achieving.
By engaging in a journaling practice, you learn more and better understand yourself and your patterns. Through your writing, you may raise your awareness for strategies you already have to relax and cope with stressors in your life. It also provides a reference for when you begin to feel overwhelmed, providing you with your own individualized sensory cues to find calm and ground yourself in triggering experiences. Take a moment to reflect before you feel stressed so you have a blueprint in a moment of need.
This Relaxation Template provides a guide for you to start exploring the ways you personally find peace and tranquility.
Clarify Your Values
Planning for your future and making decisions is easier when you clarify your personal values. Everyone places emphasis on different aspects of life so take a moment to determine where you stand. Journaling helps you to increase awareness and reflect on the values you have that may influence your lifestyle decisions and actions. Establishing your values helps you make choices that align with and promote these individualized priorities.
This Values Template provides you the opportunity to reflect on where you derive meaning for your values to be analyzed and clarified.
De-Stress with Gratitude
Writing about the good parts of our lives provides vital perspective that allows us to feel greater happiness and less depression. According to research, a gratitude practice encourages us to feel more positive emotions, enjoy good experiences, improve our health, deal with adversity, and build strong relationships. Research suggests the sustained benefits of gratitude journaling stem from its ability to free us from toxic emotions like resentment and envy because you aren’t focusing on the negative aspects of your experience.
Check out this Gratitude Template to get started on this valuable practice.
Move towards Change
Journaling helps us to solve problems better and shift ourselves into a more motivated stage of change. By writing, we engage our right brain into creativity and intuition for novel approaches to solutions, allowing our overused analytical, left brain to relax. In order to make important adjustments in our lives to promote growth, we first need to reflect and identify areas where we may shift. Then, we may set measurable goals to make those changes.
Utilize this Change Template to begin targeting areas you want to see changes made to promote improved outcomes throughout your environment.
Rooted in Buddhist tradition, the concept of loving-kindness meditations provides a valuable method for developing compassion. It helps us cultivate unconditional empathy for ourselves and those around us.
In using the Loving Kindness Template, you will gain an open-hearted and non-judgemental presence so you may find compassion and acceptance for yourself and others.
This template includes proven gratitude and strengths-based approaches to optimize your happiness and mental wellness.
Let us know in the comments which templates you found most helpful in supporting your journaling practice. We’d also love to hear what other topics you’d like to have included in a future equine-inspired journal template.