The Benefits of Daily Journaling

The Benefits of Maintaining a Daily Journal

by

Drew Totten, MS, BSc, RN, CPC

Journal-keeping is one of the most effective ways to organize your thoughts and record the essential insights you’ve learned from all your day-to-day experiences. To many people, the difficult part about becoming educated, settings goals, and getting things done is keeping track of all the new knowledge pouring in. You see, while some types of knowledge are immediately applicable (such as technical information), others need a bit more time to stew in the mind before they become beneficial. This is the reason you need to be able to quiet your mind and really think about some ideas before they make complete sense to you and what you’re trying to do now. With a personal journal, you will be able to:

1. Reflect on the day’s events and write down insights that you’ve gained from your most recent experiences.

2. Record important realizations about your current endeavor, as well as burning questions that you may want to tackle later to make all your work processes smoother and more effective.

3. Take care of your inner critic by writing down the negative thoughts you’ve been having. Your inner critic is an expert in making you feel down and depressed. This power over you disappears the moment you begin writing down the irrational things that you think about through your inner critic. Like a mechanic, I want you to take apart those negative assumptions, beliefs, and ideas so you can prove to yourself that they do not deserve any space in your life at all.

4. My personal favorite is creating blueprints. I want you to be able to plan and prepare for using your new journal. Of course, countless folks plan without using a journal – but, a journal can make you more creative and, in the end, this added creativity will help you create better solutions to your life’s challenges.

5. Journaling also helps you move forward. If you feel stuck and uninspired, why not write in your journal? That should help kickstart your challenge-solving mode quickly. My practice of Life Coaching focuses on you. You are the most important person – not me, your neighbor, your boss, or your family members.

6.  This journal is personal. It’s yours and yours alone. You will choose to share it or keep it entirely to yourself. My initial suggestion is to keep it private. My reasoning behind this is if you feel that someone might by happenstance stumble upon it, you will be less likely to write, and in many cases, forget about it altogether. Not a good option!

7.  Another benefit of journaling is tracking your progress and professional development. You will likely notice over time that you have accomplished much, and it might not have felt like it. See… you’re getting used to becoming organized and are growing in ways you might not have thought possible.

8.  One quick tip. Do you use a list to track your tasks of the day and create a record for those not yet completed? Try it. You will feel a great sense of accomplishment using lists. This is another way to build and grow even if it might be “baby steps.” These small steps are how we achieve goals. One task at a time – one day at a time.

I hope this short article was helpful to you. As part of my practice, I ask my clients to complete a daily journal. Many state that it has helped them tremendously. One day at a time is all it takes!

Lastly, remember that I’m here to help. If I can be of assistance, email me at info@drewtotten.com  or call 802-855-7850 for a private in-person or online appointment. I’d be happy to work with you on your journey to success and improved well-being!

My best regards,

Drew

©2020 Drew Totten Coaching, LLC. All Rights Reserved.

Mental Health Changes in Adolescents

Presented By:  Drew Totten, MS, BSc, RN, CPC

November 18, 2020


The rise of mental health issues in the adolescent population is steadily increasing in the U.S. (Farley, 2020). Currently, adolescents make up 12% of the U.S. population, with a whopping 30% reporting mental health issues such as depression and anxiety. One alarming statistic is that one in five adolescents who attempt suicide have at least one mental illness. I recall a few years ago when my community lost a 12-year-old girl to suicide. Family and friends indicated that the child was severely bullied at school, was mostly isolated from friends, and was a high social media user…likely aggravating the situation.

Suicide is the second leading cause of death in children and young adults between the ages of 10 and 24. Adolescence is a time of great psychological and physical change in this group (Bilsen, 2018).

Populations that are considered vulnerable include ethnic minorities, those in low socioeconomic status, members of the LGBTQ+ community, people with disabilities and those with a family history of mental illness. The World Health Organization reports that half of the mental health disorders start by age 14. Anxiety and depression are the most common mental health disorders in adolescence (WHO, 2019).

Many in the adolescent population age group do not have access to mental health services or are unwilling to admit they need such help. There is significant stigma associated with mental illness (Mendel, Ryan, and McKone, 2018).

The social factors that affect adolescents place great importance on peer groups and relationships. Peer rejection, conflicts, and school stress can contribute significantly to anxiety and depression (Bilsen, 2018).

So, when do we seek mental health evaluation? When one observes any of the following: loss of interest in things that used to be enjoyed; low energy; too much or too little sleep, or sleepiness throughout the day; spending more and more time alone; engaging in self-harm behaviors, such as burning, cutting, smoking, drinking alcohol, or using drugs; and thoughts or expression of suicidal intent (Boyd, 2018).

How do we help? Knowing the risk factors and detection of high-risk adolescents can prevent suicide. Don’t be afraid of having difficult conversations with the person and remember to always be genuine, kind, and willing to listen. The national suicide hotline is available at 1-800-SUICIDE (1-800-273-8255).

Feel free to submit your comments!

Best,

Drew

References

Bilsen, J. Suicide and youth: risk factors. Front Psychiatry 2018; 9: 540.

Boyd, M.A. Psychiatric Nursing: Contemporary Practice. 6th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Wolters Kluwer; 2018.

Farley, H.R. Assessing mental health in vulnerable adolescents. Nursing 2020, 50; 10. www.nursing2020.com.

Mendel, J., Ryan R.M., McKone, K.M.P. Age at menarche, depression, and antisocial behavior in adulthood. Pediatrics. 2018:141(1):1-8.

World Health Organization. Adolescent mental health. 2019. www.who.int/news-room/fact-sheets/detail/adolescent-mental-health.

Work/Life Balance in Challenging Times

A significant challenge that I hear from my clients is achieving that all too well-known and talked about “work-life balance” (WLB). In a Wellness for Life program that I recently taught, we discussed WLB in much detail. It seems that no matter what we do in life there are stressors that bind us to the same routines day after day. It’s definitely frustrating that our personal and professional lives aren’t moving in the direction we expected or might even be at a standstill.

Current research suggests that maintaining this balance requires structure and the ability for people to think differently about themselves. This requires us to say “no” more often to people and tasks that disrupt the balance we’re seeking. We should be asking if they are important to our individual well-being. I have been utilizing a proven method to accurately assess what we should be concentrating on.  For example, we may need to consider changing jobs, ending a toxic relationship or planning some dedicated time each day and focus on an activity that we enjoy and is for us.

I know what you’re thinking. How am I supposed to do that?

I’m interested in your responses – let’s start a discussion here… or contact me to setup a FREE 30-minute telephone coaching session!

 

                                                ©2020 Drew Totten Coaching, LLC. All Rights Reserved.