Like many women my age, I spend hours in front of my computer every day. As the founder of Sixty and Me, it’s rare for me to type fewer than 2000 words before lunch. But, despite the fact that I am completely comfortable with technology, I still love my leather bound journal. There is something about putting pen to paper that takes me to another world and makes all of my fears and worries fade away, if only for a moment. Do you feel the same?

Can Keeping a Journal Keep You Happy?

The more I think about it, the more I realize that my journal is an essential part of my happiness kit. It reminds me to be grateful, gives me a place to lock away my worries, keeps me organized and allows me to embrace the power of nostalgia.

Here are 4 ways that keeping a journal can help you to find happiness at any age.

 
 

Write Down What You Are Grateful for Every Day

One of the keys to finding happiness at any age is learning to be grateful. Unfortunately, in today’s fast-paced world, it’s easy to forget to stop and smell the roses. TV commercials constantly remind us of what we don’t have. Our Facebook feeds are filled with the best moments from our friends’ lives. Is it any wonder that we sometimes forget just how good our own lives really are?

Many of the happiest older women I know make gratefulness a habit.

Every morning, before the day starts, they write down one thing that they are truly grateful for. It could be a family member. Or, they might simply be happy to see another beautiful sunrise.

Why not give it a try? In time, the words that you write on paper will be transferred to your heart.

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Put Your Fears and Worries Down on Paper

Do you ever lie awake at night, thinking about your worries or regrets? This is completely natural. It’s also extremely frustrating. The good news is that keeping a journal can help you to deal with your negative thoughts so that you can get the restful sleep you need.

Every night, before you get into bed, take out your journal and write down your fears and regrets. Next to each problem, write down one small thing that you will do tomorrow to deal with it. This will give your brain “permission” to shut off.

If you feel your mind slipping baby towards dark thoughts, remind yourself that you already have a plan to deal with your worries in the morning. With a good night’s sleep behind you, your concerns will feel much less overwhelming.

Embrace the Power of Nostalgia to Increase Your Happiness

When I interviewed Dr. Medina, author of Brain Rules, he mentioned that one of the best ways to keep your brain happy and healthy as you get a little older is to embrace the power of nostalgia.

When we think about positive memories, our brain’s light up.

Thinking about happy events in our past can also take our minds off of our worries in the present.

At the end of each day, take a few minutes to write about one positive experience that you had in the last 24 hours. Or, if nothing particularly interesting happened to you that day, go back a bit farther and write about an experience from the past that made you happy.

Be as descriptive as possible. Try to remember the sounds, scents and sights that surrounded you while you were experiencing your happy moment. Who was there with you? How did you feel? What did the experience teach you?

Get Organized and Pursue Your Passions

No matter what the self-help gurus say, you can’t think your way to better self-esteem. The only way to build your confidence is to accomplish things that matter to you. Keeping a journal can help you to get more done every day. More importantly, writing can help you to focus on the things that really matter.

Every morning, take a few minutes to write down two or three things that you want to accomplish. Try to focus on tasks that are both important and urgent. Then, at the end of the day, check your list to see how you did. Following your passions requires discipline and time. With your trusty journal by your side, you will have both in abundance.

Do you keep a journal? Why? Which of the benefits mentioned in this article have you experienced since you started journaling? Please join the conversation.

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