The 5-Minute Journal Review: The Fast-Track to Happiness
Journals are my jam. They have been for as long as I can remember. Finding the right journal is so damn hard though. You want one that feels right in your hands and makes your heart sing when you look at it. The singing is important; You need to hear it while you spill words onto that paper.
When I came across The Five-Minute Journal on Instagram, I was intrigued by the methodology it practices, but also skeptical of a planner with guidelines. I’ve also just let the emotions tumble out in whatever random, nonsensical order they wanted to. The Five-Minute Journal, however, is structured the same way every day and only lasts five minutes (did you see that coming?).
It isn’t meant for the myriad of life questions and emotions you might need to express and sort through; it’s meant to start and end your days on a positive, grateful note. Because of this and the short amount of time it demands, I decided to give it a shot. I can easily tack on an extra five minutes each morning and night to guarantee my days are happy ones. (Plus, I can still keep up with my messy journal. It’s not an either/or situation.)
When I pulled The Five-Minute Journal from the cardboard box, I got really excited about it. It’s bound like all of the old, musty books hidden in the back of the library, but without the mildewy scent. It smells crisp and clean instead. The slightly rough cover fabric and solid binding evoke an overpowering sense of nostalgia for those just-right journals of my childhood and past. This journal feels right even though I know the inside of it is structured in a new way, and that makes the transition to a mapped-out journal easier for an old-school journaler like me.
Before you begin using the journal, there’s an in-depth section that explains the reasoning, logic, and scientific research that went into creating The Five-Minute Journal. I recommend reading every bit of it because that information is helpful in telling you how to use the journal and describing why each part of the daily journal pages was included.
The whole point of The Five-Minute Journal is to assist its users in forming a happiness habit. The questions you answer each day are designed to start and end your days with gratitude and positive thoughts so you can sleep better and be happier as you go throughout your day. It’s about rewiring the way you think so you can approach the day and challenges from a positive place of potential. By focusing on the good things in your life, no matter how big or small, you learn to let go of the bad things and see how fantastically lucky you are.
The first “assignment” in the journal is your commitment. This is the fill-in-the-blank pledge you fill out. This is where you commit to using the journal for five days in a row by deciding how you will reward yourself for completion, scold yourself for not completing it (they recommend donating money to a charity you don’t normally support so it’s still a positive experience), and declaring the things you will do to ensure you complete those five days. This is meant to help you create a habit out of the journal. Journaling every day twice a day is just as much a habit as brushing your teeth.
After you’ve set your commitment, The Five-Minute Journal has you think about the challenges you’ll face as you work to set that habit in the section Truth & Actions. On these pages, you have a guide to identifying potential challenges, creating an identity statement to help you handle your biggest challenge, and finding solutions to each of the smaller challenges you identified.
Your Daily Journal
Each day is almost the same. There are motivational quotes included every day, with the exception of the weekly challenge, which varies. The weekly challenges are designed to help you add extra bursts of happiness to your day through phone calls to loved ones, creative pursuits, reflection guidelines, etc.
When you flip The Five-Minute Journal open in the morning, you list three things you’re grateful for, three things that would make the day great, and your daily affirmation. That’s it. Simple and quick, but powerful.
At night, you reflect on the day by writing down three amazing things that happened (big or small) and one way you could have made the day better. The last one is included so you can learn from your actions and include that lesson in the days to come. You can’t create a better life if you don’t learn from the less than amazing things.
Since I’ve started The Five-Minute Journal, (I’m only in the beginning stages of course), I’ve noticed a greater sense of thankfulness throughout my day. I still get irritated with co-workers, pissed off at the slow car in front of me, and resentful toward my alarm clock, but I also recognize these feelings as fleeting things I need to let go of. I can return to my feelings of gratitude quicker than I used to. On top of that, I enjoy using it. I like thinking about the positive things in my life the moment I have the gift of opening my eyes. It’s hard to do this before I have coffee, but I’m adjusting to the order of things. I’m also enjoying the five minutes of reflection and gratitude before bed. As a troubled sleeper, it’s refreshing to hit the pillow with a full heart rather than stress and worry.
My conclusion: Buy it. Use it. Go back over your notes at the end of the week. The Five-Minute Journal can only add value to your life. You won’t regret it if you commit and stick with it. By the end of the six months, you’ll have found a new way of thinking and living that makes each day a good one. At least that’s what I foresee from my new five-minute habit.
Follow Terra on Instagram: @terrabrown3
Last modified on July 21st, 2017