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The practice I have chosen for this assignment was mindfulness gratitude journaling. When I think of a gratitude journal I think of writing about every person/thing in a book which has a meaning to me or affects me in a positive way. So for this assignment, I journaled about what I’m thankful for in the span of 15 minutes every day for about 15 days. When thinking about this assignment one thing I did beforehand was put my phone on do not disturb so I wouldn’t get tempted or distracted also I really wanted the meditation process to benefit me in the end. When doing this assignment I really did not have a time frame that is why all my times are inconsistent on my daily log, I just felt like when I was stressed and needed time to relax I would write in my gratitude journal. At the beginning, I did find this assignment pointless and a waste of time but as the days went on I just felt more positive in my daily life and my overall well-being! There were just a couple of days where the meditation process didn’t work for me and I’m starting to realize that it’s okay that not every day will be perfect and that my thoughts will sometimes not go away in a matter of minutes so I need to be patient and relax.
One positive outcome that I encountered after a long and hectic day was when I started to journal about one specific person in my life like my boyfriend, all my negative thoughts would just simply go away and my mind would just focus on him and how happy and thankful I am for him in my life, It affected my thoughts in a positive way and also helped me stay grounded to the space around me. Another positive outcome I encountered would be after the 15 days I realized I’m more grateful for the things I own and the people I have in my life, I often see the greediness and things I take for granted when I just get them handed down to me but after writing in the gratitude journal I can never thank God enough for the things I have or even my life on this planet, I took the little things for granted. One Positive Issue I increased awareness of is that I will always have the people that matter most to me in my life no matter how life goes, life could be negative and they would still support me, life can go positive and they end up staying in my life this was a wake-up call to see who’s really is important in my life and how they’ve changed me in a positive way. When reading the benefits of a gratitude journal by Laura Jessen a great point she made that stood out to be during the meditation process was “a gratitude journal is a safe zone for your eyes only, so you can write anything you feel without judgment” I think this point she made is true to me with my gratitude journal because I felt while I was writing, I could write about anything on my mind and not think about whether there’s a right or a wrong answer without judgment and that I would be the only one reading my journal so it felt good to write whatever I felt that day and have only my eyes revise it day by day. When talking about mindfulness approaches a sentence that stood out to me was “many studies show that practicing mindfulness reduces stress leading to many improved health and mental health benefits”. I think this sentence stood out to me because at first, I thought this mindfulness approach assignment was useless and did not think it would affect me in a positive way, the more I journaled the more my stress levels and high anxiety would go away, I feel as the days went by my anxiety and stress reduced and I also believe the gratitude journal helps me manage my unwanted emotions and feelings.
One main challenge I had with this assignment was trying to find time to write in my gratitude journal just because I have so many thoughts running through my mind, I found it hard to sit down and concentrate on one thing in the span of 15 minutes every day for about 15 days I felt like that was a long time to be involved in an assignment but how I overcame this was I wasn’t thinking about the 15 days because if I did, I know I would have been even more stressed out also just relaxing before I went into the meditation process and putting my phone on do not disturb so I don’t get tempted to look at my phone even though I’m a phone addict and love my phone, I was so tempted throughout the 15 days. As I was reading the mindfulness meditation troubleshooting guide a point that stood out to me was something about unhelpful thoughts stating “All have limiting beliefs that prevent us from taking action or get what we desire Ex: I can’t stop my thoughts”. Some days during my meditation when I had a lot going on in my mind I would just continue to focus on the negative thoughts and space out the positives which had a negative impact on me and my journaling experience, no matter how long I journaled for my if I was really stressed I would just carry out my stress throughout the time being, making me even more stressed and anxious. How I went about this problem was even though one meditation day was not positive I hoped that the next one would be better and I thought how it would be better, so the next day I prepared myself by listening to nature sounds and putting on a facemask and relaxing my nerves before I started to journal and it actually helped me to stay grounded and took my negative thoughts away. The last and final negative aspect was running out of people to write about in my gratitude journal because currently, the only people I have in my life are my boyfriend, my mom, and grandparents which isn’t a lot of people so as the days went by I couldn’t think of anything to write about, my mind would draw a blank, this is why some days I spent over 15 minutes writing in my gratitude journal but I felt like the more I thought about someone that’s when my negative thoughts would appear. How I attempted to overcome this in other days was I would write a list of individuals the night before and then when I start my gratitude journal the next day I wouldn’t have to think, thoughts would come to me easily and I would just write them down.
In the social service worker field, we do experience a lot of burnout and I don’t really think we have enough time to take care of ourselves when we’re always on the go, we usually put everyone and their issues before us. One thing I take from this assignment is that it’s never too late to journal, if I’m experiencing a rough day and I can’t seem to stay grounded I’m going to write in my gratitude journal because it seems to have a positive impact on me and helps me stay close and grounded to the people who I care about and love. I can also take my new mindfulness learning with a client in my future job who is exactly in the same boat as me from when I started the whole assignment. I would also like to engage in a conversation about what is mindfulness, what the point of it and provide examples of a mindfulness technique, and see if they would be interested, from there I will be supporting them every step of the way and having daily check-ins to see how their activity is benefiting them in a positive or negative way.
My overall experience with this assignment was very positive and as the days went by I could see the results firsthand. One thing that I can not believe is how much time and energy I put into this assignment and how positive I could be after the 15 days were up. Another thing I noticed is how patient I became when I want things to turn out a certain way, I feel like this gratitude assignment taught me a lot about patience and those good things take time. The last and final thing I want to address is how aware I am of the people around me and how they have affected me in a positive way, also how they are a part of my life and if I didn’t want them in my life they wouldn’t be here throughout my journey.
To conclude, I believe this practice has informed me to be thankful for the little things in life no matter how big or small, and as a self-awareness, lesson keeps the people you care about the closest to you. I think as a social worker, it’s important to self-care so we do not experience burnout so instead of me just going on my phone as a way to escape reality I will keep mindfulness journaling in my mind to stay present and keep up with all the assignments due. One thing I will take from this assignment is “Mindful isn’t about calming oneself it’s about interacting with life more fully and living lives mindfully”. This quote stood out to me because it’s not always about calming your nerves so you can get past a day it’s much more than it, its interacting with the people that you love and care about the most, it’s about doing what makes you happy and enjoying yourself.
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