Why You Can Afford The Time To Journal (and why you can’t afford not to)

 

*GUEST POST*

Keeping a regular journal or other personal record is something that prophets and church
leaders have long encouraged us to do, but not an area that most of us have made significant
improvement in. Fortunately, we can enjoy and learn from the religious records of other
generations without being charged to keep a religious record that will someday become the
“keystone” of a future people’s religion, as they were commanded to.

That doesn’t mean, however, that we shouldn’t take the Lord’s advice to keep a personal
record seriously. In the scriptures, being written records themselves, we see that God’s concern
with the prophets keeping regular and accurate records was the ability to transmit gospel
teachings across generations of time as well as a people’s ability to connect with its past and with
God.

In our time, writing down personal spiritual experiences or things that will help us bring
them to memory when needed is one key benefit and reason that we are counseled to keep a
personal record. Another is being able to leave behind some kind of written testimony or witness,
for ourselves and especially for our posterity. Doing so certainly makes doing family history a lot
easier (and much more interesting!). I can definitely say that reading through the experiences of
my grandfather, an avid record keeper, and his family has made a positive impact on my life. It’s
possible, however, that the benefits of journal keeping and the blessings the Lord wants us to
enjoy for doing so are more immediate and personal than the ones we’ve become so familiar
with.

That would be nice, since the reasons we’re used to hearing have yet to motivate most of
us to begin keeping a regular personal record. In this post, I’ll discuss some of the more
immediate and helpful personal benefit of consistently (hopefully daily) writing in a journal and
going back to occasionally review what we have recorded.

Research has demonstrated repeatedly a large amount of psychological benefits to journal
writing and review, including increasing our ability to:

  • Manage anxiety
  • Reduce stress
  • Cope with depression
  • Gain clarity
  • Build empathy
  • Solve problems
  • Boost cognition
  • Track patterns

One common them with all of these benefits is that they can only be achieved by stepping
back and taking a time to reflect; each one takes time, intentional thought and analysis, and results in greater mental health and happiness. More than anything, journaling is such a powerful
tool because

  1. it provides the opportunity and time to do the tasks mentioned above and
  2. it reinforces our determination to improve or the conviction of what we have expressed by our
    putting it in writing.

It is common knowledge that writing things down greatly enhances their permanence, not
necessarily because the written record will always last (I can just as easily tear up or throw away
something I’ve written down as I can write it), but because it is written down and memorialized
in our mind. I whole heartedly believe that these mental health benefits are among the many
reasons our Heavenly Father wishes us to regularly keep a record. Seeing that we live in a time
in which science and medicine have improved enough to let us know about their existence, we’d
be foolish to forego these benefits – blessings from our Heavenly Father.

One other benefit of journaling, the one which also caught my attention the most, was so
surprising because it was the actually the solution to the biggest obstacle that keeps me from
journaling: not having enough time. Along with the benefits mentioned earlier, journaling
regularly, when accompanied by regular review of what is written, does incredible things for
your productivity – in every aspect of your life.

This was something I learned about in a class taught at my university (BYU) called “Personal
Development, which focuses on the improvement of one’s overall emotional and mental health.
Our instructor, a licensed and practicing therapist who spends virtually of all of his time working
with students, particularly with varying levels of anxiety, told us about the research put into this
idea and how clearly it demonstrates this practice’s ability to boost productivity. This was
somewhat surprising – many of us had figured that the top benefit would have something more
directly to do with mental health – something more psychological like the benefits discussed
earlier. Surprising as it may be, it is definitely true, for multiple reasons.

One reason I believe productivity can be so greatly impacted by journaling and review is
that it allows us the chance to go back to what we have written and see it in a different light –
with a fresh pair of eyes. One objection that some people have to journaling and one which I
myself shared is concern over recording things that are untrue, overly dramatic, biased or what
we might later consider to be unhelpful. Anyone who has journaled knows that this can very
naturally occur in the course of journaling, and since writing things down gives them the power
to permeate in our minds, as mentioned earlier, how could it possibly help us to write down
things that are over the top, over analyzed or that we interpret incorrectly? Couldn’t that, in some
cases, potentially do more harm than good?

The key to prevent this from happening is the follow up to journaling that occurs even
less often than journaling itself – the objective review of what we have written earlier. Just as
journaling promotes more coherent and critical thinking by forcing us to slow down and
articulate what we are feeling or experiencing, reviewing what we have written allows us the
chance to reconsider those recordings in a different context, state of mind and circumstance.
When we do so, we can more easily recognize and track trends of behaviors or states of minds
that negatively affect us, perhaps even without our knowledge of them.

Because the situation we’re in so greatly differs from the one we wrote it in, it’s almost as
if someone else were objectively examining our behavior in order to give us advice; it’s least the
next best thing, and something we can do ourselves, even when we don’t have outside. It can
also be more effective since we know more intimately what we really feel, share and choose to
obscure or avoid discussing. We can see clearly that we over interpret and over agonize the most
intense of experiences we go through, while finding relatively no meaning or insight in what we
live the rest of the time – the majority of our experiences. Or we can realize how often we
rationalize, excuse away or minimize certain behaviors or thought patterns over others,
depending on our preferences.

These are just a couple examples of the insights we gain through the rereading of our
written records and ones that I have seen in myself. Awareness of these tendencies – which
happen to be among the key contributors to anxiety — is the first step in overcoming them.
Indeed, we will never overcome them as long as we have so little concrete observational
information as to what and how intense they are.

Anxiety itself is essentially unrest; one way it can be described is the uneasiness that we
feel because of our limited grasp as to what our emotional or psychological state is, why it is that
way, and a feeling of powerlessness to alter it. For many of us, we most often prolong anxiety by
avoiding this kind of thoughtful, careful analysis of the things factoring into the state of our
mental health — or by not doing so frequently enough. I know we can enhance it by taking the
Lord’s counsel to keep a personal record seriously – both to enhance our ability to serve others
as well as our ability to care for ourselves. He makes time to care for us – He’d want us to do the
same.

*Guest blog post by Christian Bell, an intern of Lifey.

December 20, 2017
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A Letter to the Struggling

Posted in Monday Pep Talks

To anyone struggling,

I know it’s hard right now. I know you think you can’t go any father or another day with that pain. I know it seems like it will never ever go away. I know it hurts so bad. I know it occupies nearly every thought. I know it affects everything.

But, I am here to tell you that it gets better. You will be okay. You will find happiness again. You will be one step closer to becoming the person your Heavenly Father needs you to become. You CAN do this. But, not alone. When it seems like you can’t go another day or hour get on your kneels and plead for the strength that Christ so willing died to give you. Read your scriptures— DO WHAT YOU KNOW YOU NEED TO BE DOING even when it’s hard– especially when it’s hard. Just do it. Just open your scriptures and study. Just get down on your knees and talk to your Heavenly Father who only wants to help you.

I promise you that as you seek the strength and comfort of Christ and do your part to keep the commandments that you CAN AND WILL get through this. The road may seem long but take it one day at a time knowing that He will always be there with ready to bear you up. Look for the tender mercies of the Lord because THEY ARE THERE ABUNDANTLY. Choose to focus on the the good and seek the good. It will get better.

Sending prayers your way,

Halee

December 10, 2017
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Things I am loving!

Posted in Favorites

If I love something I want to share it with everyone which is why 75% of my blog posts are of these sorts.  So here are some more of the things I am loving.

Take a Name app– I can never find names to take to the temple UNTIL this app! Try it!

One Note– Okay, am I the only person who didn’t know about One Note?? Seriously the best and easiest way to take notes in college. (Basically, its virtual notebooks!)

Love, Kennedy — Great family movie! I loved it!

PilloPlush’s blanket/pillow– Incredible. A super soft blanket that folds up into a cute throw pillow. Not to mention your feet will never get cold with the cool feet pocket.  Great Christmas gift idea!

Pumpkin Spice Cheerios– I don’t like Cheerios and I don’t love pumpkin spice but these are to die for! I ate the whole box by myself in a week. Try them.

This goal setting workbook– Buy it HERE. So worth the $5 to help you achieve you dreams and goals. Seriously, there is something about writing your goals down. Just do it!!

Cheers to Eternity (Al Carraway’s new book)– I think this is a great book to help improve any relationship. Really good quick read!

xoxo,

halee

December 4, 2017
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My notes from Al Fox Carraway’s talk

During the Summer I went with a friend to hear Al Fox Carraway speak and I just had to share some of my notes with you!

  • You have to do your REAL TRY to experience real change.
  • Choose. Choose the good or bad. CHOOSE GOOD!
  • Change of mindset and perspective will change everything.
  • Look for the good. You find what you are looking for.
  • Trying your real try you will receive the best now. Those blessings aren’t just reserved for the eternities.
  • Keep going. We are blessed for our efforts. And, if you keep going you will bless others.
  • He will help you be happy now even during your struggles.
  • Hard times will always be there but so will Christ.
  • Go forth. Embrace the unexpected knowing who is leading you along.
  • Don’t forget who’s hands your in.
  • You matter. What you do matters.
  • He hears you. But, He also has a lot of great things in store for you.

I hope that maybe there was something in my notes that you needed to hear.

halee

October 3, 2017
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August Favorites

Posted in Favorites

(I can’t get any pictures to upload for the life of me so I’ll do the Highlights part in another post!)

F A V O R I T E S

  • I am reading a book called Possibilities right now and I highly recommend it! It is all about creating the life you want and becoming your best self.
  • This jumpsuit. I have it in black but its sold out 🙁 The trend is good you guys. I didn’t think I would be a jumpsuit/romper type of girl but its like wearing your PJ’s so I automatically love it. SO COMFY! Here are some other cute ones. 1 2 3
  • I am always curious about how much sleep I’ve been getting so I am loving these 2 apps. This one has an alarm clock that you set and it will wake you up when you are in your lightest sleep and show you exactly when your in your deep sleep. This one is great because it connects to your apple watch and I feel like it’s more accurate than the other.
  • THIS FACE MASK. Guys, I’ve been using this 2x weekly for like 8 weeks now and let me tell you I can tell a HUGE difference! I went home for 2 weeks during the break and didn’t take it with me and my skin was suffering haha. Best $12 everrrrr. (There is a smaller bottle for cheaper too + it lasts forever!)

I’ve got a couple blog posts in the works right now so see ya then!

Halee

September 11, 2017
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RUFFLES.

Posted in Clothes

Hey guys! Just wanted to stop by and share some cute ruffled pieces from the sweetest Shop Stevie reps Susie and Kate! I meet Kate this summer at BYU and we were talking about how much we loved shopping and she told me she and her mom are Shop Stevie reps. So I just wanted to share some fun pieces from their shop with you guys. Ruffles are a fun trend this year and I just loved both this lightweight top and flowy dress! I also wanted to share some of my other favorites from their site because they just have SO many cute pieces!!

Karina Ruffle Top

This top is lightweight making it a great piece for fall. I loved the fit and the RUFFLES!!

Sienna Ruffle Dress in Olive

If you know me you know that I LOVE dresses. This one is my new favorite. I love how extremely flowy and breezy it is for summer. Plus, the length and the ruffled bottom just make it better!

Brooklyn Printed Dress in Mustard

Mercedes Rose Top

Vienna Stripe Top

Bree Baby Doll Dress (I have this one and I LOVE it! Comfy. Pockets. Everyday dress. It’s great.)

Summer Dreams Dress

Halee

August 16, 2017
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Take 2: We are all just walking each other home.

Posted in Take 2

(Repost from my old blog. 12/16/2015)

How beautiful is that phrase? How true is that phrase?

When we come to understand this none of that other stuff matters.

Not the clothes you wear. Not the iphone you have. Not the hair you have. Not the grades you got. Not thing somebody said to you 5 years ago. Not the bedspread on your bed. None of that matters.

What matters is the way we are helping others on their walk home. 

“We are not on earth to see how important we can become, but to see how much difference we can make in the lives of others” Gordon B Hinckley 

What matters is the kind words that we say to lift another person.
What matters is that smile we put on our face even when we don’t necessarily want to.
What matters is that you are helping others understand their self-worth and divinity.
What matters is helping others gain a stronger testimony by being a good example.let’s all help each other on our journeys. k?

​xoxo

August 6, 2017
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Shopping in your PJ’s

Posted in Clothes, Favorites

I wrote a blog post on my last blog (see here) about all my favorite online shops and I just reread it and decided I needed to do an updated post with all my new favorite places! I also realized that I love online shopping more than I did then so that’s….great? haha! I try to only buy things I absolute love, things that I know I can wear with multiple things, good quality items, things I can wear for years and it not go out of style (good basics?) etc. But I do enjoy retail therapy 😉

I could give you so many more but here are some of my favorite tried and true sites!

Get your PJ’s on, grab a big bowl of ice cream and have fun shopping! And, if you want you have some favorites I didn’t mention comment below and let me know! I always loving finding new places to shop 😉

xoxo,

Halee

August 2, 2017
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In the Mountains

Posted in Photo Dump, travel

Ever since I saw Banff on Pinterest it has been on the top of my bucket list. So last month we took a trip up to Montana and Banff and it was a dream come true!

Lake Louise in Banff! It really was just as beautiful as all of the pictures you see everywhere. 

Lake Moriane. Seriously just as pretty as Lake Louise! The tourquise water was stunning! 

We did a really cool hike in Glacier National Park called Trail of the Cedars and it was incredible! Short hike but the views where breathtaking. 

View from Lake McDonald at sunset! 

God truly gave us a beautiful world to live in and I am so so thankful. Oh and you know those places you go that your like “oh that is so pretty. ahhh” well that was me this whole trip. The mountains leave me in ah all the time and I am so grateful to be living among them right now!

halee.

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July 15, 2017
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Favorite Things as of Lately

Posted in Favorites

Sorry I haven’t been posting a lot lately!! The month of June was CRAZY busy and I can’t wait to share some of my adventures with you! I just moved into BYU and LOVE it so far. Today I am just going to be sharing my favorites from the last few months since I am working on so many “highlights” posts!

-Munchin with Moguls Podcast. LOVE LOVE LOVE LOVE. Do you understand yet? Haha. She interviews all of my favorite bloggers and people and I just love the advice they give and think everyone should listen! (Think Olivia Beth, Ginger Parrish, Kornti Jean…!!)

Barefoot Blonde extensions. I got the color Brownstone and I had to get them colored a bit to match my hair better but I love them! Super comfy and makes doing braids fun. Love her tutorials too!

-Look at this top I’ve been meaning to buy…!! It’s so cute huh? Well if you like the print here it is in a dress. So cute! Also this peplum floral top! Obsessed with all things Roolee!

-Wunderlist. Seriously a game changer in making lists. Download it now…especially if you have a mac!

This video by Sadie Robertson…so so good.

-The Awesome with Alison newsletter and calendar (& podcast!). Check her out here.

-Also, speaking of Alison, her drink (The Alison Show) at Sodalious is to die for and I don’t even like Diet Coke so try it out!

Chip Cookies. GUYS!!! Since moving to Utah and the city I can’t get over how many great food places there are here but thats another post for another day! Anyway if you live in SLC, Orem, or Provo defiantly get some Chip Cookies delivered hot and fresh to your door. THEY ARE AMAZING. End of story.

And thats all for today!

xx

Halee

July 11, 2017
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