When everything gets dark, sometimes we have to make our own light. Here we speak to positive psychology practitioner Sophie Cliff about the power of positivity journaling
As I write this, the world is feeling a little gloomy. Grey clouds are hanging heavy in the sky and the current news cycle is enough to make anyone dizzy. Having said that, I made time to journal this morning and I’m listening to my favourite ‘autumn vibes’ playlist, so there are flickers of joy happening within.
This is something that can feel so tough at times, but can make the biggest difference to our mood – prioritising positive habits. Journaling is something I’ve been doing for decades. It’s my way of processing and untangling my thoughts, but it can also be a powerful tool in lifting your mood.
According to Positive Psychology Practitioner, Sophie Cliff, research from the field of positive psychology shows that regular journaling can help us cope better with stressful situations, improve our psychological wellbeing and boost our mood and sense of optimism.
Because of this, Highland Spring sparkling water has teamed up with positivity artist Katie Smith, to create the ‘Uplift Your Everyday’ journal. Consulting Sophie when creating the journal, the collaboration has resulted in a beautiful hardback book that aims to encourage positive reflection and gratitude. There’s even a handy water tracker, so you can keep track of your daily intake.
OK, but what exactly is positivity journaling?
“Positive journaling can be defined as expressive or personal writing that focuses on or explores positive emotions and the good parts of life.” Sophie tells us.
“That could include setting positive intentions, writing gratitude lists or reflecting on the best parts of your day. Research shows that regular positive journaling can boost optimism, increase positive emotions and enhance our physical and mental wellbeing.”
The journal puts this idea into practice, with prompts like, ‘How did you uplift your day?’ and ‘What are you looking forward to?’ There’s also a simple mood tracker, where you can make a note about how you’ve felt that day.
“A big part of being able to proactively care for our wellbeing is noticing how we're feeling and spotting any patterns.” Sophie explains.
“By tracking our mood, we can start to draw associations - for example, are you more likely to feel positive when you've taken the time to exercise? Does a poor night's sleep put you in a bad mood? Knowing these things about yourself equips you with information to make smart changes that support your wellbeing moving forwards.”
Mood tracking can also encourage us to pause and check in with ourselves, Sophie says.
“Often we'll be feeling good but have been so busy we haven't taken the time to enjoy that feeling. Checking in can help us to better appreciate the good days. What I love about this journal is that it encourages gratitude too, with the section that asks ‘How did you uplift your day?’, encouraging us to reflect and feel joy about certain moments.”
How can we prioritise positive habits?
I know all too well that when life gets busy, it can be difficult to make space for habits we know make us feel good. So how can we start prioritising these habits and our wellbeing?
“My biggest piece of advice would be to understand why you're trying to make this change and how it will benefit you.” Sophie says.
“So often, we set ourselves a goal of prioritising positive habits because we feel like we ‘should’, but ‘shoulds’ very quickly start to feel like a chore. Instead, take some time to find your own personal motivation – how will adopting and prioritising these positive habits that benefit you, the people you love and the things you care about? If you know, for example, that regular journaling will help you to be a calmer and more present partner, or drinking enough water will help you to focus at work, you'll be much more likely to sustain your motivation.
“Finally, remember that it's action that is important, not perfection. It's better to build a habit of doing something three days a week, than to do something every day but give up after a week.”
A habit the ‘Uplift Your Everyday’ journal encourages is to use affirmations, so I was keen to hear Sophie’s favourites.
“One that I really love is ‘everything is always working out perfectly for me’. It encourages us to focus on what is working in our lives, instead of stressing about what isn't. I also love the affirmation ‘I am worthy of joy and positivity’ – so many of us feel like we have to earn our joy, but it's important to remember that positivity is available to us every single day, we just have to look for it. Journaling can help us to do just that.”
Highland Spring sparkling water has partnered with positivity artist, Katie Smith to create the ‘Uplift Your Everyday’ journal, in consultation with Positive Psychology Expert Sophie Cliff. The limited-edition journal is available to buy from Love is my Protest and comes hand in hand with a bottle of sparkling water to uplift everyday moments.