10,000 Steps

Stay Healthy Through Good Diet and Exercise

Strong Body

One of the most important things you can do to avoid getting sick – and not just from cold and flu, but anything else out there that’s contagious – is keep your body as strong and healthy as possible. One of the best ways to do that is to eat a healthy diet and get some sort of daily exercise. Here’s what that may look like.

Tips for Eating Healthy

Improving your diet and eating healthier can seem like a challenge. There’s a lot you can do. The key is to start and make small improvements as you go along. A great place to start is by cutting out sugar and processed foods. Replace them with whole foods options where you can. Have an apple instead of a candy bar when you need a snack. Fix some scrambled eggs instead of pouring a bowl of sugary cereal in the morning. Skip the fast food burger and fix a salad to take to lunch. You get the idea.

From there, I would encourage you to add more fresh fruits and vegetables. Try something new. A new piece of produce, a new healthy recipe, a new way to cook your favorite foods in a healthier way. Experiment and don’t be surprised if your tastes change over time. A baked sweet potato will start to taste better while soggy burgers will start to lose their appeal.

Simple Ways to Sneak More Exercise into Your Day

The key to regular exercise is to create a few habits. An easy way to start is to incorporate a brisk daily walk. Something as simple as a stroll after dinner or first thing in the morning can contribute to a healthy body. Another option many find helpful is to wear a pedometer or fitness tracker. Monitor your daily step count for a few days and then start to increase it until you get to the recommended 10,000 steps – or challenge yourself to do even more.

Keep your bones strong and improve your overall fitness by adding some simple weightlifting routines. You don’t need any fancy equipment. Use your body weight for resistance and grab some cans to use as weights. Of course, if you’re feeling motivated, you may also choose to join a gym or hire a personal trainer to help you get into a good workout routine.

Between the healthy food you’re eating and the exercise you’re getting, you’ll start to feel better, get stronger, and become healthier. As a result, your immune system will be in a better position to protect you from whatever cold and flu season sends your way.

Stay strong and healthy

Fran Watson

P.S.  For more info on prevention against the Corona virus click here

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Sleep, dear one, sleep

The Importance of Sleep to Help Your Body Fight Colds and Flu This Season

Sleepless nights

Can you recall a time in your life when you didn’t get enough sleep? For many of us, this happens from time to time. We’re staying up late to study for finals in school. Or how about those many sleepless nights after welcoming a newborn. Or maybe you suffer from the occasional bout of insomnia. Think back on one of those times. Chances are that those were also times when you were more likely to catch a cold or come down with the flu or a stomach bug.

Rest and fluids

On the flip side, making sure you get plenty of quality sleep can serve as a sort of insurance policy. It strengthens your immune system and helps your body fight off any type of infection or threat that comes its way. In addition, your body will be able to heal itself faster should you come down with something if you get plenty of rest. That’s why your doctor often orders plenty of rest and fluids when you have a cold.

But why exactly is sleep so important both to boost the immune system to avoid getting sick in the first place – and during the recovery period, should you come down with something? Your immune system uses antibodies to fight an infection. At the end of the day, it works the same whether you’re preventing an infection from taking hold or fighting one off that’s taken enough of a hold to make you feel sick. These antibodies stick to the virus and affect cells, rendering them ineffective. The virus-antibody combo can then be eliminated, which is why it is important that you drink plenty of fluids. It makes it easier for your body to flush them out.

This still doesn’t explain the role of sleep, does it? I’m getting there. Your body produces antibodies more effectively while you sleep. I’m no scientist, but I’m sure it has something to do with the fact that your body isn’t busy doing everything else it has to do as you move about your day, running around, eating, getting that papercut that requires additional resources… you get the idea. While you are asleep, your immune system can work more efficiently at producing antibodies and deploying them throughout the body to fight the infection.

Keep this in mind the next time you’re tempted to burn the candles from both ends, and use it as motivation to stay home and take a nap instead of heading out somewhere when you’re coming down with something.

More info on the Corona virus and ways to stay healthy here

Stay safe

Fran Watson

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Social Distancing

Avoid Getting Sick by Keeping Your Distance

Social Distancing

There are quite a few things you can do to avoid coming down with the flu or catching one of those nasty colds or virus this year. Yes, you can and probably should get a flu shot. Get plenty of sleep, eat a healthy diet, and exercise regularly. The healthier your body, the stronger your immune system. Another important preventative measure is washing your hands. But don’t stop there.

As much as possible, keep your distance from people who are coughing and sneezing. Turns out that the average cold or flu virus travels about six feet through the air. That means if you can keep a little bit of distance between yourself and anyone that looks like they are sick, you improve your chances of staying healthy.

Of course, that’s easier said than done. Sometimes we end up stuck in meetings with sick coworkers who didn’t stay home. Or we must brave public transportation. Or worst of all, we have to wait in a doctor’s waiting room or hospital. Wearing a mask and washing your hands will help. You should also do your best to keep that six feet distance I mentioned earlier. Move a few seats if you can. Take a different route when you see someone with glassy eyes, or someone who’s showing any kinds of symptoms that indicate they may have a cold or the flu.

Teach your loved ones to do the same. If they get sick, you will be surrounded by people who spent most of their day within close proximity of you, needing your help and physical attention. Eat a healthy diet and go out and exercise as a family. Boost your vitamin C intake during the winter months when cold and flu are most rampant. When they do get sick – it happens – do your best to protect yourself. Wash your hands and try to avoid getting coughed or sneezed on. I know, easier said than done, but do what you can.

Last but not least, use your influence to encourage others to stay home when they are sick. Lead by example. Stay home from the office and avoid heading out to the store when you’re sick.

If you have to venture out, keep your distance and wear a mask. Don’t sneeze or cough into your hands. Use hand sanitizer before touching common use items like the keypad at the grocery store and the likes. Keep your kids home from school. Spread the message of the importance of staying home when sick to get others to do the same.

Take daily precautions

It is important to note that there is still uncertainty regarding how the novel coronavirus evolves and transmits as more and more cases pop up around the world.

More on why Social Distancing is important

Health Canada website

Stay safe, stay healthy

Fran Watson

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Boost Your Immune System

3 Simple Ways to Boost Your Immune System

 

We all have times when we could use a little extra boost to our immune system. Cold and flu season are certainly part of that time, or the long winter weeks when we’re stuck inside and more likely to catch something. It’s also important anytime you board a plane or when your kids start school. Here are three simple things you can do daily to strengthen your immune system. Which brings up a good point: For best results, implement daily. Let’s start.

Eat Plenty of Fresh Fruits and Vegetables

All systems of your body work best when they are properly fed. This includes your immune system. Stick to a mainly whole foods based diet that includes plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables. If you feel like you might be a little under the weather or suspect that you may have come into contact with someone sick, increasing your intake of Vitamin C may help as well. Eat a few citrus fruits. Broccoli, cauliflower, and kale are other great options.

Avoid eating processed foods. It takes a lot of time and effort to digest them and you don’t want to weigh your body down with extra work when that energy could be used to boost your immune system, keep you from getting sick, or help you get well sooner.

Get Some Exercise

In addition to eating well, get out there and get regular exercise. For best results, work out in the fresh air. Something as simple as a daily quick walk can help you stay well and strengthen your body. It has the added benefit of helping you to de-stress. I don’t have to tell you that you’re more likely to get sick when you are stressed out. Use daily exercise to destress and stay well. It will also help you with the last way to boost your immune system.

Make Time for Sleep

This last tip is easy to skip over, yet it is the most important one for most of us and the one that can give your immune system a great boost. It’s getting enough sleep. Make the time to get seven to eight hours of sleep each night. Practice good sleep hygiene. Don’t let the word scare you. It means turning off your phone and other screens a few hours before bed. Keep your bedroom calm, quiet, and at a temperature that encourages sleep. It also includes establishing and sticking to a bedtime routine. As an added bonus, you’ll feel more energized for everything else you have to do all day.

Remember to Wash Your Hands

Info on immune systems – not researched by me – available on internet

Stay safe and maintain your social distance

Fran Watson

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Wash Your Hands

Good Hand Hygiene is Your Best Line of Defense Against Cold and Flu

 

With cold and flu season underway, and the current pandemic scare, we all want to do what we can to avoid getting sick. Unlike bacterial infections that can quickly be cleared up with a round of antibiotics, with sicknesses caused by viruses like the flu or the common cold, you often have to ride it out. While there are medications that can help ease your symptoms, your immune system must fight the viral infection off. Why not take it easy on your body and do what you can to avoid catching it in the first place.

Your first line of defense to avoid getting sick this year is simple – Wash Your Hands. That’s right. The simple act of washing your hands frequently with soap and hot water limits the spread of cold and flu viruses and your chance of coming down with them.

Get in the habit of washing your hands whenever you’ve been out in public, and whenever you can throughout the workday. Wash them before you eat or drink food and when hot water and soap aren’t available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.

Why is this so important? Because you are more likely to pick those viruses up with your hands than any other way. Sure, having someone cough in your face doesn’t help, but your chances of getting the flu or coming down with the common cold thanks to contact with a handrail or doorknob are much higher. You pick the virus up by moving about your day. It could be touching the handle of a shopping cart or closing a door behind you. It’s now on your hands, which isn’t a big problem by itself. It can’t enter through the skin there.

Don’t Touch Your Face

The problem arises when you touch your face. It happens a lot more than most of us are aware of. We touch our nose, rub our eyes, or get our fingers too close to our mouth when we eat or cough. The virus makes it to a mucous membrane in any of those areas and it’s right where it wants to be.

That’s why it’s important to wash your hands. It isn’t some busy work that healthcare professionals give you to make you feel like there’s something you can do. It is your best line of defense. So, what are you waiting for? Go wash your hands.

How To Stop Touching Your Face

The Power Of Hand Washing To Prevent Coronavirus

Stay safe – wash often!!

Fran

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Improving Perspective

Journaling for Improved Perspective

Developing a habit of introspection can be hard, but when you learn to write in your journal every day, you will also learn that you have gained a greater perspective on your life, yourself, and other people. Journaling is a powerful tool for learning to think differently. Here’s why!

The Power of Journaling to Improve Perspective

Expressive writing, as journaling is sometimes called, can not only help improve your mood and memory, but it also enables you to develop a better perspective. Those who journal regularly are better able to assess the situations and relationships in their lives. Journaling helps to increase your optimism as well as help you gain accountability for yourself, your feelings, and your actions. When you take the time to objectively write about yourself, and use your journal as a reflective tool, you can learn a great deal about yourself.

Journals become a record of your habits, emotions, and decisions. Over time, these writings can help you identify patterns in how you are feeling, self-sabotaging behaviors that could be affecting your ability to achieve your goals, and much more. Journals help you figure out where time is being used and abused, which people are more helpful (or harmful) to your emotional well-being, and where you are making the most progress toward your dreams.

Journaling is a cognitive processing act that can help you uncover hard truths about yourself, as well. The more you write about what you are feeling and the sources of your emotions, the better able you are to understand why these triggers are so strong and how you could better handle them.

While the act of writing in your journal helps develop perspective, you also learn a great deal when you go back and read your journal from time to time. The more you think about your own thinking, which is known as metacognition, the more you understand what forces drive and influence you, where your thinking may be faulty, and what areas of your life seem the most likely to suffer from erroneous perspectives or ideas.

Journaling is a way to identify where you are right now. And until you know this, you can’t devise a proper plan for where you want to go. Gaining perspective through journaling is a wonderful way to make better choices that can help you achieve your goals.

Tips to Get Started with Journaling

If you are ready to start a journaling habit, here are some tips to help you get started.

#1. Find a journal you really love. The more it feels like yours, the more likely you will be to write in it every day. Some people enjoy decorating or customizing their journals, so they feel important.

#2. Create a journaling routine. Some people like to write at the same time every day. Some people like to write in their journal with the same activity each day (i.e. after breakfast). Choose the time that works best for you, and then stick to that time. Put it on your calendar or to-do list if you need to but commit to that routine for at least 30 days.

#3. You do not have to write for extended periods, especially at first. Starting with just five minutes a day can get you going, help you see the benefits of journaling, and get you started in your new routine. Once you develop the habit, you can build up your stamina by writing more until you find a period that works best for you.

#4. Don’t stress over what you write. Start with the simple stuff. What did you do today? What is your emotional state? What was something positive or negative that happened to you recently? Once you get going, you will find more interesting and insightful topics, especially as your brain begins to appreciate the opportunity of journaling for helping you work through your feelings.

Journal on….

Fran Watson

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Spiritual Benefits of Journaling

Journaling Benefits for Your Spirit

Whether you are a religious person or not, you should not ignore the health and state of your spirit. Your spiritual side is something that you can explore through yoga, meditation, and even journaling.

Perspective

Journaling offers perspective. It allows you to preserve your experiences, impressions, and thoughts each day. Life is littered with joy and sorrow, failures and successes. We have a variety of experiences each day and they impact us differently. When you capture your emotions and thoughts about those experiences on paper it provides you with a snapshot. This is something that you can reflect on to explore previous experiences and what has been changing in your life.

Once you have been journaling for a while, you can flip back through journals to see where you were a year ago. Or, flip back to a time when you were experiencing similar things. Often, we face problems that seem insurmountable. Yet, when you look into your past journaling you can see all of the challenges that you survived, thrived, and overcome.

Amazing things are happening in your life and it’s easy to overlook the small things. Your journal can essentially serve as a reminder to you of what you have walked through, what you have survived, what you have overcome, and how you’re still standing. That is something that will feed your spirit. Creating a consistent routine that involves journaling will provide you with insights into yourself and healing.

Reflection

It isn’t the process of writing that will transform you, it’s the reflection. The clearest path to the development of your spiritual self is a mindset that nurtures. You can create that mindset in yourself through the self-reflection that journaling offers.

All you need to journal is a pen and paper. You can create your journal in whatever way makes you happy. Find a journal that you like the feel of when you hold it. One that you love the look of and makes you want to write. The key to benefiting your spirit through journaling is consistency. Ideally, you should make time to journal daily. However, as you get started try to journal at least four times a week. As you get into the groove, you are more likely to think of more things you’d like to write about.

Reflective Journaling

Reflective journaling is one of the best methods to benefit your spirit. It’s a meaningful way to journal. Once you have finished your journal entry, take ten minutes or so to reflect on what you have written. Think about your day, how it made you feel, and how you would like to do and be better going forward. You can add more to your journal if you wish.

When you write in your journal, it’s good to put yourself back into the experience you’re writing about. Try to recall the smell in the air, the faces of the people who were there, how you felt, what you could see, smell, and touch. Think about how other people felt in that moment and whether your emotions aligned. Take time to dwell on it.

As you continue to journal you will learn more about yourself. As you learn about yourself, you can find new ways to grow and develop as a person. Your physical health is important, your mental health is vital, your emotional state matters, and so does your spirit. Don’t forget it as you look to support the other areas of your health. Allow journaling to feed your spirit, just as it supports your emotional and mental health. Take time to reflect and don’t be afraid to ask yourself honest questions to tease out deeper knowledge.

Go deep

Fran Watson

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Journaling Benefits Your Mind

Journaling Benefits For The Mind

Dear diary. That’s how we sometimes see journaling, isn’t it? We conjure up an image of a teenager lounging on their bed, writing about their crush ignoring them in the cafeteria. We overlook its value as a tool. Yet, repeatedly science tells us that journaling offers a host of benefits for the mind. (https://www.uwhealth.org/news/the-benefits-of-journaling/48224).

Let’s take a look at how.

Embracing Mindfulness
When you journal about your frustrations, concerns, and anxieties you remove their power. When worry loses its edge you can move to a more mindful place.

Stretches Your Vocabulary
As you write in your journal you will be exploring language. You will reach points where you wonder what word to use in the moment and you will search for new ones. This is going to stretch your vocabulary, as well as encourage your imagination.

Chasing Goals
Your journal is a place where you can write about your dreams, ambitions, and goals for life. Simply writing them can’t be enough to achieve those goals, can it? While it’s more complicated than that, you certainly can’t achieve your goals if you don’t know what they are and note them down. By writing your dreams out you’re telling your brain it’s important. It encourages your brain to red flag opportunities that will help you achieve your goal.

Supporting Emotional Intelligence
A journal is an ideal place for you to process your feelings. As you do this, you will learn to manage and perceive emotions (yours and others). It’s this that will increase your self-awareness as well as your emotional intelligence.

Increasing Comprehension & Improving Memory
Words represent ideas and as you formulate those ideas by forming letters your brain retains that information. So, by journaling, you are improving your memory and also increasing your comprehension.

Increasing Self-Discipline
How can journaling support self-discipline? It requires you to set time aside to journal, daily, and that in itself is an act of self-discipline. Discipline breeds discipline. Just like a muscle that becomes stronger the more you exercise it. When you form a positive habit like journaling you are supporting your self-discipline and increasing your ability to spread good habits throughout your life. So, journaling will have a domino effect on healthy habits.

Better Communication
The more you write, the better you can communicate with others. You put more thought into the words that you choose and how you communicate certain ideas. Journaling might not make you a better public speaker, but it will certain improve your overall communication skills.

Promotes Healing
There is a healing power in the pen. We tend to overthink things and create unnecessary stress and anxiety for ourselves. Writing all of that out in a journal helps relieve those emotional blockages. What you’re doing as you write it all out is processing it in a way that makes it easier for you to comprehend. By doing that, you are freeing your mind from the emotionally tangled web you have weaved for yourself.

Triggers Creativity
We already touched on creativity, but it bears repeating. Allowing yourself to write freely without thinking is an excellent way to beat writer’s block, trigger new ideas and thoughts, and just allow yourself to let go.

Boosts Self-Confidence
When you journal about the positive experiences you have had your brain relives that joy and gets a healthy boost in self-confidence. It’s a great way to smother self-doubt when it rears its ugly head. It’s also a great mood booster.

Different Methods of Journaling

You don’t have to feel forced to keep a certain type of journal, since there are so many different ways to use one. Here are just some of the many methods of journaling you can use.

General Journal

The first method of journaling is the most traditional form, which is where you simply write down your thoughts as often as needed. You might write in the journal a couple days a week when you have the time or a reason to do so, or you may journal once a day at the end of the day, similar to keeping a diary. This method is the most flexible since it is really up to you how you want to do it. With a general method of journaling, the frequency, what to include, and type of journal organization you use is entirely up to you.

Bullet Journal

This is a newer form of journaling, but one that is getting popular very fast. Bullet journaling provides a way to keep track of everything in your daily life, including finances, goals and bucket lists, family life, work, mental and physical health, and tons more. With bullet journaling, you are using primarily symbols and short words or phrases to discuss different things instead of full pages of writing like with a general or standard form of journaling. It also has an index and page numbers since there are so many different sections in the journal.

Dream Journal

There are journals about a specific topic, such as your dreams. If you are someone with confusing, elaborate, or vivid dreams, this is the perfect journal to keep. You can have a dream section in a bullet journal, or dedicate one small journal to nothing but recording your dreams. It helps to write them down immediately upon waking, as you will forget them rather quickly.

Gratitude Journal

A gratitude journal is one where you aren’t just talking about all your thoughts or what you do day to day, but actually only talks about the good things. It is meant to help you practice mindfulness and live a happier life through gratitude. You look at the positive parts of your day, no matter how big or small they are, and put those in your journal. By doing this, you are able to focus more on the things in your life and dwell less on the bad things. Over time, you can start to heal and live a more optimistic life.

To your continued success

Fran Watson

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Emotional Health

Journaling Benefits For Emotional Health

How do you feel right now? Are you bored? Happy? Sad? Excited? Angry? Frustrated?

You can improve and change your mood when you take time out to write down what is happening in your life.

Diary

Did you write in a diary when you were younger? Or, did you have a pen pal who you would share your innermost thoughts with and exchange chatty letters regularly? You probably know that you felt better after doing it. So, why wouldn’t you recognize how journaling can benefit your emotional health?

Journaling can leave you feeling more grounded, deeply connected to yourself and others, and even boost your memory. As journaling helps relieve stress, it will also support your immune system thus improving your overall physical health, too!

Ideas

Writing out your ideas will help you clarify what is on your mind. It will help you process the experiences that you have gone through. Journaling helps you recognize your feelings and deal with them. It will help you develop clarity about who you are as a person and what you want from life. You might not feel comfortable sharing your story with others, you might not want to talk about it. Writing about it is a powerful tool. You can think of it as writing your memoirs if that makes it any easier for you to get into it. The point is that you can process experiences, deal with past traumas, and outline what you want to achieve for your future.

It might seem boring, to write about the things that happened to you today. However, Harvard research suggests that we are more interesting than we realize. The subjects in the study were asked to write about current experiences, whether it was a social media update or an activity. They were also asked to rate how interested they were in what they were given to write about. When asked to rate this using a scale of one to seven, three was the average response. Yet, when the subjects were given their journal entries three months later and asked for a new rating the average was 4.34 (https://www.hbs.edu/faculty/Publication%20Files/Rediscovery_91a38887-12e7-4c5c-a60d-866c0e4a95c4.pdf).

So, if in the moment you are rolling your eyes thinking your journal entry is pointless… know that it isn’t. You will benefit from it when it comes time to reflect.

Little Moments

Even moments that seem insignificant can take on deeper meaning down the line. We often don’t realize just how important these little moments are. We don’t recognize how they are influencing our emotional health. Take the time to complete a detailed inquiry into the smaller moments of your life, look at an insignificant moment about tease out more information that may show you how it impacted your emotions.

Memories

The memories that you record form part of your identify. We are guilty of misremembering the past. As we share a story and embellish it for an audience that becomes part of our internal record. We start to believe that it happened just as we described. Your memory can also be swayed by input from others and future events. So, recording them in a journal can be beneficial to your emotional health. When you run into difficult times, you can go back to a similar time to see how you coped and what you did to overcome.

Keep It Personal

Writing might not be easy for everyone, but a journal isn’t for the eyes of others. This is your own personal path and you don’t need to share it with anyone. So, don’t worry about writing something amazing. Don’t think about how others would perceive your thoughts. Just let it out. As you do, you will see an improvement in your emotional health.

To your continued journey of personal growth

Fran Watson

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Developing Habits

How to Create the Habit of Journaling

Creating a new habit take time, practice, and patience, and learning to journal is no different. Whether you want to start journaling to improve your self-awareness and emotional health or to help you gain clarity or solve a problem, it is important to start with a solid foundation that will help you integrate this important and worthwhile activity into your life.

Step 1:  How to Start a Journaling Habit

First, you need to decide what part of your time lends itself best to a regular writing habit. Like any habit, you need to find a space for it in your life if you want it to stick.

When is a time in your day that you can devote to 10-20 minutes of quiet reflection? During what part of your day is your mind most capable of this habit? Some people do not like to write every day but instead, commit to a practice of three or four times per week. Before you start the process, figure out what you can reasonably commit to and make a choice to write during these times.

Step 2:  Format

Next, you should consider which format will work best for you. Is a paper journal best or will an app help you make this a habit? Does keeping it on your computer make more sense? Whatever you choose, get the notebook, download the app, or create the document, but get yourself ready to write.

Step 3:  Write

Now, it is time to write. Just do it. Do not worry about what you write. Don’t filter or edit yourself. Just let your thoughts flow from your mind into your journal. If you get stuck, look for prompts online to get you going, but don’t worry about following any type of formula or focus right away. Just start writing. The more you do it, the easier it will get.

Step 4:  Reflect

Once you have been at it for a week or so, look for ways that your journal entries can inspire you to take action or make minor changes in your life. Have you noticed themes popping up more? Are there things you can do to address some of these areas? What will your journal teach you?

Reflection on your entries is perhaps the most powerful part of your journaling habit. Look back to see how far you have come, what you can learn, what you notice about your emotions or decisions. Learning from your entries gives you insight, helps you make better choices, and promotes better understanding.

Once you have started, it is essential to keep it up. It can help to set a reminder on your phone, create an appointment on your calendar, or post notes around your home or workspace that help you remember to write every day. Start small and work your way up toward longer stretches if writing is not already a part of your daily routine. Even if you just journal for five minutes a day for the first week, this is helping you build a habit.

Give yourself time and be patient. You may not notice that you think or feel differently for a few weeks. That’s okay. Like all good things, the results take time to develop. You will start to notice them soon, we promise.

Final Thoughts

Writing in a journal every day can help you solve problems, gain greater awareness, calm your mind, and improve your overall health. When you practice this critical routine daily, it can improve your memory and focus, stabilize your emotional health, and even improve your immune system. Find a routine that works for you and get busy writing!

To your journey

Fran Watson

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