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After several weeks of dealing with the physical, emotional, and financial challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic, it’s evident that we can learn lessons and find personal take-aways from this crisis. During these uncertain and stressful times of social distancing and quarantining, it is essential we tap into reflective activities that can drastically shift our thoughts to a positive mind state.  Thus, helping us get through this with as much grace and peace as possible.

Journaling is a valuable tool for improving one’s mental health. Grabbing a pen and paper and writing can be a great exercise to help foster gratitude and help individuals see the silver linings to make current life more bearable. Using journal prompts can help to inspire this reflection and positivity.

From a scientific perspective, writing in a journal requires the application of the rational left side of your brain, which is the analytical part of the mind. While this left-side brain is “busy” writing, the right-side brain, which is the creative and sensible side, will be free to be engaged in wonder and play allowing more intuition, inspiration, and confidence to flow.

Additionally, one useful way to manage emotions is finding a healthy way of expression. Journaling can be an effective tool to help manage anxiety, reduce stress, and cope with depression. The exercise of writing can help improve mood by identifying fears and concerns, tracking symptoms, providing an opportunity for positive self-talk, and identifying negative thoughts. Even a few minutes of journaling each day has been shown to have valuable mental health benefits, and most of us can probably find a few extra minutes these days to prioritize our wellbeing.

Even if you’ve never journaled in the past, give it a try by simply choosing one of the prompts below that sticks out to you. Sit with it for a minute or two and see what thoughts arise. If you’d like, set a timer for 5-10 minutes and begin to write down anything that has surfaced and see where it takes you. It can be helpful to spend some time each morning or evening thinking or writing through one of the below prompts.  Journaling can be incorporated into a daily and therapeutic meditative practice.

Journal Prompts:

  1. Have any silver linings, even if they are faint, started to present themselves regarding this crisis?
  2. How has the crisis forced me to develop new healthy habits?
  3. Has this crisis made me aware of any self-sabotaging habits I need to shift or heal or given me clarity about what’s not working in my life?
  4. What’s one new thing that’s come out of this crisis that I want to keep in my life even after the crisis is over?
  5. In what ways has this difficult time forced me to step up to the plate or rise to the occasion, digging deeper than I knew I could?
  6. During this crisis, what are some of the new, useful ways to comfort and support myself that have emerged?
  7. Has my outlook on anything in particular become more positive?
  8. What are some little things I used to stress about that I now realize are not so important?
  9. What goals and dreams have this crisis motivated me to prioritize?
  10. Have I found myself consistently grateful for something during this difficult season, even if it’s tiny?

Incorporating a regular journaling practice into your routine coupled with other healthy daily habits, such as consuming a balanced diet, getting regular physical activity and proper sleep, and managing stress can serve to create order as the chaos in the world around us continues.

Additionally, stay connected with friends and family and let Merritt Clubs help you through these times. Tune into all our virtual offerings: Live group fitness classes, personal trainer workouts, wellness chats, dance parties, cocktail tutorials, and story time. Head over to our website and Facebook/Instagram page for the weekly schedule.

Sources:

https://thedoctorweighsin.com/can-journaling-improve-your-mental-health/

https://www.mindbodygreen.com/articles/26-journal-prompts-to-inspire-reflection-while-social-distancing?mbg_mcid=777:5e8d3b99102e51639655e3da:ot:5c1c18869799ec3cc64c647b:1&mbg_hash=519f898709b37592906cadb69200a224&utm_source=mbg&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=daily_v2_20200408

https://www.urmc.rochester.edu/encyclopedia/content.aspx?ContentID=4552&ContentTypeID=1

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