Mental Health is such a difficult thing to keep track of because it’s so up and down. I can have a really good week then a really bad week. I’m affected by everything; hormones, family issues, workload, how others around me are feeling… even the weather affects my mood. I have certain habits and behaviours that I’d rather not have, and they always tend to increase the worse I’m feeling. Things like being particularly self-critical, picking at my skin, self-sabotaging by eating foods I know I’m intolerant to, finding it difficult to concentrate on work, feeling unmotivated. Whereas when I’m having a good week I’m up early, I’m productive, I’m taking good care of myself and making better choices.
But from the end of last year and throughout the beginning of this year I’ve definitely noticed a change in behaviour, and I’m feeling the calmest and most mentally stable I’ve ever felt. Part of that I credit to my extremely hard work during therapy last year. But I also really feel a lot of it is down to my 6-Minute Diary.
I bought two of these diaries, one for Rose and one for myself, after having a deep chat with our good friend. She was saying how her boyfriend had been using his 6-Minute Diary every day and how it had made a real difference to his mental health and she sent me a link. As someone who LOVES journalling (I literally have about five different diaries on the go right now), I bought them right away.
The beginning of the diary is a note from the creator of it, who shares an intimate story of his mental and physical struggles and how he overcame them. I won’t spoil the story, but it touched me to hear of someone who hit rock bottom and managed to get himself out of that place.
Next, the diary explains the psychological reasoning behind all the details of the diary. It’s great to understand the point of all the exercises, and know that it isn’t just random filler!
The idea of the diary is that you spend 3 minutes filling it in first thing in the morning and another 3 minutes the last thing at night before you go to bed. I immediately noticed that I was feeling so much more positive, especially just before bed. It was so lovely writing about all the wonderful things that had happened that day and I noticed that not only did I go to bed with a smile on my face, but even my dreams were more positive!
I will admit, I find it hard to fill in in the morning, as I’m a bit forgetful and usually running late, so sometimes I have to wake up and hop straight into the shower! But as I’ve spent a lifetime writing in my diary whilst tucked up in bed, that’s my favourite bit.
The diary also includes a habit tracker and a tool to rate certain areas of your life, like your health, your overall mood etc and it’s so interesting to flick through the monthly trackers and see how those areas are changing and why. Then it has weekly challenges and monthly questions for you to think about. It’s almost like homework about your own life! The monthly questions have made Rose and I think really deeply about what we are happy with and what we want to change in our lives – it’s honestly helped give me a much better perspective and some direction!
Inside the cover of The 6-Minute Diary, the tagline is “A book that will change your life”. Well, it’s certainly changed mine.