The Art of Journaling

We are living in some unprecedented times. Many people are struggling and words like pressure, rush, mental health, suicide, social media, addiction, drugs – these are almost the new normal.  As a result, more and more people have trouble with finding themselves in a good place emotionally and mentally.

What is that feeling that something is not right?

It is easy to lose the connection with ourselves and our feelings, in a world where we are over-stimulated 24-7 by work, social media, expectations, etc. We are not aware of our thoughts and our behaviours, se we lose touch with our inner world. We live our lives the best we can, we go go go. Many people have trouble saying no and with standing up for themselves. In these hectic times we have so many options and choices, it’s hard to know where to go. We continue to run and we don’t stop.

So what can we do?

Press the “pause bottom”, as Prema from Mandali always says. We are looking for happiness and peace and balance but we don’t know how to get there. Because we have not learned how to deal with emotions and feelings and we are not self-aware, of our behaviors as well as our thoughts.

This is where journaling comes in. Taking time out to sit down and think and write down your thoughts is extremely healing, and also empowering. That moment to pause. Writing is literally letting go. Letting go of our thoughts is like an instant relief.  Like a tire that loses its pressure. We feel safe when we write, and a bonus is that we are in the present moment while doing it 🙂To be in your own mind in your own time is just an incredible feeling. It gives ourselves the attention that we so much need, we put ourselves first. It is an act of self-love, real Me-Time.

There are many ways of journaling

  • Intuitive writing (writing what-ever comes to mind), a story that needs to be told 
  • a life plan, wishes and dreams
  •  writing about your behavior and feelings,
  • writing about day-to-day life, your daily thoughts.
  • writing when you are sad or angry

All of these forms are good. They allow us to release what is burning inside of us, and by letting it go, we start to look at our thoughts and patterns in a different, more lighter and neutral way.  

While writing, we begin to see things more clearly and honestly, and “open for change”. We can change perspective on the way we see our own lives and the world – which has often been distorted. We start really being our own best friend, and take control of our lives. Like in an aeroplane, we need to take the oxygen mask first before we can help other people. Once we are there you will understand that your thoughts are not true, often on repeat,  we can change them into new and better ones. So we can start to live our lives authentically – YOUR dream life that you always dreamt of.

After a difficult time in my life, going through a depression, and finding my way slowly again in new and better circumstances, I was looking for a way to share what I learned to help others. I especially wanted to help young people living in these times, where it’s so easy to get overwhelmed and lose touch with themselves, by giving them tools which will help make their life easier through self reflection. That’s why I came up with a simple and fun 4 step method that I have combined with a journal, called MY JOURNAL. It guides people to reflect, write and find themselves so they can create their own manual and start doing what is right for them so they become balanced, whole and happy. Because we all want to feel peaceful and in the present moment, because that is where the magic happens. The reactions up till now have been really impressive. 

I wrote this book with the purpose to heal the world a bit. Since I believe, as all the teachers at Mandali do too, that if we like and love ourselves (self love) we will automatically be kind to others. So let’s all do that, in our own way, let’s spread some love.

”Let’s allow journaling to be our meditation. Nothing more, nothing less.” – Beth Kempton

About Maggie Maris

Maggie is a friend of Mandali and shares our vision being a point of light in the world, helping others through her work. She is the author of MY JOURNAL and MY WAY, beautiful journaling tools to help to self-reflect and grow in your journey of self discovery. Her books are published in Dutch and soon in English, for more information please go here: www.maggiesway.n IG: @maggies.way

5 tips to start 2022 off on the right foot

1. ​Spend as much time in nature as possible and oxygenate the brain and body.

This might seem obvious but in this world of urban living and busyness, we spend too much time in our isolated, unventilated homes. Commit to going on daily short walks and going into a natural park for longer periods at least once a week. Time spent walking in a heavily forested environment changes our whole outlook on the day. Many of us go for prolonged periods of time without immersing ourselves in the freshness of nature. Since we are spending many hours a week wearing a mask, we want to give ourselves the gift of clean air. At Mandali, we have the advantage of pristine nature and unpolluted air all around us.

2.Avoid conversations and people who get into heated polarized, political, social, or cultural views.

Life is short and as the ancient Greeks used to say, “take the time to understand other(s) and when others are more interested in the position of being “right” rather than the all-encompassing view of understanding that we have different ways of seeing the world than walk away”. The chaos of today is forcing people to choose sides and sometimes we have to choose a side. Whatever side you choose, you want to cultivate respect, understanding, and empathy for the other view.  If you feel yourself arguing and getting angry that others have a difference of opinion, remove yourself from the environment, breathe and remember that every view has merit (even if it is only 1% true).  Do not compromise your state of equanimity for anyone or anything. The wise person listens with friendliness and decides whether to engage or disengage without causing harm or hatred.  

​3. ​Honestly review your day – Practice Self-Inquiry.

Ask yourself at the end of each day: Where did I compromise my highest values? Where was I self-aware and kind and where did I lose the plot today? By doing this regularly, you will spend more and more time living the kind of day that brings joy and fulfillment. Ask yourself: what did I do well today? Where was my discipline tested? Where did I not do so well today? How can I improve tomorrow? Just don’t beat yourself up. Remember to forgive yourself daily.  Practice self-compassion. Research shows that forgiving yourself, not beating yourself up, prevents you from continuing to put things off. Don’t just be critical of yourself. Think about what you did well so you can repeat it tomorrow. Be grateful for the good that happened today!  

4. ​Take multiple short 5-minute mindfulness breaks throughout the day.

This will reset your nervous system. Practice your favourite breathing meditation. Breathe in consciously and imagine that with every exhale, you are removing the mask of tension. Use your hands in a gesture of gathering air and imagine you are inhaling pure, clean air, and with every exhale, you could even put your hand on your face imagining you are removing stuck masks: the mask of disappointment, the mask of tiredness, the mask of the fear of uncertainty.  This exercise produces unfathomable results.  By consciously breathing and imagining that we are unmasking ourselves of our struggles and pain, the joy of our original face is revealed.  

5. ​Move your body vigorously at least once a day.  

Dance to your favourite song. Moving to one short song instantly changes your chemistry. If you are not sure what song to play, we have attached a fun short song here.  Moving your body in creative and emotionally expressive ways reduces stress and depression, increases energy and serotonin, increases mental capacity and creativity, and increases so much joy that we are better equipped to handle the ups and downs of home and work life.

Here’s a little feel good moment:


Jon Bastiste- FREEDOM https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3YHVC1DcHmo