The Feel Good Effect is a series exploring the habits, tactics and mindsets that you can use in your real life to feel good, everyday.
How it works: Each week I adopt a new Feel Good practice and trial it in my own life for 2 weeks. At the end of the 2 weeks I share what I did, how it went, and the Feel Good Effect.
Feel Good Week 5: Moments Journal
Feel Good Practice
Noticing and recording a special or meaningful moment each day.
Minimal. Just a designated place to record the list each day.
Nothing, as long as the list is recorded electronically or in a currently owned journal.
Otherwise, between $8 to $20 if purchasing a designated journal.
Why I Tried It (The Science)
I came across a quote a few months ago that suggested that life, at least in retrospect, is simply a series of moments.
The idea that life is made up of moments was both profound and intriguing to me, and the act of capturing them immediately came to mind as a way to more intentionally reflect on these moments.
Part of the bigger goal of the Feel Good Effect is to slow down and focus on the joy in daily life, as I, like many of you, feel like some days zoom by so fast that I can hardly remember what happened.
This perpetually business, combined with constantly planning for what’s next, can take our attention away from what is actually happening in our life right now.
The idea of Moment Journaling, then, came to me as a way to slow down and find beauty in the now.
And, as I researched more, I found several research-based benefits of the practice.
First, it naturally increases mindfulness as we become more intentionally aware of what is happening in our life as we experience it so that we can record our moments in journal.
By being mindful in the present moment we can’t worry about what’s next or ruminate about the past - we just live our life as it is right now.
Practicing this type of mindfulness has been shown across several studies to decrease symptoms of stress, physical pain, depression, and anxiety, and has actually been shown to increase brain volume and activity in the prefrontal cortex - a brain area that plays a critical role in effectively managing stress and negative emotions.
Similar to Gratitude Journaling, the second benefit of recording moments is that it inevitably leads us to appreciate all the good things that happen throughout our day more, which not surprisingly makes us appreciate life more.
It turns out that intentionally taking a few moments to appreciate the good, interesting, or even challenging things that happen to us each day leads to significantly increased positive emotions, optimism, emotional self-awareness, spirituality, and satisfaction with life.
My Feel Good Experience
The first step in Moment Journaling is to begin to pay attention to special or meaningful moments throughout the day.
Perhaps it’s the compliment received from a friend, or the fact that you tried something new despite obstacles, or maybe it's holding hands with your child, or perhaps a sweet comment from your partner.
The second step is recording the moment in a designated place at the end of each day.
I found that identifying a moment each day took a bit of practice and intentionality, but after a few days the habit of noticing special moments became a natural process.
Looking for little moments each day also allowed me to be more reflective and thankful for the small, beautiful interactions and occurrences that fill my life.
Spending a few minutes in the evening recording the moment proved to be such a positive addition to my evening routine, and helped me to end the day with gratitude.
The fact that I only need to record one moment each day also took the pressure off, too, which allowed me to stick with it even though I'm not a committed journal keeper.
For me, most moments seem to relate to my daughter and the funny or special things she says or does, or to my relationship with my husband. A few moments also represent the work I am doing to push out of my comfort zone and try new things.
Below is a little excerpt from the two weeks. Each moment taken alone seems small, but together they tell the story of everyday, and having them recorded in one place allows me to reflect gratitude for the small things and to be more present overall.
Moments Journal: 14 Days
1 | Elle getting up, getting dressed, and making her bed without being asked. She’s becoming such a big kid!
2 | Listening to one of my favorite podcasts and dreaming big about what’s possible.
3 | Day date with Andrew to the location where we got married. Sitting in a small slice of sun, eating tots, drinking cider together.
4 | Sunday morning pancakes with Andrew and Elle. The three of us, eating breakfast together at the kitchen island.
5 | Elle asking: “Mama, can you give up the blog and instead help people stop throwing trash in the ocean and so we can help the animals?” I love that she is so conscientious and that she still thinks I am capable of such big things.
6 | Learning something new (podcast editing) and persevering even when it’s hard and difficult.
7 | Elle’s sheer, unbridled excitement about hearing thunder for the first time.
8 | First podcast recorded!
9 | Dreaming big with Andrew. His belief in me is amazing and something I am so grateful for.
10 | Elle riding all the way around the river on her scooter, and the two of us eating lunch together in the sun. When did my baby turn into my best friend?
11 | Kind and supportive emails + comments about the podcast. Having a community of people who believe in something is the coolest thing.
12 | Signing up for a conference and taking a risk on myself.
13 | Prioritizing time for a girl’s weekend with my BFF.
14 | Elle telling me, “Mama, someday I’m going to have a blog and I’m going to call it Whole Life Real Food.”
Other than the initial effort required to identify and remember daily moments, there weren’t any challenges associated with this practice.
Feel Good Effect
Reflecting on and capturing moments each day helped me to stay more present in my daily life, to take more notice of the beautiful and fleeting, and to experience more gratitude for the life I am living right now.
I’m not much of a journal keeper, so writing just one small moment took the pressure off and allowed me to sustain the practice daily.
I love, too, that I’ll have this journal in the future to remind me of the small details of today. The little things that make up life that otherwise can slip away.
It’s an easy practice to adopt, and one that I hope to continue daily.
Overall Feel Good Effect: High
Want to try this Feel Good practice for yourself? Subscribe for free, exclusive access to the Feel Good Practice Journal Pages Library!
Are you going to try Moment Journaling? Share your experience below!