Book Review: “The Five-Minute Journal”

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“It’s been proven over and over again that shifting your focus to the positive can dramatically improve your happiness. The key is consistency.” The Five-Minute Journal invites people to spend five minutes a day chronicling very specific parts of their lives. In the morning, it asks the holder of the journal to write down three things they’re grateful for, three things that would make the day great, and a statement of affirmation. In the evening, it asks for three things that made the day “awesome,” and one thing you could have done differently. There is space in the book for six months of daily logs.

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I read about The Five-Minute Journal a few times before impulsively buying it two weeks ago. The first part of the book describes how the act of logging gratitude and setting an intention for your day and reflecting on the day before sleeping can increase happiness. Reading the introduction inspired me to want to try it out. It seemed easy enough – if instead of reading emails and worrying first thing in the morning I wrote about the positive things that could happen that day, I might take on the day with a different attitude. If I reflected on the incredible moments of my day before bed and only made a short note about what could have made the day better, I might fall asleep feeling happy instead of worrying about the next day or dwelling on the not-so-great parts of the past one.

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I noticed a difference in my outlook on life after the first day. Perhaps it was the practice of writing first thing in the morning, before any negative thoughts or concerns had the chance to creep in to my consciousness. The first thing the book asks you to write about in the morning is three things you’re grateful for. Some mornings it was hard to know what to write, so I wrote things like “coffee,” “hot showers,” and “a job I look forward to.” Acknowledging even the smallest things made me feel lighter as I got ready for the day.

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The thing I loved most about filling in The Five-Minute Journal was that it felt like something I was doing just for myself. When you’re caring for a loved one, it can be hard to take the time to reflect on how you’re feeling and to have a chance to perhaps change your perspective. The short, simple, structured pages make that task feel easier.

For more information on The Five-Minute Journal, visit www.fiveminutejournal.com

Words and Photos by Cassandra Van Dyck

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