5 Strategies You Can Use To Stop Overthinking

Have you ever laid in bed at night, replaying that first day on the job when you embarrassed yourself in front of all of your new coworkers? Don’t worry, other people get confused by our printer’s settings too…But do they actually?? Or am I the only one who can cause a disastrous paper jam that requires 4 hours of work to fix?? Nope, stop overthinking it. Don’t go down that road.

You know it was forever ago and most people won’t remember it…but you still can’t help thinking that you should have done something differently. Maybe even been funnier. Made more friends. Been more outgoing. Laughed it off instead of awkwardly apologizing.

On your commute home from work, do you keep thinking about the risky email you sent your boss with a dash of extra sarcasm? Did she get the joke?! Was everything even spelt correctly? Maybe the sarcasm won’t get through and now she’ll think you’re a snarky bee. You refresh your email and dang, no response yet. F**k.

Some of us love to play the “what if” game. What if I had accepted that job offer? What if I had gone to a different school? 

If this sounds like you, chances are you are an overthinker. Welcome to the club! 

But we hope to dismantle it soon so don’t get too comfortable.

We can confidently say you are not alone. A study from the University of Michigan found that 73% of adults between the ages of 25-35 overthink. That is a crazy amount of people who are overthinking on a daily basis. 

Overthinking not only leads to you reliving the embarrassing moments that are better left in the past, but it also impacts your decision making skills, drops your energy levels, impacts your sleep, and hinders your creativity

This is definitely a habit we need to kick. And we have just the strategies you need to stop overthinking and rein it all in!

1. Bring It Back Down To Size

Remind yourself that this worry is most likely smaller than you think it is. Ask yourself if you will remember this in three months, six months, a year. If not, it is probably not worth your time.

Remember that email you spent 35 mins reworking to ensure that your point was clear, you were assertive but not too confident, and your grammar was flawless? We commend you for being detail oriented! 

And if that email was of incredible importance, you were right to be diligent. But if that email was about where your team should go for lunch tomorrow, you were 12/10 overthinking it. 

If it won’t matter in a month, don’t get stuck on it.

2. Remind Yourself That Overthinking Magnifies Your Feelings

Here’s what you need to know.

When something embarrassing happens, the person who messed up always experiences magnified feelings. Observers do not experience the same shame, nervousness, or embarrassment. 

Prevent overthinking about embarrassing situations by consistently reminding yourself that people do not attach themselves to your mistakes the same way you do. 

How about that time you tripped walking out of Starbucks? Gravity did its job and you hugged the ground like a reunion in a post-war love story. Your iced coffee splattered in a 5 mile radius, your sunglasses found their way to Pluto, and your bag luckily protected the left side of your rib cage. Nobody remembers that but you.

When you are able, reframe your mistakes as learning experiences, as that is truly what they are.

3. Find Evidence To Use Against Your Worry

When you are overthinking about a specific worry, identify the worry as a cognitive distortion— there are several different types. 

Catastrophizing is a type of cognitive distortion and it makes you believe that everything will end in tragedy or disaster. When you make a mistake, no matter how small, this cognitive distortion snowballs your thinking. 

For example, what if you didn’t study as much as you would have wanted to for a very important test at school? 

Catastrophic thinking would lead to this narrative: “I am going to fail. If I fail this test, my GPA will drop. If my GPA drops, then I won’t get a good job after I graduate. And if I don’t get a good job, then I will be living in my parents’ basement forever.”

See how that snowballs?! No wonder your pulse is accelerating and you’re having trouble breathing. That sh*t is terrifying.

Here what you can do to stop that. Check the worry you have with evidence. Come up with the facts. Use the cold hard truth to keep your worry within its boundaries.

The Worry: I’m going to fail this test.

Evidence for: I didn’t study as much as I usually do.

Evidence against: A failing grade is less than 50%. I went to all the lectures and finished the readings in time, even though I didn’t study as much as usual. The likelihood of me failing this test is actually in reality about 20%, which means the likelihood that I will pass is about 80%. I may not get an A or B, but I won’t fail. Ultimately, this will only affect my grade a bit.

Looking at the evidence helps you remember the facts that you are ignoring when you overthink. Try to put things in perspective.

4. Use Journaling To Think It Through

Another type of overthinking we love to engage in is when it comes to the future and  potential scenarios. Why? Because the future is uncertain and we don’t like that. So we go back and forth in our heads analyzing every single scenario. Also goes by the nickname of analysis paralysis.

The problem is that we get stuck in our heads. That loop keeps playing and it exhausts you to the point where you might choose something just to be done with the process. We don’t want that, no sir.

This is where journaling comes in! Journaling has sooo many benefits, even beyond helping organize your thoughts. Writing down your worries can help you “play the tape through” which is what psychologists recommend as a strategy to stop overthinking.

It basically means you see the scenario allllll the way through and pay attention to the details. Like this.

Allow yourself to think of the worst possible scenario (if you feel safe enough to do so). What is the likelihood the worry will happen? If it does happen, who will be there to support you? How will you get through? What is Plan B? 

As you “play the tape through”, use a journal to write down what you are feeling and keep track of it. 

The DiveThru app is a great tool to help guide your journaling. Using 1000+ journaling exercises, we’ll help you dive thru different areas in your life where you are overthinking or you need more clarity.  

Download the app here to get started! (it’s free!)

5. Tell Yourself To STOP

If all else fails, there is one more strategy you can try. 

This might sound silly but take it literally. Tell yourself “STOP!” and imagine a stop sign in your mind when you notice you are overthinking. This works for some, but not all. 

When you rehash a conversation wishing you had been more witty (us overthinkers love to do that), you can use this technique to stop you from rethinking different lines for every person. 

Imagine a stop sign, and tell yourself to stop. Say it out loud if you have to. And rolling stops don’t count here, friends. 

So there you have it. You’ve looked up ways to stop overthinking because you were overthinking your overthinking…and now you have 5 strategies to show for it! As much as we love your company, we really are trying to break up the overthinking club. 

Looking for another club to join though? We have a DiveThru Together Community on Facebook where you’ll find a bunch of awesome people that are passionate about their mental wellbeing. 

Now THAT group is worth your time! Don’t be shy, drop us a line.

How To Build Confidence And Self-Esteem In 10 Steps

Ok, team. First things first! We’re going to be talking about how to build confidence and self-esteem and there’s one thing to get clear right off the bat.

Although they’re often used interchangeably, self-confidence and self-esteem are actually quite different. Think of them like cats and dogs. Both in the realm of friendly, adorable household animals but very different. Did we just compare self-confidence and self-esteem to our pets? Apparently yes…

Here’s the deal on the difference between self-confidence and self-esteem:

Self-confidence is the ability to trust (or have confidence) in yourself. This also translates into a broader view of how likely you are to accomplish something. For example, if you train for your track meet, you’ll have more confidence in your ability to succeed.

Self-esteem, on the other hand, is the ability to place value in yourself, and believe in your overall worth as a human being. If you have high self-esteem you do not fear failure or rejection because you know that your worth is not dependent on those things. 

Make sense? Now we just need to learn how to build confidence and self-esteem…keep reading.

First Up, How To Build Confidence

Let’s focus on building that ability to trust yourself to do things, both old and new. These strategies are not rocket science but they will help you recognize your ability to succeed.

But yes, there is a chance this increase in confidence will push you to apply to NASA.

1. Take It One Step At A Time

As with most things we chat about on the DiveThru blog, change will not come overnight. And believing it will come overnight can cause major frustration, which is defs not the goal.

Instead, get into the habit of doing little things every day that create big change. And if you have a couple of bad days, don’t get discouraged. There will be plenty of ups and downs. The important thing is to keep moving forward.

Take a lesson from the Tortoise: slow and steady wins the race. 

2. Step Out Of Your Comfort Zone

Stepping out of your comfort zone is one of the best ways to grow. Trying new things will be scary, but that’s kind of the point.

Try to listen to the lululemon bag and do one thing a day that scares you. That will be a good start. Doing one scary thing per day is perfect because it combines taking it one step at a time and stepping out of your comfort zone. 

Here are some small ways to step out of your comfort zone everyday: smile at a stranger, try a new food, find your destination without using Siri, tell someone how you really feel.

After you’ve done these small things, you’ll realize you survived and will gain the confidence to try bigger things.

3. Surround Yourself With People Who Believe In You

We are often (or always) our own worst critics. If you’re having trouble developing self-confidence, try to surround yourself with people who are confident in you. You can’t control everything, but you can usually control – to some extent – the people you spend time with.

Say goodbye to the people who diminish you or put you down. Instead, stay close to those who build you up and believe in you. Their support will help you realize that you should believe in yourself too. 

4. Do Something That Makes You Happy

Doing something that you love is good for the soul. Whether it’s exercising, making art, or spending time outside, doing something that you’re passionate about just feels good. And it shows! The better you feel about yourself and how you’re spending your time, the more visible that becomes to others around you. Feeling good makes it easier to be confident in yourself and your choices.

So, you ready to test out our tips on how to be confident? Maybe even start with this one! Do something that makes you happy and then work your way up the list!

Next Up, How To Build Self-Esteem

Ok time to tackle another key element to who we are. We know self-esteem is rooted in the value you place on yourself and your overall worth as a human being. We also know you get to choose what to place that value on. So how do we do that?

We’re gonna unpack that below!

1. Embrace Yourself As You Are

Self-esteem means recognizing your inherent value as a human being. Not the value of your accomplishments or promotions or grades. Just you. All of you. The way you are.

Now, let’s be real. We’re not expecting you to wake up tomorrow morning and love every single thing about yourself. Embracing yourself will not happen overnight. Instead, spend time getting to know yourself and remember that whoever you are is perfectly ok. You don’t have to be who people think you should be – your value does not depend on what they think of you. 

2. Stand Up For Yourself

As we may have mentioned, um 3 seconds ago, you deserve to be happy and proud of who you are. Unfortunately, there are people out there who will try to put you down and make you believe that you aren’t good enough.

Stand up for yourself. Know that you are deserving of love and respect just the way you are.

To be clear, we’re not saying drop the gloves. What we are saying is make sure you are being treated the way you deserve to be treated. In prioritizing your value, you will start believing it.

It’s a circle: when you have high self-esteem, you stand up for yourself. And when you stand up for yourself, you strengthen your self-esteem. 

3. Notice, And Shift, Your Self-Talk

We all have a voice in our head. Sometimes it’s supportive and encouraging and super great. A lot of times it’s not. If you want to change your self-talk, start by simply recognizing your thoughts. When is it your nice voice and when is it your mean voice?

Then, one thought at a time, try training your brain to use positive language instead of the negative language that may first pop into your head. Research has shown that talking to yourself in the second- or third-person is even more effective because it creates psychological distance.

Statements like “Josie, you feel nervous” remove you from stressful situations and allow you to better cope with your emotions. Try to use these strategies to shift your self-talk; use it to build yourself up rather than tear yourself down.

4. Learn To Accept Compliments

How many times has this happened to you: someone compliments you and you don’t really believe them and you don’t know what to say so you just stand there and, not surprisingly, it becomes this awkward moment and now all you want to do is hide and did we mention awkwarddd??

According to psychologist Guy Winch, one way to boost your self-esteem (and avoid an uncomfortable situation) is to learn to accept those compliments. Just so you know, we think you’re pretty great. And you are completely deserving of any compliments you receive. Instead of brushing them off, try responding with a simple, “thank you”.

As you start accepting compliments, your self-esteem will grow, which will then make it easier to accept more compliments. Another nice little circle of growth. 

And Lastly, Here’s What Will Help You Build BOTH!

Like men’s shower products, we went after some 2-in-1 strategies. These will help you focus on your confidence as well as your self-esteem.

1. Begin A Journaling Practice

Journaling is the best of both worlds: it allows you to build self-confidence and self-esteem.

By writing down and reflecting on the events of the day, journaling builds self-confidence. Write about how you stepped out of your comfort zone. Write about how you survived. When you take the time to reflect on your own experiences, you’ll be able to build on them and see your self-confidence grow. Plus, you’ll be able to apply what you learned to future situations, so you’ll be going in with more knowledge and ultimately, more self-confidence.

Journaling also builds self-esteem because, by writing down your thoughts and exploring your emotions, you are giving yourself a judgement-free zone. In this safe space, you can grow to love yourself and know your worth. You’ll realize that, no matter the outcome of the event, interview, or exam, you are a valued human being.

By using the DiveThru app, you’ll be able to get the introspection and reflection you need, all while connecting with your thoughts on paper. Our DiveThru Method of journaling has been refined by mental health professionals and is completely free.

Yep, free. Try it out today by downloading the DiveThru app!

2. Practice Self-Compassion

Let’s cut to the chase. Being kind to yourself is hella important. When you practice self-compassion, you create a safe space where you feel comfortable to try new things and make mistakes.

A judgement-free space to grow builds confidence and trust within yourself. Plus, when you inevitably do make mistakes, you’ll realize that you’re deserving of kindness anyways. Despite your achievements, rejections, or status, you are deserving of love and kindness. Just the way you are.

Lead by example and show yourself love every single day. 

8 Steps For Finding The Right Career Path

You were hoping for a nice, uneventful family dinner and now you’ve been asked the official worst question of all time. “So, have you picked a major yet?” No, Aunt Janice, I most definitely have not. I’m still searching and learning and discovering and finding the right career path for me.

You’ve been preparing for this question, and darn it to heck you even practiced your answer. But now you’re nervous, you’re feeling intensely awkward and your heart is going to town, which only makes you more nervous. Your brain is screaming inside your head, Someone HELP me, I have NO IDEA what I’m doing with my life…

Instead, you mumble, “Oh, I’m not really sure yet, still trying to figure out what I wana do…” 

They give you the pity look. “That’s ok, you still have lots of time to decide”. Very reassuring. Thanks. And on that note, your family dinner is ruined. You’ll never be able to enjoy your mashed potatoes now.

If this has ever happened to you, you’re not alone.

Finding the right career path – what you could be doing for the rest of your life – is a BIG DEAL. It’s intimidating and daunting and it’s very normal to be stressed, anxious, and worried. We all are. Or at least we all were at some point. 

But finding your career path can also be, dare we say it, fun? Think about it: you can literally be anything you want; do anything you want. To help ease your stress about finding the right career, check out this list of 8 helpful hacks. 

Here’s to finding your place at your own pace!

1. Do A Self-Assessment Test

First, admire your beautiful self in the mirror because you deserve that. Then, look within and perform a self-assessment. In order to understand what career is right for you, you have to understand yourself. We recommend making lists; lists will be your best friend. 

What are your skills, interests, and values? What level of education do you have? Are you willing to pursue a higher level of education? Is there a particular kind of environment you need to succeed? Think about everything from scheduling to hours to the work environment itself. All of these things come into play when finding the right career path. The bottom line is, it might be a great career, but it has to be a great career for you.

2. Research Different Career Options

One word: Google.

Could you imagine having to look for jobs in the newspaper?? No thanks. Take advantage of the fact that you have access to literally all of the information in the entire world and start researching potential career options. Browse LinkedIn, take some career tests (with a grain of salt), and read about people’s experiences in the field. You have to be willing to put in the time to sift through all of the information out there. We know it can be overwhelming, but just take it one step at a time. You’ll be surprised how much you can find. 

Then, combine that wealth of information with your newfound personal knowledge. The cross-referencing process will help you narrow down your search to a more reasonable number of careers. Not, you know, every career in the world. Then you can really dive in.  

3. Talk To People In The Careers You’re Interested In

You may be thinking, “How am I supposed to know what it’s like to do this job if I’ve never done this job before?”

 First of all, we get you. On a personal level. 

 Second of all, the answer is to talk to people. We know, we know, not always fun. But quite necessary. 

Talking to people can mean anyone from neighbours to career counselors to professors to CEOs. Ask them what a typical workday looks like. Ask them what they love about their job. Even more important, ask them what they can’t stand about it. Ask them questions you can’t find the answers to online. Ask them lots of questions. As someone starting a new career, every piece of information is valuable to help you find the right career. Everything you learn from odd conversations here and there will contribute to the overall picture you’re painting in your head.  

4. Find Opportunities To Job Shadow

After you’ve talked to people about the careers you’re interested in, take it one step further and ask about job shadowing. Job shadowing is magical. And it’s the perfect way to experience the real-world, day-to-day aspects of a potential career.

Two hours into the day, you may realize that you’re very much not a fan of the job. No problem. You can walk away at the end of the day, no strings attached. The only thing you will have lost is one day binging Gossip Girl. And you can make up for that on the weekend. 

On the other hand, you may spend 30 minutes at the job and realize that this is where you want to be. Suddenly, everything clicks into place and you just know.

The truth is, there are some things you don’t realize until you’ve lived them yourself. Job shadowing allows you to separate the idea of the career from the actual thing. It saves you from entering a career that doesn’t really fit and, in the process, saves you a whole lot of time, money, and stress.  

5. Discover Things That Are Meaningful To You 

You’re about to be spending all day every day at work. Now, this could go one of two ways: 1) you dread going to work every day, or 2) you genuinely like your job and are motivated to go to work. It’s like you’re at the optometrist’s office. 1 or 2? 1 or 2? We know which one we’d pick.

Listen, we’re not saying that every day is going to be the best day ever but finding meaningful work will sure make it easier to get out of bed in the morning.

Don’t just take our word for it. There is loads of research out there that says you are more happy, productive, and successful when you’re doing work you’re passionate about. You’ll find purpose in your career and you’ll feel like what you’re doing actually matters.

Unfortunately, you might not be able to survive on passion alone. For example, you might be passionate about music, but lack the skills to become the next Shawn Mendes. Don’t we all … The trick is to find a career that is meaningful, but that also aligns with your skills, values, and requirements. Maybe you’re not a performer, but you’re great at planning events, coordinating media, and making sure everything runs smoothly. With your passion for music and sweet organizational skills, instead, you could be a tour manager for the next Shawn Mendes. 

When you find a career that incorporates your skills and your passions, you know you’ve hit the jackpot. Don’t settle for a job you hate.  

6. Think It Through

Once you have all of your information, the only thing left to do is decide. Hah. If only it were that easy. 

Like with any other big decision, we recommend writing down your thoughts in your journal. Write down how you feel about your career candidates, look at the pros and cons, and visualize how you might progress on each career path. But most importantly, be honest with yourself. This is for you, and you only. Use your journal to sort through and examine your feelings from a non-judgemental point of view. You’re allowed to feel whatever you’re feeling. 

Check out the DiveThru app for dives such as “making a career path change” and “picking your major”. We have everything you need to organize your thoughts and are here to support you as you make your decision. 

7. Choose A Career YOU Want

The worst thing you can do is go into a career solely because someone else wants you to. That someone could be a parent, a partner, or a friend, but any way you slice it, it’s a recipe for disaster. If you’re miserable at your job, it will translate into every other area of your life as well.

Think you need to make a change? Do it. If you need to go against someone else’s wishes to satisfy your own, do it. You are the top priority, here. Be bold and brave and trust your gut. At the end of the day, you have to be happy with what you’re doing because you’re the one doing it.

8. Be Open To Trying Multiple Things

Wow ok this heading sounds suuuper dramatic, but sometimes it feels like choosing your career is a one-time thing and you’re locked in for life. That’s not true though. At all.

According to a survey conducted by Indeed, over a third of Canadians make a complete career switch at least once in their life. And even better news, 87% of them are happier after they made the switch. So, despite what it might feel like, you are allowed to change your mind. 

We’re not saying choosing your career will be an easy decision. Because it probably won’t be. What we are saying is that, hopefully, with these tips, it will at least be a manageable one. If nothing else, we hope that the next time someone asks you the dreaded question, it might be a little less dreaded.

And now we leave you with one of our favourite accounts, @nathanwpylestrangeplanet. Because how relatable.

 

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The Ultimate Stress Management List For Your Stress & Anxiety

There are big things that can cause stress: moving, starting a new job, taking care of a loved one who is sick. But there are also little things that can cause stress: making a phone call, talking to your supervisor, driving to work. And lots of those little things happen every day. Maybe even multiple times a day. Lucky us. Because we know it’s no fun to be stressed, and because we want to help you out, we created a list. Not just any list though, THE list. The Ultimate Stress Management List.

The list is split into two parts: ‘In The Moment’ and ‘In The Long Run’. ‘In The Moment’ gives you quick strategies to deal with stress as it happens, whether it’s at home, at work, or on the go. ‘In The Long Run’ gives you long term solutions for managing stress that you can implement every day. Putting these into practice will help combat stress before it even starts and make it less likely that you have to resort to part one of the li­­st. 

Sound good? We think so.

Without further ado, The Ultimate Stress Management List.

Managing Stress In The Moment

Your alarm didn’t go off in time. Fear makes your heart sink when you realize there’s no way you can get ready in 10 minutes. You text your boss and apologize for being late. Scrambling to get out the door in time, you forget your phone at home.

You hit the road and after no more than 5 minutes of driving, traffic is at a standstill. ‘NOT TODAY, WHY TODAY!’ you yell at the bumper in front of you. You know you’re going to miss your 9:30 meeting and after a lifetime of digging in your purse, you realize you forgot your phone. F**k.

Just as you get to the office, the clients are leaving the meeting and your boss gives you a sympathy smile that tells you two things. One, this was your chance. Two, you blew it.

You get through the rest of the day and finally make it home. Defeated.

Here’s what to do.

1. Cry

Stress management 101. It’s ok to cry. It’s good to cry.

Crying is known to be a good release for pent-up emotions and stress. Friends, it literally detoxifies the body.

Did you know that oxytocin and endorphins are also released, which are feel-good chemicals that lift your spirits?

And not only that, but if you dig further into research on the parasympathetic system (PNS) you’ll learn that crying activates it and becomes a great mechanism to self-soothe.

One more fact about crying: it doesn’t have to be a sad cry either! Crying is actually about restoring emotional balance, which is why we also cry our hearts out when we’re extremely happy.

Keeping everything bottled in isn’t healthy, and at some point, you’ve just got to let it out. You’ll feel like a million bucks after. Well, we don’t know what a million bucks feels like, but we guarantee you’ll feel better than before.

2. Hug Someone

One hug can go a long way. Lean on family members or friends (pun intended) when you’re feeling overwhelmed; that’s what they’re there for. If you don’t have anyone to hug in the moment, a pillow or a sweater will work just fine too. 

Alternatively, you can also go to a cat cafe and let the furry angels hug you or volunteer with an animal shelter and get your daily hugs from the pupperinos.

3. Take A Deep Breath

You’ve probably heard this before but there’s a reason for that – it works. Simply pausing to take a few deep breaths can help you refocus and feel less stressed.

60 seconds of breathing can calm the mind.

60 seconds of breathing can lower an accelerating pulse.

60 seconds of breathing can slow a panic attack.

Count out the seconds in your head as they’re passing by or put on a timer and try to clear your head.

What we don’t recommend is doing this exercise while staring at your screen background of Chris Hemsworth. That will not slow down your breathing. We repeat, that will not help you focus your breathing.

4. Listen To Music

If you’re feeling overwhelmed, stop what you’re doing, pull out your headphones, and listen to a song or two. Music has so many benefits for mental health including releasing tension, reducing stress, and increasing positivity. Try some classical or instrumental music if you want to relax or some upbeat music if you need motivation. Or choose a song that takes you back to a happy time in your life. Music is powerful – use it to your advantage.

5. Go For A Walk

If you’re hard at work, you may not realize how long you’ve been sitting. Try to get moving every once in a while, even if it’s just a walk to the bathroom or around the office. Getting away from your workspace will help clear your mind and you’ll be more productive when you return. Get those steps in people!! 

6. Take A Break

No matter what you and your coffee might think, you do need a break sometimes. When you’re feeling overwhelmed and are starting to get frustrated, it’s a good sign that you may need a break. Try to put your task down for a bit and do something completely different. When you’re ready to come back, you’ll be so much more productive. Trust us. 

7. Visualize

Visualization is a helpful stress-busting technique to use when it feels like everything around you is contributing to your stress. Allow yourself to relax by visualizing a peaceful place or situation and letting yourself stay there for a few minutes. Visualization is a great tool because you can do it anywhere ­– at home, at the office, on the train – just maybe not while you’re driving. 

8. Talk It Out

Simply having someone to talk to about what you’re going through can do wonders. Whether it’s a trusted friend, family member, yourself, or your journal, verbalizing what you’re feeling is the first step to addressing it. Plus, your friend will probably know just what to say to make you feel better.

Managing Stress In The Long Run

The biggest decision of your late twenties lies ahead. Do you take the new job that requires you to move across the country?

And how do you make that decision? Your family is here and they obviously want you to stay. You kind of want to stay too because you love them and you love your friends. But you know your current role doesn’t have much room left for growth and you’re ready for a new challenge.

After weeks of pros and cons and talking and debating, you make the decision. You’re going! Sweet relief, you finally made the call.

And after a short period of excitement, the stress settles back in. You have so much to do. So many things need to get planned and a billion other decisions need to get made.

More questions pop up than you have answers for. Like your relationship with your partner, which is clearly going to be affected by the move. What’s that future going to look like?

To help you handle the anxiety and stress you’re facing, we’ve compiled our best (tried-and-tested) stress management techniques:

1. Journal

There’s no way we could get through a post about stress without mentioning journaling. Journaling is an incredibly powerful tool and can help reduce stress by giving you an outlet to explore your thoughts and emotions on a regular basis. Even better, it’s completely free! 12/10 would recommend. Download the DiveThru app to get started today. 

2. Stay Organized

Staying organized means spending less time searching through piles and piles of missing documents, items, and emails. That means more time to focus on tasks that really matter. That means more productivity at work. That means, you guessed it, less stress. 

3. Do Something That Makes You Happy

Pick up a new hobby or return to an old pastime. Having something to look forward to can help ease stress and be used as a break during busy times. Plus, maintaining your hobby over a long period of time can help keep balance in your life. 

4. Maintain A Healthy Lifestyle

Exercising, eating right, and getting enough sleep are all key factors in managing stress and avoiding burnout. When you feel better physically, you will feel better in all other aspects of your life, too.

But do you actually know anyone who has a perfectly healthy lifestyle? Who sleeps the right amount every single night, exercises just the right amount and eats a perfectly balanced diet? 

Nope, we don’t either.

We know this is really hard to achieve in reality. So be flexible in how you achieve your healthy lifestyle! If you didn’t have time to work out today, go for a 10 minute walk and breathe in some fresh oxygen. Had a bad sleep last night because you were up working late? Well tonight you’re going to commit to unwinding before bed with yoga or journaling.

Perfection is overrated and we’re not here for that. 

5. Practice Gratitude

A daily gratitude practice such as a gratitude journal can provide positivity during dark times. Focusing on what you’re grateful for helps train your mind to see the positive first, which leads to increased happiness in the moment and in the long run. Plus, when you’re feeling stressed, you’ll be able to read through old entries in your gratitude journal to cheer you up.

6. Practice Self-Compassion

Negative self-talk makes stress even more difficult to manage. On top of the stressful situation, you have to deal with yourself making comments like, “Why can’t you handle this?”. Not helping, self! Instead, try something like, “I know you’ve got a lot on your plate, but you’re doing your best”. Practicing self-compassion means treating yourself like a good friend. This positive self-talk will help you feel more supported in all aspects of your life, including during stressful times. 

7. Prepare

You can’t always avoid stressful situations. For example, you likely can’t go through your entire life without making a phone call. 

Darn. 

But if you can figure out the cause of your stress, you may be able to prepare for it and make it more manageable. Here are some examples of common daily stressors and ways you may be able to prepare for them ahead of time:

Phone calls: have notes prepared for what you want to say

Commute: leave early so you won’t be rushed and have some tunes to accompany you on your journey

Tests: get there early and bring water, snacks, and something that calms your nerves (e.g. stress ball)

Job interview: do your research and wear a lucky bracelet/socks

Going somewhere new: talk to others who are familiar with the location and plan your route ahead of time

Overwhelming amounts of work: make a checklist or use a planner to keep track of and prioritize certain tasks

Walking alone: let someone know where you’ll be, plan a route that stays in popular areas, and use resources or buddy systems like Safewalk to accompany you to your destination

By taking small steps to prepare ahead of time, you can make a stressful situation a lot more manageable.

Well, there you have it. The Ultimate Stress Management List.

With these suggestions in hand, you’ll be promoted to your new role as Manager of Stress in no time.

The Mental Health Benefits Of Music: Lyrics & Emotions

What if we told you we found something that could transport you back in time? No, we’re not talking about a backyard cardboard time machine – although that would be cool. What if we told you that the superpower we’re talking about is music? Yep. Music. And what if we told you while you’re being transported back in time, you’re also experiencing the mental health benefits of music?

Think about it.

Have you ever been jamming out to your favourite playlist when all of a sudden that one song comes on? Immediately, you’re back with your friends on summer vacation, windows rolled down, singing at the top of your lungs, cheeks sore from smiling so big.

Maybe you’re taken back to your wedding day. Your partner is by your side as the sparklers twinkle and you dance your first dance. You’re surrounded by family and friends. You feel warm and safe and full of love.

That’s the (super)power of music. 

On top of providing entertainment, enjoyment, and comfort, music also has important impacts on mental health and wellbeing. Talk about a superpower.  

According to John Hopkins Medicine, “research has shown that listening to music can reduce anxiety, blood pressure, and pain as well as improve sleep quality, mood, mental alertness, and memory.”

Ok…we’re listening. Any other benefits of music to know about? YOU BET.

Music Reduces Stress

Listening to music is like a workout for your entire brain and autonomic nervous system. The autonomic nervous system plays a key role in the human stress response, which explains why music can help reduce stress.  

What are some everyday examples of how listening to music can help reduce stress, you ask?

During your morning routine — it’s sure to be a great day if it starts with some upbeat, motivational music.

During your commute — combat bad drivers with good music.

While cooking or cleaning — these will feel less like chores when you have the backdrop of some nice music. If your broom becomes a guitar or your spatula becomes a microphone we won’t judge.

While eating — playing instrumental or classical music while eating can make you more relaxed, which makes it easier to digest food.

Before bed — music can help you relax and slow down your breathing, making it easier to fall asleep.

Music can be a backdrop for almost any activity, but it’s important to find the right genre or playlist for the situation you find yourself in. Loud, intense music isn’t good right before bed and classical music likely won’t get you motivated to run 10km.

Can anything get you motivated to run 10km? If so, please send suggestions.

The point is, be willing to change it up and experiment until you find what works for you!

Music Therapy Helps You Process Emotions

Another way music can improve mental health and wellbeing is through music therapy. For example, it has been used to reduce symptoms of depression and anxiety in those suffering from neurological conditions. Music therapy can involve a variety of different elements including lyric analysis, improvisation music playing, active music listening, and songwriting. Because people can connect with music so well, music therapy allows them to process emotions and communicate in new and helpful ways. 

At DiveThru, we understand the power of words. Lyrics are no different. Have you ever stopped in your tracks because it felt like the lyrics you just heard were taken straight from your soul?? Have you felt better understood by the words in a song than by actual human beings? Ok ok, we know that the words in the song were written by actual human beings but you get the point. 

Lyrics allow us to connect because they often describe what we’re feeling better than we ourselves can. In the same way that writing out your feelings in a journal helps to process them, listening to music can help make sense of your emotions, too. A lot of times you might not even realize what you’re feeling until you hear it sung back to you. Then, suddenly, it all makes sense.

Music Empowers Your Journaling Practice

The next time you hear lyrics that really hit home, take a minute to write them down in your journal or in the notes on your phone. Reflect on how they make you feel and why they spoke to you. This reflection will likely lead to some insight on what you’re feeling in the moment. Download the DiveThru app so you’re ready to go the next time you need a quick journaling session. 

Lyrics can also impact action, so choose your music wisely. Listening to songs with positive messages can inspire you to take positive action, just as listening to songs with negative lyrics can have the opposite effect on your wellbeing. For example, according to Positive Psychology Student Patricia Fox Ransom, a song like “Brave” by Sara Bareilles encourages people to have hope and chase their dreams:

Because of this effect on wellbeing, something as simple as your background music may have a significant impact on your daily life.  Why not take full advantage of the benefits of music?

Think about the songs that you listen to and ask yourself this. Are they promoting healthy behaviours and mindsets? Or are they contributing to negative thoughts and reduced wellbeing? Feel free to use these questions as journaling prompts to dive deeper into what music means to you. You may discover that it’s impacting your life in more ways than you could’ve imagined. 

Music is a secret superpower for the promotion of mental wellbeing. Grab your phone, pull up your fave Spotify playlist and get into your feels!

6 Journaling Prompts To Help You Improve Communication

If you’re thinking to yourself there’s gotta be something I can do to improve communication, the answer is yes.

Picture this.

You’re having a fight with your partner. They go silent and shut down – like always. Why won’t they just talk to you and work it out?? 

You’re having a fight with your partner. They keep rambling on and on – like always. Why won’t they just give you some space to think?? 

Maybe because they don’t realize that’s what you need.

It happens all the time, whether it’s in a personal relationship, a work relationship, or any other kind of relationship. Everyone communicates differently.

The key to minimizing frustration and conflict is to understand how you, and those around you, communicate. Communication is a critical (and we mean critical) part of any healthy relationship. This includes open communication during fights, difficult tasks, and heart-to-heart conversations. But it also includes communication about communication. If you don’t talk about how you communicate to one another and what you need to feel seen, heard, and appreciated, it will only cause more problems. 

That’s where journaling comes in. Journaling is a wonderful tool because it allows you to explore and clarify your thoughts. Sometimes you may not even know you’re feeling a certain way until you write it out and realize, ah, that’s what it is. Once you have a better understanding of your feelings, you’ll be able to better articulate what you want and need in any communication situation. 

But where the eff to actually begin…

With our Quick Dives! Download our DiveThru app (it’s free!) and get started with one of these two short dives, mad at your partner and sharing your feels

If you’ve already mastered those (slash when you will, because we know you will), take a look at the journaling prompts below.

To help you dive into what communication means to you, we’ve created a list of 6 journaling prompts to explore.

Grab your pen + paper and let’s divethru…

1. List three people who you think have excellent communication skills. What about them do you admire?

Your list can include people in your own life or those you look up to. It can even include fictional characters if you’d like. The point is, they should be good at communicating. 

What about them makes them a good communicator? Is it their open body language, their willingness to be honest, or their non-judgemental listening ear? How can you incorporate some of these characteristics into your own daily communication? 

2. How do you communicate?

This may seem like a simple prompt but take a minute to really think about how you communicate. How do you react to difficult conversations or negative feedback? What type of body language do you use while talking to a co-worker or a friend? How often do you speak up at board meetings or family gatherings? Details that may seem tiny all come together to create your personal communication habits. On the flip side, what do you need from others in order to feel heard? It’s not selfish to create boundaries and let others know what you need to succeed. 

3. On a scale of 1-10, how would you rate your communication skills? What are your strengths? What are some areas that might need a little improvement?

Knowing how you communicate is kiiiinda important (see point #2). After a little reflection, try to identify the areas of communication that you’re comfortable with and those that make you want to shrink back and hide. 

Let’s say you struggle with having difficult conversations face-to-face. Same. You may not be able to avoid these conversations all together (and if you are that could be a different problem, see point #4), but you can come up with strategies to make them easier. 

For example, you could think about what you want to say beforehand and bring in a list of points to help you feel more prepared. Something as simple as getting your thoughts on paper can make a world of difference in how you approach and handle difficult conversations. This will not only help you, but the person you’re speaking with as well. 

So, what are you great at and what can you work on? How will you work on it? 

4. How can your communication practices be inadvertently hurting others?

Do you hold back because you’re scared to hurt people’s feelings? In doing so, you may be inadvertently harming them. Do you tell it like it is, no sugar-coating? This straightforward approach may be equally as hurtful. 

The important thing to know is how other people like to receive messages. These personal preferences should determine how you communicate with them. Communication is a two-way street. You have to take into account your communication style as well as your partner, co-worker, friend, or parent’s communication style. 

5. How does your self-confidence impact your communication?

Does your confidence come across as cockiness? 

Does your lack of confidence come across as disengagement? 

Have you found a happy medium? 

Does your confidence level, and therefore your communication, change depending on the situation you find yourself in? 

All of these factors will influence your relationships and are important in assessing your communication skills.

6. How can you improve your active listening skills?

Communication is not just about talking. In fact, listening is one of the most important elements of communication. Active listening means “listening attentively while someone else speaks, paraphrasing and reflecting back what is said, and withholding judgment and advice”. 

Try not to think of what you’re going to have for lunch, what your puppy is doing at home, or what you’re going to say next. Instead, focus your attention on the person speaking to make them feel heard and respected. 

What are you doing well in terms of active listening? 

How can you create a better environment for listening? 

Go ahead and give an honest, non-judgemental assessment of your active listening skills. Your journal is probably the best active listener out there. 

So, the next time you’re having a fight with your partner and they stay quiet, you’ll realize that they just need time to process, it’s not that they don’t care. And when they keep talking, they’re not trying to push you, that’s just their way of working it out – they think out loud. 

By paying attention to the needs of yourself and others, you’ll create more effective communication and more meaningful relationships with those around you. 

Well, looks like you’re ready to conquer the world now. 

Mission accomplished, over and out.

How To Recognize Symptoms of Depression: COVID Edition

We kicked off 2020 with a ruthless virus and by March, the whole world was in quarantine. As we’re writing to you now, it’s the middle of July and the COVID-19 pandemic is still in full swing. Everyone is coping the best way they know how…and if you’ve been noticing your mental health take a toll, know that you’re not alone. So in order for us to watch out for ourselves and others, we’ve put together a list of symptoms of depression, especially as they may show up in a socially distanced world.

Regardless of where you are in the world when you read this, the reality is that our reality has changed. We will continue to live in a “socially distanced” world for the next year (maybe longer?) and that will have an impact on our mental health. 

What do we mean by a socially distanced world? A world where there are at least 6 feet between you and another human being. One where face masks are worn to protect each other and where hugs between family members or romantic partners are the only ones allowed. 

A world where our need and want for connection and physical embrace must be balanced with a serious risk to our health.

Our in-house mental health professional, Natalie Asayag MSW LCSW, reminds us that “human connection is necessary to our survival.” 

(quick side note: does anyone remember what it was like to high five?? we heckin’ miss those)

So what happens to our mental health when that human connection is no longer there? 

The most obvious truth? We get lonely.

The less obvious truth? We may experience symptoms of depression, anxiety, and a number of other mental health issues. 

We reached out to Natalie (who has adjusted her practice to work virtually with clients) and asked a few questions on the matter. Below you’ll find her answers and her professional recommendations!

1. What are symptoms of depression that can particularly crop up when social distancing? 

Symptoms of depression during social distancing can show up in a few different ways. Pay attention to things like lack of motivation, fatigue, trouble sleeping, as well as a drop in seeking support or connection (further self-isolating). 

Another important symptom to look for is a loss of interest in previously pleasurable activities, and any accompanying irritability, negative thoughts, or a loud inner critic. Equally important to keep an eye out for is an uptick in restriction or binge behaviours because these may also crop up during social distancing.

Because depression is a complicated illness, there are other signs of depression to consider. If at any point you feel these warning symptoms worsen or develop more, it may be time to reach out to a mental health professional. 

2. How can you recognize these symptoms in yourself and others?

Ask yourself if you’ve been noticing your friend reaching out less or responding less. Have they been ignoring your (hilarious) memes? Are they starting to let your texts sit without a response for a long time? Skipping planned phone calls? On the other side, notice if you have done the same. 

Recognize if you or your friend have been engaging in escapism (like video games, or TV). Every once in a while we all find that one TV show that we just HAVE to watch in one sitting because it’s soooooo good. But escapism may be a symptom of depression if you notice you’ve been doing it more than usual. Netflix shouldn’t be taking up a large portion of your day every day.

A few more things to recognize as potential symptoms are a lack of motivation to do [school] work, not engaging in usual activities (think cleaning, making meals, showering, etc.), and finding less pleasure in previously pleasurable activities. If you feel like it takes more energy to start or follow through with a task, that may also be a warning sign. Because irritability can be a symptom of depression, lashing out or being “short” with friends and loved ones may also be a sign. 

3. How can loneliness from the pandemic cause depression or depressive episodes?

Human connection is necessary to our survival. Without social connections, we begin to feel empty and lose sight of life’s purpose, as loneliness informs our inner world of feelings and thoughts. 

This can quite quickly lead to feelings of depression, considering various factors, such as frequency of connection, quality of friendships, ability to connect beyond surface conversation and the length of time without quality interactions.

4. What are some ways to combat feelings of loneliness, especially if you are far from friends and family?

Ideally, connect via video so you can see the person’s facial expressions and read their non-verbals. If this isn’t your preference, certainly audio calls are the next best thing. Set a time each day or week to connect with specific people in your life. 

Another option is to join one of the many free, live collective experiences offered online: meditations, yoga, workouts, lectures, FB support groups, online book clubs. Send handwritten letters or cards to friends — let’s bring back the pen pal experience. Connect with others who are willing to sit with your emotions it’s powerful to be able to share your feelings and feel “heard” and validated.  

5. What are some other ways people with depression can cope while they’re self-isolating?

It’s a good idea to schedule daily or weekly calls with friends and family and conduct reciprocal daily check-ins with each other. You can also virtually watch a movie with a friend or start an online game together! Or get outside and go on a social distancing walk with your friends (don’t forget your mask). Be brave in your vulnerability and ask for support when you need it.

Journaling is a great way to allow yourself to feel your feelings, and even get a little creative. Create a comfortable and warm space and explore the thoughts and feelings whirling around inside you. The physical and mental health benefits of journaling are countless.

As you try to replicate some normalcy, build a loose schedule for yourself and lower your expectations of yourself. 

Some other creative activities you can engage in are cooking, baking, sketching, painting, photography, poetry, writing, and reading. Build a playlist for different moods, listen to podcasts, meet with a therapist. Many senior care homes are looking for pen pals right now so grab a pen and write a letter to them! Come up with a detailed escape plan of how you’re going to break them out of the senior home and take them on a rad adventure. Embrace your creativity and you’ll make their day, and your day.

So there you have it! A few ways to recognize symptoms of depression and a few ways to cope with them as they crop up. It’s more important now than ever to take care of each other as we try to fight this ruthless virus. 

Let’s show extra love, be super mindful in our communication, and purposeful in our interactions.

We got this, fam.

How To Stop Being A Perfectionist One Step At A Time

When you think of the word perfect, maybe you think of a sunny afternoon on the beach, your partner’s eyes, or the smell of a new book. What you probably don’t think of is a mountain of stress, hours of procrastination, or feelings of inadequacy. How can something with the root word “perfect” be so not perfect? Welcome to perfectionism. In this article, we dive thru how to stop being a perfectionist and letting it run your life.

Perfectionism “involves a tendency to set standards that are so high they either cannot be met or are only met with great difficulty.” Basically, perfectionism is trying to make things so perfect that they become unattainable. Whether it’s spending hours on a simple task or rewriting an email for the tenth time, these high standards usually leave no room for error. 

This leads to another noteworthy aspect of perfectionism: the fear of failure. Perfectionism creates the belief that making a mistake, no matter how small, will lead to criticism and rejection. The belief that, if you are not perfect you will not be liked. 

As if this wasn’t enough, there is an added desire to be perfect that comes from social media. We all know what it’s like to see an immaculate Instagram feed where every image is filtered in Clarendon and everyone looks like they’ve walked right out of a movie – with the body to match. 

What we never see are the makeup products, the 47 other photos, and the hours of editing that go into capturing even the most “spontaneous” and “authentic” moments. It’s easy to look at social media and believe that everyone else has the perfect body, the perfect job, the perfect life. 

It’s easy to believe that you should too.

Managing Your Perfectionism

Social media and today’s society are creating a world where, despite success, people feel inadequate. The growing issue of perfectionism is negatively affecting the mental health and wellbeing of people around the world. 

Perfectionism is sometimes thought of as a positive characteristic. People pride themselves on being perfectionists. But for those who struggle with perfectionism, it is the complete opposite. We know how hard it can be. And we’ve got your back. Here are 4 ways to manage your perfectionism and make peace with where you’re at. 

1. Set realistic goals. 

Realistic goals are a great way to address perfectionism because they work with you, at your pace. You can start wherever you are right now and keep working on them for as long as you need to. Overcoming perfectionism won’t be easy or instantaneous.

Setting SMART goals allows you to split a seemingly impossible task into smaller, more manageable pieces. Goals will give you guidelines to stick to so that perfectionism doesn’t try to creep in. Having a trusted friend or family member check them over to make sure they are realistic and achievable is also a great idea!

2. Celebrate the little things.

Just because your achievements aren’t revolutionary and earth-shattering doesn’t mean they shouldn’t be celebrated. Maybe you posted a picture without editing it, or maybe you only proofread your email twice before sending it instead of the usual ten times. 

Whatever your little victory is today, celebrate it!! 

Rewarding yourself for the little things can help with perfectionism, too. By acknowledging that every little thing is important, you won’t feel like everything is riding on one big thing that has to be absolutely perfect. Celebrate the little wins – they’re all a part of the big picture. 

3. Share your imperfections.

This will probably be the most terrifying thing ever. But as Brene Brown has taught us, vulnerability is the key to human connection. Every one of us experiences vulnerability but it takes courage and strength to let it show. In an attempt to remain perfect, we often don’t show our whole selves. 

 

 

Don’t forget that every part of you, every stage of your life, is important and worth celebrating. Being grateful for where you are right now will help you acknowledge and accept imperfections as normal and human (we’re getting to that). 

So, tell people about a time you failed. Post a picture without makeup on. Normalize imperfections. These are the ways to build connections and truly understand one another. You never know who you might be helping by sharing your vulnerability.

4. Remember: NO ONE is perfect. 

Think about someone in your life who is perfect. Someone who has never sent an email with a spelling mistake, never forgotten their lines during a presentation, and never had a pimple on their face. Someone who has never made a mistake. You’re going to be thinking for a while. 

Because despite what it may feel like, and what you may hear, and what you may see on social media, NO ONE IS PERFECT. Not even Beyoncé. Seriously. What we are is human

We are clumsy, forgetful, imperfect, mistake-making humans. And we are still loved, and we are still beautiful.

 When perfectionism is getting the best of you, make a conscious effort to shift your thoughts from “I need to be perfect” to “I will do the best I can”. Remember that your appearance, work, or grade does not define you. You are so much more than that. And if you ever forget, come on back here and we’ll remind you.

Positive Thinking: Get Yourself There With Gratitude Journaling

You’re late for work, again. Ugh. You run to the bus stop, your bag heavy on your shoulder. As you step in, you see that the bus is crowded. You have to squish in beside someone which is just lovely because the traffic is backed up, so you’ll probably be there for a while. Is the world out to get you?? Finally, you rush into your building, up the elevator, and make it to your desk with only 1 minute to spare. This is gonna be a long day. You can already feel it. Looking over your shoulder, you see Melinda writing in a notebook. Looks like a list? All you can make out is the word grateful. And then you see her smiling. Seriously? Is she gratitude journaling?? How does she have time for that right now?

She is! And she made the time! The smile you see on her face is only one of the tremendous effects gratitude journaling has on your positive thinking. 

Let’s try that again. 

You wake up just in time to get ready for work. Phew. As you run to the bus stop, you look up to see the sky lit in brilliant colours. The bus is crowded when you get on, but you still manage to find a seat. At least you don’t have to stand – the traffic looks busy. You rush into your building through the door someone is holding open for you. “Thank you” you smile at them. The elevator pops open at the perfect time and you make it to your desk with one whole minute to spare. Time to start working on your new project. It’s gonna be a good day.

Quite the difference, huh?

The Power of Positive Thinking

Now, imagine if you took that positive thinking and applied it to your entire life. How different would your days be if you looked for the good first instead of automatically resorting to the bad, tiring, or negative? We’re not saying there won’t be bad days. Of course there will be. And it’s important to embrace those emotions, too. But an attitude of gratitude is sure to make the bad days a little brighter. 

There are so many benefits of gratitude including emotional, social, personality, career, and health benefits. For example, gratitude can improve your self-esteem, relationships, decision-making, and even your sleep. That’s right, we’re offering you a scientifically proven way to improve your sleep. If we were you, we’d take it. 

Our brains are often trained to think of the negative first. Establishing a gratitude practice is essentially re-training our brains to think of positive things first, which, as we may have mentioned, leads to increased happiness and loads of other health benefits. 

What Can You Do To Be More Grateful?

Gratitude is not just handed to you. Like everything else, gratitude is something you need to work at. It’s a practice and commitment you have to stick to. It’s not as complex as it seems though; there are some simple ways to start practicing gratitude every day.

Start by just saying thank you. For everything. Call people up out of the blue and tell them you appreciate their presence in your life or what they’ve done for you. That’s a start.

Next, try to implement a more formal gratitude practice in your life. The most popular way to practice gratitude is simply by keeping a gratitude journal. (Don’t stress, we have a Dive to get you started on that.)

A gratitude journal is a place where you can record what you’re thankful for, what makes you happy, and anything positive that is happening in your life. It can be fancy or not, long or short, it doesn’t matter. As long as it exists. 

Still looking for another reason to get started?

With a gratitude journal, you’ll have a perfectly personalized list of everything that makes you happy. So, the next time you feel sad, angry, or like the sun has gone behind a dark cloud, you can look at your list. There will be tens, hundreds, maybe even thousands of things sitting right there to remind you of everything that is good in the world.

6 Tried-and-Tested Tips For Starting A Gratitude Journal

Let’s do this. *Cue inspirational music and serious faces­—no, smiling faces. Ah, much better.*

Think of us as your entourage. We’ve got your back as you begin your gratitude practice and we’ll be here to support you every step of the way. For our first task, we’ve gathered up 6 tips for starting (and maintaining) your gratitude journal:

1. Schedule time for your gratitude practice.

It doesn’t matter when or where you do it, as long as you do it. Many people like to journal right before they go to bed because it has benefits for sleep and allows you to reflect on the events of the day. But it ultimately depends on what works for you and your schedule. If your free time is your 10-minute bus ride, then that will work just fine. 

2. Make it a habit.

Habits can take weeks to develop. Don’t be discouraged if it takes a little while to get used to your new practice. Be diligent, work at it, and soon it will feel like second nature. Try to get to the point where you feel like you’re missing something if you don’t do it.

3. Tailor your journal to you. 

There is no one way to keep a gratitude journal. It’s a very personal exercise so it’s not surprising that it will look a little different for everyone. Whether it’s an in-depth routine or a quick pause to record something in the notes on your phone, do whatever works for you. You are a constantly changing and evolving person, so don’t be afraid to let your gratitude practice evolve as well. 

 4. Use the resources available to you. 

By reading this, you’ve already discovered a wonderful resource in DiveThru. We are a guided journaling app that helps you take charge of your mental wellbeing. With over 1000 journaling exercises, we help you dive thru what you go thru. 

The good news? The app is free to download! The even better news? After downloading it, you’ll forever be only a tap away from a gratitude hit.

With a quick google search, you can find lots of other apps, guides, templates, prompts, and suggestions for starting your gratitude journal. Set a reminder in your handy dandy phone and you’ll be good to go! 

5. Start with one thing per day. 

If you don’t know where to start, just start by writing one thing per day that you are grateful for. Even writing one thing per day will leave you with 365 things to be thankful for after one year with your journal. 

365!! 

That’s a lot of things to be grateful for. And if you write 3 things you’re grateful for, the number only goes up. Imagine if you did this for 5, 10, or 15 years. We’re not really in the mood for math right now, but that would be thousands of things to be thankful for. 

Not bad.

 6. Focus on the details.

When writing in your gratitude journal, it’s easy to just write the first thing that comes to mind and be done with it. But by doing this you’ve kind of missed the point. The goal of the gratitude journal is to get in touch with deeper and more specific emotions. 

If you’re thankful for the weather, what about it? A light, soft, snowfall? The warmth of the sun on your face? Or a thunderstorm that shook you to your core? These are much more descriptive and will be more impactful when reflecting on feelings of gratitude. Be patient and really think about what makes you grateful. When you’ve found it, you’ll know. 

We know that you’re kind of busy reading this, but we’d like you to pause anyways. Right there, yup. Here we go. Take a deep breath in and exhale slowly. Now, think of one thing that you’re grateful for in this tiny little sweet moment of the day. Go. 

Congratulations! You just started your gratitude practice. Go ahead and write that thought down as point #1 in a long list of things to be grateful for. 

While you were thinking, we were too. What are we grateful for? We’re grateful for you. 

Learning How To Love Yourself More With 8 Journaling Prompts

There are a lot of things that make you you. And learning to embrace all of these things is a hefty task. Sure, it may be easy to embrace the qualities you like about yourself, but it may be more difficult to embrace and accept those qualities that you don’t like. Maybe there are things you push down because you really just don’t want to think about them. And maybe there are things that you are constantly thinking about, things that consume your mind on a daily basis. If only there were a happy medium. Is there a secret formula for how to love yourself more??

No. But there is journaling and journaling will help you sort through your emotions and come up with a plan to start accepting and embracing your whole self – every part of you. Because, after all, without any one of those parts, you wouldn’t be you! And being you is pretty cool.  

As you dive thru the following prompts, let yourself explore your thoughts and try to welcome them with acceptance, not criticism. Your journal should be a judgement-free zone and should be a space where you practice self-compassion. Try to treat yourself as you would treat any friend going through the same situation – with love and understanding.

Ready? Grab your pen + paper.

Happy writing!

1. Define what it means to “love yourself.”

What does the concept mean to you? It will likely mean something different to everyone. Is it positive self-talk? Is it going out in public without a figurative mask on?

Before you can start learning how to love yourself, you have to know what that means for you. It would be like trying to learn tennis without knowing what tennis is. Automatically more difficult.  

2. Name one thing that makes you feel each of these emotions: happy, frustrated, sad, inspired.

Every single person feels every single one of these emotions, has good days and bad days. The better you know yourself, the better you will be able to embrace the wave of emotions that comes with being a human being. Feel free to expand the list by adding other emotions. 

3. What is your favourite thing about yourself?

It could be a physical trait, a personality trait, or anything in between. What is something you love about yourself? Something that makes you proud? Don’t be shy. Go ahead, brag!

4. Name something about yourself that you consider a flaw and turn it into a strength. 

Again, it could be a physical trait, a personality trait, or a habit. Why do you consider it to be a flaw? How can you start to appreciate and embrace that aspect of yourself? Write down tangible steps or goals so that you can measure your progress. 

5. Talk about a time in your life when you felt most like yourself.

What were you doing? Who were you with? What stars aligned to make you feel like the most authentic version of yourself? And finally, how can you make that happen again? Because there’s something very freeing about being yourself. No guards up, no fear of judgement, no second-guessing. Just being. 

6. What would you do if you could do anything?

We all have something that we’ve always wanted to do, deep down inside – if money wasn’t an option and you knew you couldn’t fail, if there was no fear, judgement, or fear of judgement. What would you do if you could do anything in the world? (Psst… you can!) Listen to what your heart and mind are telling you. Listening to yourself is one way you can start embracing everything you are, not just everything you want to be or thought you would be. 

7. What do you value most in life? How can you prioritize it?

We often know what we value but fail to make it a priority in our lives. Write down tangible steps you can take to embrace what is important to you. 

8. What is an excuse you use often? 

Why do you use this excuse? Part of embracing yourself is knowing yourself and knowing why you do what you do. For example, if your excuse is that you don’t have time, do you really not have time? Or do you just not make time? How can you start holding yourself accountable when you want to resort to that excuse? 

We hope that these prompts will help you learn to appreciate the beauty of being you. There are over 7 billion (?!) people in the world but there is only one you.

Think about that for a second. No more of this one in a million business. You’re one in seven billion! And that is something worth celebrating. Cheers!