I have been daily journaling for years now. I’ve always kept a diary (at least since I first read Diary of a Wimpy Kid when I saw eight!), but when I was fifteen I decided to make it a part of my evening routine. Every night, before going to bed, I will think back on the day which has passed and mull over any thoughts or ideas which have been on my mind. It’s a really great way to rationalise the irrational, appreciate what should be appreciated, and be more mindful of the present moment. We don’t often give ourselves a space where we can interact with ourselves on a really personal level -- but journaling can provide this space. When we journal, we give ourselves the time and medium to really think about things.
I journal about anything and everything. But, when reading through old journals one summer's day, I realised that kindness was a recurring theme in my entries. When someone did something kind for me, it was always the thing I most wanted to talk about. After all, as I think we can all agree, kindness touches us profoundly. From my journals, I could see how much I wanted to reflect on and think about the kind things which had been done for me, and so I drafted up a structured journal template which would help me do just this. I then shared this with close friends and family and encouraged them to use it too. With some really positive feedback and results all round, I set out to make The Kindness Journal: a journal which would provide a space for people to really reflect upon kindness.
The book pairs one page of structured journaling with one page of free journaling. It first encourages you to think about what happened that day, providing journal prompts and questions to help in your reflection process. Then, on the blank pages, you can think more deeply about these things. I think it’s a really valuable mix, especially for kindness journaling.
I also decided to intersperse the book with my favourite handwritten quotes about kindness. I love the daily inspirational quotes on Momentum (the chrome extension) -- they always fill me with motivation for the day ahead -- and I wanted for the journal to offer this same experience. Each of the quotes are carefully hand-picked and encourage you to think about the nature of kindness and its importance. These actually turned out to be some of my favourite things in the journal!
And so, for a year now, alongside free journaling, I have been using my Kindness Journal every night before bed. I am always struggling with the question of how I can be kinder, and the Kindness Journal has actually really helped me be more mindful of my actions. Every evening, when I go to write down the kind things which I did and didn’t do, I am encouraged to think about why this was the case -- and I’ve now started asking myself these questions in the middle of the day too. For example, when I see someone struggling with their suitcase on the tube, I ask myself “why aren’t you helping them?” and, more often than not, end up doing the kind thing. I have also noticed a difference in my appreciation of other people’s acts of kindness. The Kindness Journal prompts you to reflect on kind things which other people do and, over the last few months, I have become much more attentive to the actions of strangers around me. And you know, when you notice these small random acts of kindness, it’s difficult not to feel happy, grateful and inspired.