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3 Steps To Cultivating A More Mindful Life With Movement & Journaling

Matt West M.A., M.S.
Psychologist
By Matt West M.A., M.S.
Psychologist
Matt West is a psychologist, co-founder at Boom Journal, and host of the Brain Boom Podcast. He graduated from Pepperdine University with a Master's in Clinical Psychology.
Image by Giorgio Magini / Stocksy
February 1, 2021

When you think of mindfulness, what do you picture? Someone sitting with their legs crossed on a yoga mat, or listening to a guided meditation? Yes, mindfulness can look like that—but at its core, the practice is about focusing your attention. And one of the most powerful ways to do that is by pairing movement and journaling. 

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Why movement and journaling are fast-tracks to mindfulness.

Mindfulness involves focusing the mind on a single point with a nonjudgmental and compassionate state of awareness. To be in a state of mindfulness is to be entirely immersed in what you are doing. And movement and writing are two practices that are easy to get immersed in.

Mindful movement is not just your average workout routine; it incorporates greater awareness of your body while also cultivating a compassionate and open state of mind. Journaling on its own is also generally a mindful activity because it involves self-reflection, introspection, and compassion. But mindful journaling takes this even deeper by focusing more on mind-body awareness, self-love, and an exploration of the inner self. 

When you combine journaling and movement and apply the principles of mindfulness, it can add up to a really powerful practice.

How to start mindfully moving & journaling:

Step 1: Move mindfully.

Do a quick 10-minute HIIT workout, or short workout of choice, and pay close attention to your body and your surroundings. How does the ground feel against your feet as you move? What does the lighting look like around you? What can you hear, taste, smell, touch, see?

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Step 2: Reflect.

Mindful journaling starts with simply being in your body and allowing yourself to feel. When you arrive in front of your journal, use all five senses to describe your thoughts. Describe the emotions that are present and where you're feeling them in your body. Write down what you notice.

Step 3: Get into the habit.

When it comes to mindfulness techniques, regular practice is crucial! When life gets hectic and you feel like you can't fit these practices in, that's when you need them the most.

So try to set aside a regular time for your new movement and journaling combo. Maybe you fit it in after brushing your teeth in the morning or after you wrap up work for the day. You could also start a fitness journal, where you keep a record of your mindful movement practice and jot down some thoughts about what you've been noticing with it.

With time, you might notice that more mindfulness starts to seep into your everyday life, contributing to a more mindful state overall.

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The bottom line.

Mindfulness—paying attention to the details of the world around us—is key to creating an empowered and centered life. With this movement-writing practice, it will begin to come more naturally as you train the brain to slow down, notice, and allow the present moment to unfold, both on your mat and in your journal.

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Matt West M.A., M.S.
Matt West M.A., M.S.
Psychologist

Matt West is a psychologist, co-founder at Boom Journal, and host of the Brain Boom Podcast. He grew up in Los Angeles, California, and graduated from Pepperdine University with a Master's in Clinical Psychology.

Matt West discovered his passion for mindfulness during his 11th grade, when his soccer aspiration was cut short and he was introduced to psychology by his teacher. Following years dedicated to understanding the human mind by studying neuroscience and mindfulness, he obtained a dual masters in psychology, and has been a practicing psychologist for over a decade, in addition to being a co-founder of the meditation app Boom Journal.