Wednesday, 25 January 2017

The Happiness Planner | 5 Reasons Why I Love It

I needed some help with positivity. 

I don't perceive myself as a negative person. Generally, I am quite positive. I don't get angry very often, I respect the people around me and I like to carry out small, simple acts of kindness to brighten up somebody's day. I do have bad days and I do have negative traits, however as a person I like to think I am positive.

Nonetheless, I have Generalised Anxiety Disorder, depression and struggle with trauma. I do have physical health problems too. Although I do not let these mental health 'labels' define me, I cannot deny that they are very prominent in my daily life. Sometimes I manage my illness' a lot better than others. Some days are just unbearable, to the point where I have had and continue to have thoughts about not being here anymore. This sparks negative symptoms, thoughts and experiences and I admit, sometimes this negativity gets out of control. I am often described as a 'strong' and 'resilient' individual in that I am still at University, in the third year of my undergraduate degree performing at a really high level. I still get out of bed even when I feel like my body is a heavy weight that I can't lift. I still push on through my work, even when my concentration makes reading a single page take more than an hour. There are countless examples I can give where I'm struggling, but still somewhat managing. 

I decided I wanted to make some further positive changes to help look after myself better. I did this by purchasing The Happiness Planner. I'd heard some incredibly inspiring reviews about the planner, some of which came from people who experience similar struggles as myself. I remember grinning like an idiot at my laptop screen for a good 30 minutes whilst scrolling through reviews and blog posts, so happy to see that people had made such amazing progress and that the planner had supported them through their struggles. 

So, I bought one. I must admit, the price is quite steep at £40 (I do think the dated one I have is now currently £38 though, seeing as we have nearly finished the first month). However, I didn't mind paying that amount towards something that was going to help me with my mental health and organisation. Hell, I often pay nearly that same amount for an eye shadow palette anyway, at least this will be helping me every single day of the year! When it arrived, I didn't regret my purchase at all. You are paying for a very beautiful, high quality planner that looks and feels incredibly luxurious. Additionally, it arrives in its own box with some other cute stationary bits and pieces i.e. paper clips, a gorgeous metallic pen and two metallic fold back clips. I also received some printables, such as 'how to change a habit in 30 days' and 'new years resolutions' - I believe you can also print these yourself from the website. There isn't anything I particularly dislike about the planner, however I know that a lot of people and myself included would like the planner to be less bulky, as it makes it difficult to fit in your bag and carry along with you throughout the day. I have also read that some people would prefer it to be A4, just because it can be difficult to write everything on the smaller pages, especially for those that have bigger handwriting. Just bare this in mind if you like more space to write. 

More importantly, the point of this post. After using the planner now for just about a month, I've decided to share with you 5 reasons why I love the planner and why I think you should incorporate this planner into your life. 

1. Self- reflection. Reflective skills, especially when it comes to reflecting on aspects of ourselves, are very difficult for individuals in general I think. Normally, we are often very harsh on ourselves, constantly comparing ourselves to others and putting ourselves down. I think we often forget about the strengths we possess. This planner is very good for training self-reflection. At the beginning, there are 16 reflective questions e.g. "What are your strengths?" "What are your weaknesses?" "How do you see yourself in 5-10 years?". I personally found some of these questions very difficult to answer at first, just because I feel like we are never taught enough (if at all) about self-reflection at school. I think these questions at the beginning of the planner add greater quality to the planner's content, allowing you to dig deep and subsequently identify where you currently are personally/professionally and where you'd like to be in the future. 
You also have to rate your mood at the start of the planner and then your mood at the end of each month. I think this is very helpful for identifying whether your mood improves by the end of the year whilst using the planner, or spotting months/times of year where your mood worsens, so that you can anticipate bad patches and prepare better for them next year. Other features include describing your month in 3 words and what you are looking forward to in each month. I think these are really lovely things to look back on, especially when you are feeling unmotivated. It's a reminder that you are making progress, no matter how small or big that progress may be.  

2. Positive quotes. For each day you plan, there is a beautifully presented, positive, inspirational quote at the top of the page. I am a sucker for positive quotes as it is, so having these quotes in my planner just made it feel even more suitable to me. I often find just one of these quotes a day can centre me and allow me to feel slightly more positive without having made much effort at all. 

3. Focusing solely on the 'Good'. For each day, the planner will ask you to list some good things about that day and only good things. I think this is very useful, especially if you are like me and often dwell on what went wrong and treat the whole day as bad as opposed to what the day was like in general, including the good parts. Something good does happen every single day, even on some of the worst days of our life, they are just often very small or difficult to search for, but they do exist. They can be the simplest things i.e. a friend complimenting your makeup/outfit or having your favourite meal or cozying up for an hour in bed watching Netflix. I must admit, sometimes I like to write about the crappy things that have happened in a day, but I now leave that for my journal. The planner purposefully gets you to think about the good experiences or things that have happened and I think this helps with those of us that sometimes get so wrapped up in some of our negative experiences, that we forget there are good moments too. 

4. Personal and Professional. I often find that some of the planners I've purchased in the past have solely been designed for professional or academic use. Whilst this is very helpful for work, it's not so great for when you want to set personal 'to do' tasks. This planner allows me to combine my university commitments, as well as some of the personal elements in my day that I would also like to keep track of. There are boxes for: Exercises, Meals, What I'm Grateful For, Main Focus, 'To Do' and What I Hope For Tomorrow. I personally love that there are these options and although I don't fill them in every single day, they are valuable additions that I think more planners should consider including.

5. The aesthetic. The planner design and the different colour options are stunning. Appearance shouldn't be the most important factor when you are considering a lifestyle planner, but it sure does help if your planner looks inviting and makes you want to write in it. I love the unique appearance of The Happiness Planner's and despite the minor practicality issues with size/bulkiness, it has the perfect aesthetic. I bought mine in the black colour scheme after a lot of deliberation. I could have easily bought any of the colours because they are all so gorgeous. 

To sum up, these are just a few of the elements that I love most about the planner. I was so excited about receiving it and I have already noticed small changes that I wouldn't have made without the prompts I've been given whilst using the planner. It is obviously what you make of it, so don't buy it and just let it sit in a drawer! Some of you are probably thinking that it's too late to purchase one because January has nearly ended. Nonetheless, the Happiness Planner do also sell undated, 52 week planners, so that you can start at any time. I'd recommend this for those of you that want to make full use of the planner, however if you don't mind missing January, the yearly planner could still work out for you :) 

Let me know what you think about The Happiness Planner if you have it or if you decide to buy it. I hope you all continue to make positive changes to your life. I'm currently writing this post instead of dwelling on the bad things that have happened today, which is just further support for the positive impact this planner is having on little aspects of my life. Remember, even small steps = progress. 

Take care, Emma x

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