If used as intended, and if you follow the lengthy and comprehensive instructions in how to use it, then yes, to a large extent it can make a difference in your life. Journals are a tool used in behavioural psychology and hypnotherapy to help people gain mastery over themselves. I often ask clients initially to keep a journal to keep track of a problem behaviour, and this might often be enough for a client to stop and drop a habit. Diaries can lead to feelings of self-control and tracking goals and ticking them off can increase confidence. Higher confidence by itself can lead to improved ratings of happiness and life satisfaction. Overall, writing down positive things each day can, over time, change your brain because of neuroplasticity. There are many benefits to different types of journaling.
But will any journal do? Again the answer is yes, but the 6 Minute Journal is an excellent diary with a lot packed into it which over time will counteract the minds negativity bias. It is typical for all of us to have a negativity bias, and those with depression or anxiety will have a stronger inclination towards negativity. An approach applied in Positive Psychology and Hypnotherapy is asking clients with depression, anxiety or pain to focus on strengths in their life, to weaken their focus away from their problems or mood. The same approach works for people who have an average level of happiness but would like to add to their resilience and thrive. The 6 Minute Journal is useful because it reflects many activities, like focusing on strengths, that a therapist would ask a client to complete regardless of their presenting issue.
The journal has a daily page with six sections to be filled out which highlight that we are instrumental in creating our happiness. In the morning there is a section to focus on gratitude, how to make the present-day great, and a positive affirmation to write out. In the evening you write out a good deed you did for the day, how you will improve moving forward and the great things you experienced in the day. There isn’t one section or another that I feel has more relevance for worriers and those with other conditions. Still, I enjoy the part on how a person will improve because it encourages people to focus on what they can do which builds confidence and away from rumination (excessive worry) which build greater peace. I think this area is key to not just improving habits but being able to let old ones like rumination go.
Furthermore, the good deeds area is a useful and unusual addition. I see its relevance, because research has suggested that selfless giving is a key to overall happiness and living a meaningful life. Each section encourages an aspect of mental wellbeing that I think is advantageous over time.
Overall, I think the diary is useful for those new to personal development and those who are more experienced. It contains a great deal of advice about how to set and maintain healthy habits and goals. Helpfully, it includes many pages on preparing to meet your goals and tips on maintaining motivation such as using visualisation. I believe it to be a useful addition to a broader wellbeing toolkit or therapeutic journey and not a panacea. Still, it isn’t sold like that, and the makers suggest that using the diary is even more effective when paired with other measures like an accountability buddy.
I think this is a worthwhile diary to buy for anyone. However, it will be of particular use to those who have anxiety, depression, perfectionism, low self-esteem and insomnia.