Welcome to my review of How To Think Positively: The 90 Day Happiness Journal by Detlef Beeker
One aspect of reading self-help books, whether they are in the realm of general living, or even in business and productivity, is that the subject of Gratitude and achieving happiness, as well as positive thinking keeps on coming up, in various forms, no matter who the Author is. Because of that alone, I think it warrants a deeper dive into these concepts, which is why I have chosen to place more and more books about that subject are onto my TBR list.
One of these books was the newly released The 90 Day Happiness Journal.
Now, I probably have way too many books that also contain journal prompts, but the therapeutic properties of keeping a journal are not to be denied. The 90 Day Happiness Journal explains some of the reasons, specifically as it relates to gratitude.
Here are some of the points the Author made before getting to the actual journal part of the book
Note: The journal starts at about ¼ of a way into the book
- Keeping a gratitude journal can turn into a mechanical activity, that one does automatically without much feeling. I agree with the author to a certain degree on this, because anything repeated over a longer period of time, can become somewhat automatic and monotone, but that does not bring me to a conclusion to outright dismiss standard Gratitude Journals, with the same vigor as he has. Keep in mind, that any tool, is only as valuable as the energy that you put into it, and that goes for feeling grateful just as much as any other positive living aspect. If someone likens the writing in their gratitude journal as being just another part of a morning routine they ought to do, then yes – it is not worth very much. On the other hand, a motivated person will use this practice to transform themselves, by creating a more grateful habit throughout the day, beyond just a few minutes in the morning, or evening, as a part of their routine. It can become a springboard to a more positive overall lifestyle.
- More importantly he leaves out one of the major points that the Psychologist, Researcher and Specialist in Happiness he cites (Dr. Sonja Lyubomirsky) makes about the creation of happiness, at this moment: It is not only important to write a gratitude list, but include the why – the reason behind the gratitude – on the list as well, as this will deepen the emotional connection to the creation of the list, rather than just creating a list without any attachment or feelings. Strangely enough, he uses the questions of why throughout the book but should have given Dr. Lyobomirsky the credit here as well.
Enjoy this video by Dr. Lyobomirsky (the review continues below the video)
- His suggestion to not judge yourself for whatever you are putting in the journal is a very important one. I completely agree with this sentiment. This is your secret journal anyway (I would not share my gratitude journal openly, but I have a spiritual relationship with keeping silence, and I consider my gratitude journal a part of my spiritual practice), so there is no one there to judge you on how profound, or small each of your entries are. Your gratitude journal is a judgment-free, honest and open zone, just for you. And maybe for whatever deity you believe in. But that should be it.
I must confess, I ignored the happiness test – which is supposed to be measuring my current happiness level because I don’t see much merit in such a basic test of three questions, but it might bring some insight to you. I generally am not a fan of short psychological tests like that, so that I just my personal preference, not a judgment on the quality of the test.
The Question And Journal Section Of The 90 Day Happiness Journal
Before getting to the actual part, of the journal, the Author then chose to go through the questions in greater detail. As he explains, these questions will repeat themselves weekly (albeit a different day of the week) throughout this book, which I find a little disappointing. In a journal that features only 90 days of journaling, I expect 90 different journal prompts. Some books contain over 365 of them, or even more, but it was nice to have someone go through the intent of every question he wrote, which was an interesting little guide, that made a lot of sense and clarified some aspects a lot.
I liked that he mentions visualization – however, I don’t, and I don’t know many people who do, have the time to visualize for 20 minutes straight, as he at some point suggests. Even as a very creative person, I would have a very hard time, coming up with enough details to keep my visualization positive and focused. After a while, my attention would slip, and I might even dive into negative imagery, or not so positive aspects of an imaginary situation. That would be counterproductive. If you can stay focused on positive thoughts for that long- more power to you. I can’t. That is a little much to ask.
This length is only mentioned during the explanation section of this journal, while within the journal, there are no directions on how long someone is supposed to visualize. I would suggest, you do the length that makes you feel the most comfortable and works with your attention span.
He also added journal questions about laughter and recalling funny events, which I find very useful as well. Just reading the description of this specific happiness and gratitude technique made me smile.
After that, we arrive at the question that I found the most unique in this journal, and also probably the most powerful one.
“What didn’t go the way you intended last week? Find the positive. What could be the lesson and the blessing?
Finding the blessing and lessons in failures, and stumbling blocks are essential skills in cultivating a growth mindset and priming oneself for success. Negative situations most often hold a lot of information within them, and being able to look at them objectively is important. I have never seen this question in a journal of this type before, so that was awesome and profound.
How You Should Use This Journal
Because many of these journals prompt ask for a reflection back upon your day, this journal should be used in the evening to be the most useful, which I also find refreshing, as many Authors focus on the power of a great morning routine, rather than a well-thought-out evening routine.
While I disagree with some of the points made by the Author, it did not take away anything from the usefulness, and depth of the journal itself, and I had to say, that even though I was as mentioned above, taken back a little by the lack of new prompts, it did not bother me as much, in practice as I thought it would.
However, I do use The 90 Day Journal in conjunction with my morning journal, in which I follow the prompts laid out in The Year Of You, which might contribute to the lack of feeling monotone. It is interestingly to mention though, that he was set on avoiding a monotony, but repeated questions, anyway? I found this, a very interesting choice.
Overall, I consider this journal useful, and insightful, which is why I made it a part of my daily evening routine, at least for a few more weeks.
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Is the repeating of some of the journal prompts a deal breaker for you, when you pick up a guided journal? I would love to hear your opinion on that subject.
3.5 out of 5 Stars