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Laura Rubin began AllSwell as a way to invite more people to the page, encouraging analog creativity in all its forms. Since establishing the brand, Laura has changed the cultural narrative around “keeping a journal”’ empowering individuals in the process. A passionate champion for the written word, she grounds her group experiences and individual coaching sessions in scientific research to shift the perception of this accessible modality for greater mental, emotional and physiological well being. We learned so much from our conversation with her.
Editor: How did you decide to start AllSwell?
AllSwell was born in Montauk from a surf check gone awry. There were no waves but it was a beautiful morning so I spread my towel on the beach, cracked a notebook and started to journal instead. Despite being disappointed, I was having myself a nice little moment. I wrote “Swell or no swell, all’s well” and that was the genesis for the brand.
Editor: How has your mission evolved during the pandemic?
Initially I wanted to help change the perception of journaling. I recognized it had a bit of a PR problem, more associated with teen-girl angst and dreamcatchers than the potent tool for mental, emotional and physiological well-being it is. That has changed over the 8 years since I launched AllSwell. Now it’s part of the zeitgeist, regularly reported on by mainstream media including The Harvard Business Review. HBR is definitely not woo-woo. The products led to workshops and experiences to help people connect with their innate creative voice. That is certainly still very much part of the mission but today I’m committed to igniting a journaling movement to support overall well-being. People are suffering so much and the simple act of putting pen to paper is a scientifically proven way to provide some relief and healing.
Editor: Why is it so important to be mindful now?
I am not overstating when I say that we’re in the midst of a mental health crisis - and unfortunately it’s likely going to get worse before it gets better. The prolonged stress, concern, limited access to community and resources….in our lifetime, there has been no more potent time to journal. And it’s there for you 24/7 at a very low cost barrier. No special outfit, no copay needed. We need as many tools in our wellness toolbox as possible in order to support ourselves.
Editor: How can journaling help us throughout the year?
Despite the concerns we’re collectively navigating, there is ample opportunity to create, to look for meaning, to be of service, to find joy, grace and gratitude. All of that is available by putting pen to paper. A couple of examples:
Gratitude is essentially a superpower. By committing to a regular gratitude practice you’re literally boosting the happiness settings in your brain. Write down what you are most grateful for in this present moment and try to steer clear of “the usual suspects.” Push yourself to find new things to be grateful for as a way of firing up your imagination.
To counter anxiety - a future-focused worry - get grounded with what I call a Sense Check. Use all 5 senses - tastes, sights, sounds, textures, scents for which you’re grateful. Be in your body, be present in your life.
Editor: What are your top tips for staying well both physically and mentally?
Some tips below:
Unplug from the drug. Limit screen time!
Write it out. I suggest 4x4x4 - at least 4 minutes of journaling a day, do it 4 days a week and try to stick with it for 4 weeks.
Move your body. Even gentle exercise (stretching or walking) counts.
Go outside and play. Bundle up, observe your surroundings, find ways to be outdoors in the sunshine.
Hydrate. (Dehydration is the leading cause of exhaustion in women in this country.)
Make stuff. The act of trying out something new (could be as simple as a new recipe) helps increase feelings of accomplishment.
If you’re feeling really blue the best solution is to think about someone who is having a harder time and help them out. Be of service.
Follow Laura on her personal Instagram and the AllSwell Creative Instagram
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