For the longest time on my journey to conquering my anxiety, I was told left, right, and center that writing was one of the best ways to improve the state of my mental health. But it didn’t always come easy to me to sit myself down and pour my innermost thoughts out on paper. So, I have created this list of journal writing prompts to help you improve your mental health by knowing yourself better.
Here’s the deal.
Even now I can struggle to allow myself the time to sit and write in a journal.
Despite the fact that it is private, for my eyes only, I feel a huge sense of vulnerability and exposure wash over me when I start to put pen to paper and that can be daunting.
Sometimes I’m great at it! It explodes out of me and I can only compare it to going hard at a punching bag. A HUGE relief.
The thoughts and feelings that were filling my head and causing my anxiety to rise were suddenly in my journal, on the page in front of me.
A mental health journal is now a well-known aid to helping us manage what goes on inside that head of ours.
But, if you’re anything like me, it’s not always easy to get started and you can sit there staring at your journal wondering what the hell you’re going to write (even when you know you have plenty to say).
Mental health journal writing prompts are a GODSEND in this respect.
By using a journal and journal prompts you can make it so daily journaling becomes part of your routine, part of your own mental health therapy.
And that’s exactly what it should be, part of your lifestyle.
Much like a diet or exercise regime, if you want to see the worthwhile results and longer lasting effects that journaling can have on your mental health and well-being then it MUST become a lifestyle choice.
Integrate it into your everyday routine and see what happens.
What Is Journaling?
Journaling is an effective way to manage your goals and organize your thoughts and feelings, freeing your brain space from their ever invading presence.
It’s getting your thoughts out of your head and on to paper.
By doing this you can step back, look at your journal and allow yourself space and distance from your feelings. Giving you the ability to view them from a fresh perspective.
Things will pop out at you that you never knew you had even given a second thought to.
You can address concerns that are reoccurring or begin to organize yourself to navigate toward a desired path.
It is a great source of anxiety and stress relief.
Suddenly your thoughts are not invisible to you, they are right there in your journal for you to SEE.
This is why journaling is encouraged for helping manage anxiety and depression.
When we suffer from these neuroticism’s we fixate on our problems and struggle to break away from negative thought patterns. Our minds become filled with horrible self-talk and it’s hard to filter through the fog.
But when it’s written there in your journal it’s ten times easier to address and sort out.
Much like lists. I am a sucker for lists.
I would organize every single aspect in my life into lists if I could because there is a definiteness to seeing the items on a list that makes me more likely to actually action them.
This isn’t too dissimilar to how journaling works.
By writing it down you can see it, address it and take action. Clearing your mind and relieving you of your anxiety surrounding the matter.
So, what are journal writing prompts?
Ok, so as previously mentioned this doesn’t come easy to a lot of us.
There are tools and techniques such as Morning Notes whereby the idea is to brain dump anything and everything that comes into your head on the page for a solid 5 minutes as soon as you wake up in the morning without even taking your pen off the paper.
These are great tools and techniques and if you can find one that works, USE IT!
But for many struggling with anxiety or depression, it can be difficult to sit down and address difficult issues even if we know it will ultimately improve our mental health.
We don’t take the necessary steps to find out and implement things that will make us FEEL GOOD.
Mental health journal writing prompts however can be used to GUIDE you through your journal and take some of the pressure off.
I used to sit down and think ‘This will be good for me. I need to do this…..But what do I write?!’
Before I knew it I’m sitting there staring at my anxiety journal and suddenly fixating on a new problem – mind blank!
The idea of journaling should not induce stress or make you feel under pressure.
NEVER feel PRESSURED when it comes to journaling.
There are no right or wrong ways to express your thoughts and feelings.
There is no judgement.
This journal is for your eyes only, it’s completely private.
So, when you begin your journaling journey you might have the odd moments like this where it doesn’t feel like a pleasure to write but more of an obligation (and this is where you can begin to feel stressed) but you must not concern yourself with WHAT you are going to write or HOW WELL you write it.
This is where the journal writing prompts come in. It relieves you of the pressure of wondering what the hell it is you should be writing about!
By using the journal writing prompts provided, you can either work through them chronologically or you can choose one that matches your mood that day or choose one that you think might be a challenge and lead to some great realizations.
It doesn’t matter how you use the journal prompts, they are there as a starting off point. To give you guidance.
What’s important when it comes to using these mental health journal writing prompts?
Being truthful, open and brutally honest.
The best way to manage your mental health whether that be anxiety, depression, loneliness, etc is to live life as your true authentic self.
I know, I know. ‘Oh please, Emma! Don’t get started on the self-love mumbo jumbo!’
Believe you me, I have spent the last 15 years trying to ignore the advice of specialists and psychologists in the world who have been hammering home that the best way to live an anxiety free life is to accept who I am, love all aspects of myself and believe I am worthy.
Accept that I AM ENOUGH.
It’s a constant battle that I work toward every day but let me tell you my friend, these professionals are not wrong.
When you use these journal prompts for the purpose of managing anxiety or depressions then answering them with half-truths WILL NOT HELP YOU.
Journal writing requires complete honesty and transparency, not for anyone else but for YOURSELF.
You need to know what is going on inside that head of yours.
You need to organize your thoughts and feelings and address your problems before you can move forward and work on them.
If you’re only writing down half the story then guess what, you’re in denial about something.
You’re embarrassed about something, angry, upset, ashamed or resentful of something.
The EXACT thing that you don’t want to scribble down in your journal will be the one and only thing that should absolutely be there.
How will these journal writing prompts help your mental health?
Clarify thoughts and feelings –
By writing down your problems, fears or worries then you allow yourself to organize your thoughts and feelings and sort through the brain fog to see them clearly for what they are. It can get pretty messy in that head of ours, by writing it down it clearly laid out in front of us.
Know Yourself Better –
You can never know yourself well enough. We all need to constantly strive to understand who we are as individuals, raise our self awareness and use this to set ourselves up to live a full and prosperous life according to what we need. By following the journaling prompts you will unknowingly tap into aspects of yourself that you never truly understood or even knew was a part of who you are.
Reduces Stress and Anxiety –
Writing is a proven source of anxiety and stress relief. Get the mess that’s in your head onto the paper and the weight will lift off you. Fixating and ruminating on our problems is exhausting and draining. This in turn amplifies the anxiety and stress we feel when we aren’t able to acknowledge and work toward fixing these problems as they pile up until it’s unmanageable.
Problem Solving –
When you clarify your thoughts and feelings by writing them out on paper you can step back and distance yourself from them. Suddenly they are separate from you and can look at them with a different perspective. Perhaps you can view a difficult situation that causes you pain and suddenly see why someone else reacted the way they did. Solutions will appear to you without even looking too hard to find them. They are right there in front of you.
Clear Your Mind –
We are not supposed to hold all of this angst inside our head. We need our brain to run at it’s best each and every day so we can love the best life we can possibly live. It needs to be alert, responsive and on tip top form to function at it’s highest level. Your brain categorically cannot do this if we are filling it with worry, panic, fear and fixations. It drains us of our energy when we give our problems this much attention without dealing with them. By putting it into your journal you clear your mind and allow it to do what it does best – help us live our best life.
The Truth About Journal Writing Prompts
I think this is worth briefly repeating…
Some of these prompts for improving your mental health will be easy to answer. You may find that you could sit and write for hours and it will pour out of you.
This may be because it doesn’t address any particular issue for you and that’s OK.
These prompts are still worth using because it all has the same purpose of helping you know yourself better. It is just one of many techniques for achieving a better state of mental health.
What I will say is that for some of these prompts you will find them difficult.
Some will require you to dig deep and take a really good look at yourself. Perhaps reflect on situations that you would rather forget or open a box that has been shut for a long time because it causes you too much pain.
You must lean into this.
These are the questions that need answering and will take you one step closer to managing your anxiety or depression.
The hardest things in life are always the ones that are worth your attention and these particular prompts that conjure up some hesitation or trepidation in you are the ones where you really need to think, ‘I must answer this with complete honesty.’
Don’t leave any details out. Lean into it and learn to love who you are.
Journal Writing Prompts
1. Write about a challenging time in your life that you overcame. How did you overcome it and how did it make you feel?
2. Describe how you want your life to look in 5, 10, and 20 year’s time. Be as detailed as possible.
3. What are the three things that scare you the most and why?
4. Name five moments when you were ecstatically happy and explain why.
5. Answer this question honestly. How are you feeling today?
6. Write down 5 things you could tell people to help them understand you better.
7. Identify the toxic people in your life, explain how they make you feel and why it’s best to cut ties.
8.Who are people that have a positive effect on your life and you would like to spend more time with?
9. Name something you need to forgive your younger self for.
10. What motivates you in life?
11. What is 1 way in which you can reward yourself when you accomplish something
12. When times get tough I want to remember that _______
13. My greatest qualities are ________
14. What are your pet peeves?
15. What do you feel you have no control over that causes you pain?
16. Describe a time when someone wronged you. If you could, what would you say to them.
17. What’s your favorite memory? Describe this memory in great detail.
18. 10 things I feel thankful for are __________
19. How can you take control or learn to let go?
20. Right now my greatest challenge is ________
21. This week I am looking forward to these three things _________
22. On a scale of 1-10 my mental health is at a _____ because
23. If I could meet anyone in the world I would like to meet _____ because
24. Who has been your biggest supporter? Write that person a thank you letter
25. Today my victories were:
26. Write a thank you letter to your body
27. Are there any aspects about yourself that you’ve hidden from your partner? Explain what they are and why?
28. If you could go anywhere in the world where would you go and why?
29. Do you put yourself first in life? If not, why not?
30. When is the last time you did something nice for yourself?
31. What are your interests?
32. Talk about a time you helped someone.
33. Talk about a time you helped a stranger.
34. What is a dream that you let go of that you could start working toward again?
35. What is something that you are looking forward to?
36. What is something you can plan, so you will look forward to it?
37. Describe your biggest accomplishment and why it means so much to you
38. No matter how terrible my day is these ten things can always make me feel better:
39. The biggest lessons I’ve learned from anxiety are:
40. If I didn’t have any fear I would ________________
41. What do you wish most people knew about you and why?
42. A fear I would like to overcome is ________. I can do these things to start overcoming it:
43. If you could change anything about yourself what would it be and why?
44. Has your life turned out how you thought it would? If not, explain what’s different about it?
45. Describe 2 significant memories of your childhood and how you think they have effected you.
46. If I could have any career I would be a __________ because:
47. What was the last thing that made you feel deeply frustrated?
48. What actions do you take to manage your mental health? If you don’t take any, explain why not.
49. How do you want to be remembered?
50. Describe a time when you had to make a really hard choice.
51. What is a trait that you admire most in others? In what ways do you see that trait in yourself.
52. Name ten things you can start doing to take care of yourself?
53. What are your ten worst habits and how do they impact your life?
54. Describe a time when you sabotaged a good situation for yourself. Why do you think you did that?
55. What would unconditional love look like for you? What would it feel like?
56. If you had to pick one day to relive over and over for the rest of your life what would it be and why?
57. Describe your perfect relationship.
58. How would you describe yourself to a stranger?
59. What is the most unique thing about you? Do you like to hide it or let it show?
60. If you knew this was your last day on earth what would you do?
61. Name ten songs that make you feel amazing.
62. If you could achieve anything in your life what would it be?
63. What friendship that you’ve had was the most meaningful?
64. Write 3 things you are thankful for.
65. Write about the happiest time in your life.
66. What are 3 new hobbies you would like to try?
67. What is a part of yourself you are unhappy with – how can you work on improving this or ACCEPTING it?
68. What is a goal you are working towards?
69. What are you doing to work towards that goal?
70. What would a life of meaning look like to you?
71. Name 1 event that troubles you and you want to work on letting go of.
72. What area of your life are you most unhappy with? (friends, career, relationship, financial)
73. What is 1 habit you would like to stop?
74. What is 1 habit you would like to start?
75. What are your favourite techniques to de-stress yourself?
76. Write about your values and morals.
77. Is there any way you could change your life to live more in line with those morals?
78. How would your best friend describe you?
79. Make a list of 3 Mental Health books you would like to read this year.
80. Describe a moment in time where an action you did or didn’t take fills you with guilt. What would you do differently if you could relive that moment again?
81. What would you say to a friend who is suffering with depression?
82. What are things that you consider to be triggers in your life?
83.How can you minimise or avoid these triggers?
84. Share something you struggle with/ want to overcome?
85. What have you overcome in the past? How has that helped you/made you stronger?
86. What do you want to improve on?
87. Name 10 things you love right now.
88. What are you grateful for?
89. Favorite Books/ Stories? Explain why you love it and read it again.
90. What have you found funny lately? What makes you laugh?
91. Name 5 places you would love to travel to.
92. Who is your inspiration and how can you adopt some of the qualities they possess?
93. If you could do one thing right now, what would it be?
94. What makes you happy?
95. Name one thing that made you laugh out loud?
96. What do you do to relax? What can you do to relax?
97. What’s one bad thing/habit you want to cut out your life?
98. What are your dreams/goals at the moment?
99. What steps do you want to take to reach your goals/dreams? How are you planning to do that?
100. How are you going to overcome your fears and anxieties?
101. Write something you forgive yourself for.
102. Write a letter to someone special in your life and tell them what they mean to you. (You do not have to send it)
103. List things that make you smile?
104. Highs and lows of the day/month, year?
105. What are some struggles you face with your mental health? What are ways to soothe/ease your it?
106. What do you want to explore? What are your hobbies?
107. What are the positives in your life? How can you use these to change your perspective in life to a more positive outlook?
108. Do you have a support system? If not, how do you build that support system for yourself?
109. I am anxious when….
110. I felt sad when….
111. One thing I wish I could change…
112. My happiest memory is…
113. What’s been bugging me lately?
114. Make a list of 15 things you love about yourself…
115. Write a letter to one of your parents. (You do not have to give it to them.)
116. What is one way your depression or anxiety has held you back this week? What could you do to change that?
117. Write yourself a letter forgiving you for something that has happened in your past.
118. Create a Brainstorm list of activities to reduce your stress and anxiety. Make a plan to add at least 3 activities to your schedule this week.
119. Write a letter to your younger self. What advice can you give them to better navigate their mental health?
120. The last time I felt this way, I…
121. What is one thing you wish you had said no to? Why didn’t you? What impact did it have on your experience?
122. Write a review about your favorite book or movie and why it resonates with you so deeply.
123. Make a schedule for your perfect day. Take one of these things and do it sometime this week.
124. What is something I need to let go of? Why am I holding onto it?
125. Describe your home. The way it looks, the smell, the feel, comfort, and overall atmosphere there.
126. What does self-care mean to you? How do practice this in your daily life?
127. Write down three things that cause you anxiety. Brainstorm 1–2 ways you can combat these triggers when they come up.
128. What are 3 things about yourself you wish others knew? How could you share these things with others more?
129. Choose an Inspiration word for the week. What does it mean to you? And how can you live your life this week with that word in mind?
130. Name one thing that makes you feel uncomfortable that if you embraced it could change your life. Explain why.
The Time Starts Now!
Use these journal writing prompts to get you started on your journey to healing through writing.
With every journal writing prompt you take time to invest in you will uncover more about yourself and take valuable steps toward owning your individuality.
You actions, wants, needs, desires, pain, pleasures and so much more.
I’d Love To Hear Your Journaling Stories!
Please do leave a comment in the section below telling me all about your experiences with journaling.
Have you tried it? If not, why not?
Has it helped improved your mental health?
What was your biggest realisation?
Anything you have to say, I want to hear it!
Happy writing everyone Xx