Whether you’re looking to cope with a specific mental illness, the stress that comes with living through a pandemic, or just want to start prioritizing yourself and your emotions more, journaling is worth a try. I’ve struggled with depression and anxiety for years and I’ve experimented with all kinds of coping strategies. Journaling regularly is the one coping strategy that has never failed to help me come back to the present, work through my emotions in a healthy way, and better understand myself.
But what exactly is journaling? For me, journaling means writing about anything to do with myself, my life, or something that is on my mind, with no intention of sharing that writing or restricting how I write. You can write in bullet points or text language, scribble out words, spell words wrong, and use improper grammar. You can take your time to write in perfect cursive and use an extensive vocabulary. It doesn’t matter, it’s all about what you prefer for yourself.
When you’re new to journaling, it can be difficult to get started and know what you want to write. Even when you’re a regular journalist it can be nice to write about things you don’t normally write about. This is where journal prompts come in! The following 10 journal prompts are aimed at different areas of mental health including anxiety, guilt, emotional intelligence, relationships, gratitude, and self-care. You can interpret the prompts however you see fit and respond however you’d like.
Write about something that is currently troubling you. Don’t try to solve it, just focus on getting your thoughts and emotions out of your head and onto paper.
I know when I’m feeling sad because when I feel sad I… I know when I’m feeling angry because when I feel angry I…
What elements of your life are you happy/content with right now? What elements of your life are you unhappy/discontent with right now?
What emotional needs are you trying to obtain from someone else? Do you think you can fulfill these needs for yourself?
Write in detail about 5 things you feel genuinely grateful for and why.
When I’m in pain, physical or emotional, the kindest thing I can do for myself is…
Write a letter of forgiveness to yourself.
Write about the people in your life that make you feel the most comfortable or at ease and why you think you feel that way around them. Now, write about the people in your life that make you feel the most uncomfortable or on-edge, and why you think you feel that way around them.
In what area of your life have you grown the most over the past three years? What do you think helped you change?
My definition of success for myself is…
Now find somewhere quiet and get journaling!