31 Journal Prompts for Mental Health
Journaling can unlock so many things. Your creativity, your productivity and (our favourite) your mental wellbeing.
From putting a plan together to logging your daily activities and exploring deep thoughts in more detail… your journal is an outlet, an expression, a way to get all that stuff out of our heads.
Your journaling practice can be such a powerful tool when it comes to looking after yourself. And this article is exploring why, with a big bunch of journaling prompts to support you and your mental health.
The link between journaling and mental health
Therapists often recommend journaling to their clients as a way to “supersize” their practice, and with good reason.
Journaling can be a tool to help manage your mental health and boost your mood. There are three key ways that this happens:
- Developing self-awareness - by getting your thoughts out of your head and onto paper, you’re able to see them. You can track your mental health symptoms, spot patterns and recognise triggers. As mental health charity Mind explains, keeping a mood diary can “help you to work out what makes you feel better or worse. You can then take steps to avoid, change or prepare for difficult situations.”
- Identify negative thought patterns - when you see your thoughts, you can see the negative thought patterns. And then you can swap those thoughts for more positive self-talk instead.
- Getting to the root cause -ever had a problem but struggled to figure out what was causing it? Journaling can help you do that, by digging deep into the emotions surrounding that issue so you can identify the root cause and change it.
“I did many things to help with my mental health journey, and one of them was journaling my thoughts, feelings and experiences. These sessions feel like therapy but even better. There are no time constraints involved and I could go as deep as I wanted with my thoughts or just stay on the surface.
[...] Through writing, recording videos and even talking to myself in the mirror, I started to normalise my experiences without even doing so intentionally.”
How to journal for your mental health
As with anything that looks after your health or wellbeing, the most important thing is that you do it. And how you do it might look totally different from what feels good for someone else.
Still, there are a few core ingredients that can help you get started:
- A quiet and cosy corner - your journaling setup doesn’t have to be fancy, but it does need to feel inviting enough that you actually want to pick up the pen. Try and create a welcoming nook in your home or bedroom, with somewhere comfortable to sit and a few of your favourite items to set the right mood.
- A lined journal -you can use any type of paper to journal your thoughts, but a lined journal can make them easy to follow. We’ve designed our lined journals to feel incredibly luxurious, giving your thoughts the space they deserve.
- A favourite pen - everyone writes in their own unique way, so get yourself a pen that feels easy to hold and that you enjoy using. And that’s it!
Many mental health charities also have toolkits to help you get started with journaling for your mental health. We especially love the “Can’t talk, write” toolkit for young people from Action for Children.
An important note: whilst journaling can support your mental wellbeing, it is not a substitute for therapy. Please also reach out for support through your local medical care provider, or a charity like Mind or the Samaritans.
Journal prompts for mental health
For us, journaling is all about getting those things out of your head and down onto paper.
It’s a way to log a positive thing that you want to remember and train your mind to look for the good. It’s a way to see the patterns that are hidden in your mind. And it’s a way to simply ditch the bad thoughts and send them someplace else.
Here’s how to get started, with three different types of journal prompts for your mental health.
Journal prompts for anxiety
When you’re feeling anxious and need to calm a loud mind, these journal prompts are for you. Find a quiet corner, get comfy, and find a little peace.
- Get all your thoughts and worries out onto paper. List everything that’s making you anxious right now, and keep writing until you run out of things to say. The British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy calls this a “worry dump”.
- How likely is it that your anxiety will come true? How often has it come true in the past? It’s usually the case that the things we’re most worried about don’t actually happen.
- Do you know what’s causing you to feel anxious today? Is there a way you can change the situation to soothe your thoughts?
- How does your current core emotion relate to previous, similar emotions? How did you support yourself in those instances? Can you use any of those tools today?
- What do you need to feel good right now?
- How does this anxiety feel in your body? What might ease that?
- Describe your current physical surroundings. How are they making you feel? Is there anything you can immediately do to change them for the better?
- Turn back the clock 5, 10 or 15 years. What seemed impossible then that you’ve managed to achieve today?
- What kind things have other people said to you in the last month? Write them down.
- Describe your fear, write out all the “what-ifs”. Now, write down everything you can do to prevent this fear from happening. Finally, write out how you could repair the damage if this fear were to actually happen. This is called fear setting, a technique used by Tim Ferris and much loved by anxious minds around the world.
- What support are you craving? How can you access that?
Deep journal prompts
Sometimes, we want to dive a little deeper. Perhaps you want to learn something new about yourself or are feeling particularly reflecting today. These deep journal prompts can help equip you with new lessons to support your mental wellbeing.
- Is there anything or anyone that’s causing you to experience negative thoughts or emotions? Can you remove it or set a boundary with them to help protect yourself?
- Describe the last time you felt nostalgic. What were you craving or missing?
- Write down the hardest experience you’ve ever had. What enabled you to get through it?
- Write a message to a parent, family member or friend (you can keep it private) and get out all the things that have been left unsaid.
- What do you need less of in your life?
- What boundaries do you wish you could set? How can you implement them?
- What daily habit do you wish you had? How can you break that down into small achievable steps?
- What’s your biggest regret? Are you still carrying it with you? How can you help ease that pressure on yourself?
- What do you stand for in your life? What ignites your soul with passion?
- When do you feel your best?
Journal prompts to help you find the good
When you’re feeling a little gloomy and stuck in a funk, inject a bit of sunshine into your day with these feel good journal prompts. They might be just what you need to give your mood a boost.
- Describe one good thing that you experienced today.
- Who are you grateful to have in your life?
- Take a moment to remember the last time you felt lit up with joy. What made you feel that good?
- What does a good life look like to you?
- Plan out your perfect day, step by step. What can you do to help it happen?
- What do you need reminding of today?
- Write down all the good things from the last week. What caused them? How can you add more in?
- If you had a “feel good toolkit”, what would it contain?
- What or who inspires you? How can you add more of that into your life?
- What would you do today if you loved yourself?