101 Therapeutic Journal Prompts for Improving Mental Health

Therapeutic Journal Prompts

Reduce Your Anxiety and Depression with Journal Writing

Journaling is not only a great way of organising your thoughts onto paper, but it also has many therapeutic benefits, providing some structure and outlet for how you are feeling, to help you through those difficult times – because let’s face it, thoughts and emotions can be chaotic sometimes!

Journaling exercises are great for many different states of mind, including depression, anxiety, low self-esteem, or when facing hard times.

It can act as a valuable tool within your support system and compliment the more traditional talking therapies and CBT.

Therapeutic Journal Prompts
Therapeutic Journal Prompts

The action of journaling itself creates a mindful activity, allowing you to be more present in that moment while you organise, express and reflect on your emotional and mental wellbeing.

Needless to say, the mental health benefits of journaling are abundant.

Capturing your thoughts in the moment offers an opportunity to reflect and grow, to look back on a particular emotional state and learn from yourself, or to look to the future more positively.

Why Journaling?

As well as the many benefits we have already mentioned above, there are also many practical benefits we can be grateful for – Journaling is very accessible and can be taken with you (almost) anywhere you go; whether to work, on holiday, or even kept in the car.

Therapeutic Journal Prompts
Therapeutic Journal Prompts

You can share your thoughts without interruptions and there is no judgement, no matter how honest, bold or open your comments might be.

Not least of all, by putting pen to paper, you will engage the analytical, rational part of the brain, often helping you make more sense of what can seem complex and overwhelming at the time.

5 Tips for Therapeutic Journaling

1. Find Somewhere Quiet

As with any expressive writing, mental health journaling will provide you with more peace of mind and nourishment, if you are free from distractions.

Being able to really tune in to your  thoughts and emotions will provide you with a more therapeutic and wholesome experience as you are putting pen to paper.

2. Set Time Aside

Try to set aside some time each day, even if just 10 or 15 minutes, as Journal entries can take a little thought and planning.

Hopefully, this list of Journal prompts below, will go some way to setting the wheels in motion, but by not feeling rushed, you’re sure to get the most out of your entries.

Therapeutic Journal Prompts
Therapeutic Journal Prompts

If journaling forms part of your daily self-care routine and quality time by yourself, this will all add to the benefits you take away from the experience.

3. Include The Date

This may seem minor but being able to look back at your entries further down the line and know when they took place, will provide you with a lot of information. 

Associating your thoughts and feelings with a certain point in time, will help to add a lot of context to why you were feeling that way, any patterns that may be appearing or any triggers for certain feelings.

4. Be Honest

As with traditional talking therapies, the best way to benefit from journaling, is to ensure your journal entries are as frank as they can be. 

Remember, you are talking about your own experience – writing from yourself, to yourself!

5. Use Writing Prompts

We know all too well how intimidating and overwhelming it can be, with a blank page staring up at you. 

So whether you have been keeping a mental health journal for some time now, or are completely new and wondering where to start, we know you’ll find some inspiration in our blog post of 101 Therapeutic Journal prompts. 

101 Therapeutic Journal Prompts

Which three words would you use to describe your current mood?

Write a letter to a person who has had a positive impact on you.

What is causing you to worry?

List 3 ways that coping with COVID and lockdown has made you stronger.

What do you think might happen if you stayed in your anxiety and let the feeling grow? 

What is the nicest thing you have done for someone else?

What items do you find bring you the most comfort? 

Write a kind poem about yourself.

What 3 things were you most thankful for when social distancing was lifted?

Write a positive message to yourself that you can look back on when you are feeling low.

Therapeutic Journal Prompts
Therapeutic Journal Prompts

Write about the last thing that made you cry and why?

What or who are the most important things in your life?

Write about something that is frustrating to you.

What three things have you done during negative past experiences, to make you feel a little better?

What are your 5 favourite activities for self-care? (meditation, breathing exercises, yoga)

Write down 5 ways that your self-care activities benefit your state of mind.

List 5 new ways you can care for yourself.

Write about one thing today that made you feel happy.

Write about one thing today that made you feel unhappy.

How are you feeling on a scale of 1-10?

Therapeutic Journal Prompts
Therapeutic Journal Prompts

Write about your daily motivations.

List 5 things you read that can improve your mood. (Magazines, books, articles, inspirational quotes)

List 5 things you listen to that make you feel happy. (Music, podcasts, radio stations, live music, sleep sounds)

What is your favourite book and why?

List 3 small things that bring you happiness each day.

Write a letter to your younger self. What would you advise them? Be kind! 

Which 3 bands or groups make you happiest to listen to?

Name an event that can cause you anxiety. What steps could you take to help in that situation?

Do you have any healthy social media routines or patterns? (follow positive, like-minded people? Limited time on feeds? Not using excessively? Not checking while in bed?)

Therapeutic Journal Prompts
Therapeutic Journal Prompts

Think of 2 good deeds you can do for a stranger this week?

What is the 1 main goal you would like to achieve 6 months from now?

List three people you can talk to if there was an emergency. How could you reach out to them next time you feel down?

Physically, how do you feel at this very moment?

Name 5 things about yourself that you like (ideally non-physical)

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Write about how you would describe yourself to a stranger.

How does mental health stigma affect you?

Write about a time you have overcome a difficult situation.

List 5 little things that bring you happiness or make you smile each day?

Write in detail about three events in your life that evoke happy memories.

Write about 3 events in the next 12 months that you are looking forward to. (Birthday’s, Christmas, meeting friends, a concert, a day off work). 

Write about a difficult situation that you managed to cope with.

List 5 things that make you feel positive when you are feeling low.

Write about 3 things you have done that you are proud of. 

Who inspires you and why?

Are there people in your life that understand what it’s like to struggle mentally?

What has your depression taught you?

What is the best compliment you can give yourself?

Just write for 1 minute – anything that comes into your mind!

Write about a memory that makes you happy?

Give a recent example of a time you felt content?

List 5 ways that depression has made you stronger.

Which 5 places would you like to visit?

What would be different about your life if you were not depressed?

Write about your perfect holiday. (Who would you go with? What would you do there?)

Which food makes your body feel the most replenished?

What self-care do you have in your morning routine?

Are you facing any challenges in life currently? 

Therapeutic Journal Prompts
Therapeutic Journal Prompts

If so, are there SMART steps you could take to approach them?

What is your bedtime routine and is there an opportunity for self-care?

What would be your dream job?

If something is currently worrying you, capture it.

Have you learnt anything from difficult experiences in the past?

Think about 3 people who mean the most to you. What do you like about them?

Think of 1 thing you can do next week that will bring you peace of mind.

List 3 positive habits you have in your life.

What are the 3 main goals you would like to have achieved 1 year from now?

What are the 3 main goals you would like to have achieved 5 years from now?

Therapeutic Journal Prompts
Therapeutic Journal Prompts

What are the 3 main goals you would like to have achieved 10 years from now?

List 3 new habits you would like to bring into your life.

What are 5 positive things you are good at?

What advice would you give someone else who is suffering from depression or anxiety?

Are there certain thought patterns that can trigger bouts of depression?

Therapeutic Journal Prompts
Therapeutic Journal Prompts

Are there certain actions, places or experiences that can trigger bouts of depression?

List 5 things you can do to help relieve stress.

Have you learned anything new this past week about how you approach your mental health?

Think of a new activity you can try this month.

What is your biggest fear? Is this fear rational?

Write about a person in your life that makes you feel at ease. 

What is it about them that makes you feel like this?

List 3 things you have gratitude for.

Are you keeping any secrets that weigh on your mind?

Write about the last time you cried with laughter. Do you remember what you were laughing about? Were you with anyone?

What makes you happy about your job?

What makes you unhappy about your job? Are there any steps you could take to improve this?

Write an honest letter to your parents; knowing that they will not see it!  

In detail, describe what a perfect day might look like.

Write a letter to a person who has had a negative impact on you; knowing they will not see it!

Therapeutic Journal Prompts
Therapeutic Journal Prompts

Describe what you think love means.

Do you have any cool talents or skills?

List 3 compliments you have received from people and how they made you feel.

What makes you feel at your most confident?

Write about something small that would make you smile. Can you add as much detail as possible?

What is the kindest thing you have ever done for yourself?

Is your anxiety related to a memory or experience? 

If you could choose, how would those closest to you support you with your mental health?

Is there something on your mind you could share with someone that would make you feel less stressed?

Write a letter of forgiveness to someone that you hold a grudge against.

If you could choose, how would those closest to you support you with your mental health?

List 5 TV programmes or films that make you feel positive or happy.

Can you identify the reasons you are feeling like this right now? Maybe your self-care routine has taken a back seat, or a particularly stressful or happy event took place recently?

What are your personal values and morals?

Write about a close friend. What makes them such a good person? Do they know how much you think of them?