While you may be familiar with the benefits of journaling, you may also experience the common lack of inspiration that follows the attempt to put down words. Journal prompts help you start writing about your day, life, thoughts, affirmations, success, self-discovery, stressors, and other aspects of yourself that you may want to explore.
Journaling is a practice that dates back to when humans started writing. Over time, journaling has served a wide range of purposes. And mental health professionals associate the practice with health benefits2 that include coping with grief, managing stress, self-affirmation, and even conflict resolution.
There are many reasons why and how we should write in a journal - from simply taking the time to stop and reflect to benefitting our overall well-being. Psychologist Robert A. Neimeyer helps us understand that when we detail our experiences in writing, we can connect events with how they directly affect us1. Thus “fostering a coherent sense of identity.”
One paper in the Journal of School Counseling puts it this way: “The intellectual, reflective, and interactive processes of journaling make it a resourceful therapeutic teaching, learning, and counseling tool.”
While therapists have adapted journaling as a valuable tool for assisting patients, we don’t have to restrict journaling to therapy.
Expressive writing helps us process our feelings and structure our stream of consciousness. It helps us better form our ideas and life goals, challenges can help us foster a positive attitude, and so on.
Writing about stressful events may even help with their impact on our mental health and general well-being.
With the growing popularity of journaling, we can write across a wide variety of subjects. These prompts are basic ideas, statements, or questions that inspire you to write about a journal topic.
In your journal, you can detail the course of your day, save quotes or questions that pique your interest, write a to-do list, note down your plans and daily routines, discuss your negative or positive feelings, and keep a running list of important things you do not want to forget, and so on.
Journaling, for most people, is a personal endeavor. As such, there are no rules. If something comes to mind and you fancy writing about it - go for it. It could be your last dream, a reflection on a conversation gone by, or one coming up.
Related read: If writing isn't your thing, check out our guide to alternatives to journaling.
However, with all these benefits in mind and so much scope, getting started with journaling may prove to be a challenge. Some people find it difficult to get started when facing a blank page.
The inspiration for writing doesn’t always come easy, so for those days when you need to journal but don’t know how here are 110 ideas and questions that can get you started.
Related: Browse our recommendations of the best eco-friendly journals to find the perfect notebook for you to use with these journaling prompts. Like these? You might also like our morning affirmations to include in your morning routine for a good start to the day.
It is not uncommon for us to need motivation, and we find that journaling can be instrumental in driving personal growth and achieving goals. The key is to engage your mind with the right thoughts and words. Check out these journal prompts to get started.
Journaling is helpful when trying to understand oneself. These journal entry ideas can guide you into writing information to help you decipher your personality traits and their various facets.
Self-discovery is a journey. And getting into the habit of journaling regularly can help you establish clarity and perspective as to your values and needs and where you are going in life.
If you would like to start your day off by writing in your journal, start with one from this list, and work your way through it.
These listed prompts help in starting or inspiring self-affirmation in journaling. They can also help kick you off with diary prompts to engage in self-reflection and self-care.
Journal writing is also an excellent method to keep track of your projects and processes, monitor progress, and keep track of setbacks. Noting the dates helps keep the project on its preferred timeline, and when done correctly, it ensures that you leave no details out. Check out journaling prompt ideas for documenting projects.
Journaling as a means to manage anxiety is one method to compartmentalize, organize and address your worry. It is also a way in which you can increase your awareness of the things you can control, and what thoughts require extra effort to quell. The journaling ideas and diary prompts listed below can provide a little guidance on what to write about if you are journaling for anxiety.
Depression is becoming increasingly prevalent, and with it have come various methods to cope. Therapists may recommend and even encourage it as it is a healthy coping mechanism. Writing is always an excellent method to release negative emotions that can crop up in life and can help you explore your life story in a different light. The journal writing prompts can help you get started and keep going:
Journaling may be helpful for people managing grief who experience acute and overwhelming symptoms or have not “revealed any consequences” that the professional deems favorable. By journaling, one may not only come to understand their grief but also learn to manage it. Below are some journal prompt ideas to help in expressing grief.
It is important to battle intrusive thoughts as they come because these thoughts can quickly become disruptive and limiting. Journaling can help people combat negative thinking. Try out any of the journal prompts below to fend off those negative thoughts in life.
Journaling may help when dealing with conflicts. And a related journal entry may help you view the situation objectively and understand your role in promoting or dispelling that conflict. Start with the journal prompt in this list that you can answer easily, and then work your way through it.
Struggling with self-love can be made more accessible by writing, specifically in ways that inspire love, appreciation, and respect for oneself. Some of these gratitude journal prompts can be helpful.
Journaling is for everyone, and you can use it as needed. We may not always be able to manage or understand our thoughts correctly, but it certainly helps when we write them down. And a writing prompt might be just what we need to start getting pen to paper. Don’t wait for a reason to start your journaling journey.
By journaling, you create a paper trail of your new ideas, growth, and progress over the years. You can look back to evaluate your changes and see what worked and didn’t work for you through your expressions of daily life.
This could also help you build self-awareness, an essential trait to help you successfully navigate daily personal, life, and work challenges.
|Neimeyer, R. A. (Ed.). (2012). Series in death, dying, and bereavement. Techniques of grief therapy: Creative practices for counseling the bereaved. Routledge/Taylor & Francis Group.|
|A new reason for keeping a diary. Siri Carpenter, American Psychological Assoication, September 2001, Vol 32, No. 8.|
Jen’s a passionate environmentalist and sustainability expert. With a science degree from Babcock University Jen loves applying her research skills to craft editorial that connects with our global changemaker and readership audiences centered around topics including zero waste, sustainability, climate change, and biodiversity.
Elsewhere Jen’s interests include the role that future technology and data have in helping us solve some of the planet’s biggest challenges.