Is Journaling Helpful?
Mental health is important. The easiest explanation for why this is- it’s because you are important. Journaling can be a great way to get you back on track. It can also help you to stay on track if you are working with a therapist. Journal prompts can help you in your self-awareness and help you to see yourself in another light, thus providing many benefits for mental health. You can be talking about a perfect day or difficult times, either way, you will feel a shift in your emotional state. What we are aware of we can deal with, it’s the unawareness that allows circumstances to have the power.
What is Therapeutic Journaling?
This is simply writing down our feelings, memories we have about a certain time. You can spend a little extra time on yourself to make a positive change, or to help you process. Regardless of the work you want to do on yourself, there are benefits of journaling. This is not intended to take the place of therapy with a licensed therapist.
Staring at a blank page can be daunting so I have come up with 75 questions to help you fill up your next journal. So the next time you are ready to add a journal entry, keep this list in mind. These questions can have short answers, or you may end up writing a short story, and are only one of the small things you can do to help you process those internal thoughts. You will be answering questions about past experiences or your future desires, to help you along your way.
My Journaling Journey
When I was little I journaled out of loneliness. I didn't have adults that I could turn to for love and support. So I journaled. My family and I watched some old home videos that my parents took with their camcorder. It was the 90’s and I was about 8 years old. In the video I could be seen sitting in a wagon in the corner of the living room writing in a notebook. I do not remember what little 8 year old me was writing about, but I do remember doing this often. Someone made the comment that there I was off by myself and not participating in the family. This was my safe place, my happy place. This was a place for me to think and process things. The only way I knew how to as a small girl.
This is where my love for writing started, and it’s only grown since then.
Do I have to be a good writer to journal?
No, you don’t. The words you write do not have to be flowing and beautiful. They can be raw and real. Hey, they can even be misspelled. No one is going to see them but you. If you write something you want to make sure no one sees, you can rip the page out and destroy it. There is something healing about getting something onto paper so it is not stuck inside you.
Questions to allow you to become aware of who you are in this present moment.
Awareness is great when you want to grow as a person because it enables you to pay attention to all things going on within you and around you that you may not normally notice. Early life can have a huge impact on how we react to things in the future. So, being aware of the past can help you be more present in your life, and more aware of yourself. This section of questions is for the purpose of increasing awareness of what is going on now in you and your life.
- What is something that made you sad this week?
- What is something that made you happy this week?
- If you could tell your younger self something what would it be?
- What is the emotion you feel most often?
- Why do you think that emotion is common for you?
- Is there anything you feel like you are struggling with? Is there anything you can do to make that thing feel less overwhelming? Can you ask for help? Or take it in steps?
- What is something you see beauty in that most people find ordinary?
- What is something you agree with people that is beautiful?
- Do you use social media to distract you from negative emotions??
- What is one of your biggest dreams?
- If you had a bucket list, what would be the first thing you wanted to do before you died?
- Are you scared of dying?
- Are you scared of living?
- If you could create the best friend for yourself who would they be and what ways would they support you?
- What is something you regret that happened to you but actually made you better in some way?
- What was it and how did it change you?
- What is a place you feel safe?
- Describe your comfort zone, and what gets you out of it?
- Who is depending on you? Did you know that one of those people is you?
- What is one thing you wish you could change?
- What is one thing you are grateful for?
- What have you have done this week to bring yourself peace?
- What is something you enjoy doing for others?
- What is one belief you have? List reasons why you have that belief.
- Is there something you need that you’ve been going without?
Questions that help you become more aware of your past, the ways you struggled and succeeded.
This section of questions is designed to help you get in touch with your past. There may be things you are not ready to deal with and that is okay, just skip those questions. A lot happens in childhood. This is where we are developed as a person, and the things that happen can shape us for the rest of our lives. Looking at different aspects of childhood can help you understand why you do certain things. It can also help you see things that still affect you, either in an unpleasant way or a pleasant way.
- What was one person who made you feel accepted or loved?
- What is one of your favorite childhood memories?
- What is one time you felt alone?
- If you could visit yourself as a child what kind of things would you say to yourself?
- What is something you feel powerless over?
- What healthy things have you done for yourself?
- What was your favorite holiday growing up, why?
- What is your favorite memory growing up?
- What is one thing you wish you could change from your childhood?
- If you could create best friends for yourself in your childhood, who would they be? What would they do?
- When you were a child, did you ever feel like you had to grow up too soon?
- Is there anything you need to forgive yourself for?
- Did you ever visit a place you never wanted to leave? Describe how you felt there?
- What was your favorite treat?
- What was your style growing up?
- Did your style ever change?
- What did you want to be when you grow up?
- Was there ever something you promised yourself you’d never forget?
- Can you remember a time that you laughed until you almost peed your pants? What was so funny? Who was there?
- What kinds of things did you like to do as a child?
- Was there something you could not go to bed without as a child?
- Did you have a childhood pet?
- Did you ever play with neighborhood kids or school friends?
- What was one of your childhood fears?
- How did you overcome that fear?
Questions that help you to become aware of your dreams and desires.
Being honest with yourself and thinking ahead can help you in your personal development. These questions are future-based. Goal Setting is important, but it can be difficult to set goals without awareness of your desires. This section of questions is designed to help you get a clear picture of what you would like to accomplish and what your dreams are.
- What would you need to accomplish to feel successful?
- Do you feel disappointed in yourself for not accomplishing this already?
- What would it look like to give yourself grace?
- Do you have a fear of being successful?
- Do you have a fear of failure?
- When you think of pursuing something you desire, what is the worst thing that could happen?
- How could you overcome that worst-case scenario?
- What is the thing you worry about most for your future?
- What emotions does that bring up for you?
- When was the last time you were excited or worried about something?
- When you think about your dreams what is your favorite one?
- Describe this dream, who is there, and what happens?
- What is something you could do now to make tomorrow easier for you?
- If you could then what would you tell your future self?
- If you couldn’t live out your biggest dream then what would be the next thing you would love to do?
- Do your past accomplishments give you the confidence you need to accomplish things in the future?
- What is one way you have proven to yourself that you can do hard things?
- What are the thoughts and feelings that come up when you think about the things you may not accomplish?
- Do you worry more for your future or someone else's future?
- If your future is going to have happiness then can that still happen if there is also heartache?
- Do you trust God with your future?
- What new ideas might you have in the years to come?
- If you were to overcome fears you have now how might that free you tomorrow?
- Does the fact that God knows all that will happen in your life comfort you?
Is Journaling Healing?
Journaling has therapeutic benefits and can become a private space for you to process things. You may write about your own experience and desires you have or even anxious thoughts you have towards difficult days. Stress in life can cause us to detach from ourselves and those we love. When creative expression becomes a part of your morning routine or just your daily routine, you will see a positive change. This can help you through a tough time or help be excited about good things. When you choose to look at specific situations then you are able to process the event and your reaction better.
There are silver linings if you are willing to look for them. So have those difficult emotions and cry those happy tears, they're there whether you like it or not. Journaling is a valuable practice to learn and a great way to become a part of your own support system. Journaling can become a part of your journey to strength and wisdom. Time to start writing!
Make Your Own List of Questions or Prompts
Don’t like these questions? Make your own. You can look at the journal entries you have written before and see if there is a theme, or you can write about things that you typically dwell on. This could be a situation that keeps coming up or feeling like you're having a hard time dealing with it. Next, think of things you can ask yourself to try and get to the root of the problem. How many times have you experienced this before? What were the other times in your life you felt this exact same way?
I am not a therapist, and the contents of this website is not meant to be therapy. When dealing with trauma it can be best to work with a licensed therapist. Sometimes working through childhood memories and anxiety can cause more harm then good when trying to do it alone. If you think you may have past trauma to work through or feel anxiety or depression then working with a therapist can help you recover.