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50+ Best Therapeutic Journal Writing Prompts for Mental Health

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Journal therapy involves the therapeutic use of a journaling practice to bring about awareness and improve mental health. The biggest difference in therapeutic journaling from just keeping a personal journal is therapeutic journaling focuses more on thoughts, feelings, and insights.

By being intentional about your writing, you can identify areas where you are struggling and start implementing change, whether you struggle with mental health conditions such as anxiety, depression, or even just the use of cognitive distortions .

The therapeutic benefits of keeping a mental health journal can be endless.

Here are 7 therapeutic benefits of keeping a mental health journal [affiliate].

As well as 53 journal prompts that will help get you started, so you hopefully do not find yourself staring at a blank page trying to figure out where to start.


Mental clarity through journaling

Especially as we get older, time tends to fly right past us. And sometimes, it feels like it is flying by so quickly that we barely get a chance to process it. Before the next barrage of thoughts and feelings show up. And this is where journaling can come in. 

Pretty mental health journal

Journaling helps us slow down for a few minutes to get some clarity in our lives. Because sometimes, we find ourselves trapped in patterns of thoughts and behaviors that do not make much sense to us. At least at the time. By keeping a journal, we can get some clarity in our lives and identify those thoughts, feelings, and patterns. 

That without journaling, we might not have been able to identify. With journaling, we can get a different perspective on our thoughts, feelings, and behaviors and a chance to learn from them. What inspires and motivates us. And what we shy away from out of discomfort or fear. 

Journaling offers the opportunity to observe our lives from a third-party perspective and track our decision-making processes and the consequences of those decisions. So hopefully, over time, we can make new or better decisions.     

Patterns in thoughts and feelings

Do you ever find yourself engaging in patterns of thoughts and feelings? While journaling helps us build a stronger connection with our thoughts and feelings. By offering a space where you can write openly and honestly. And helps us to sort through why we are thinking and feeling how we are thinking and feeling. 

So, while the pages of your journal give you the space to write openly and honestly, it should not become the place where you spiral into hopeless despair, sometimes also referred to as the rabbit hole. 

Finding self-love through positive self-talk – ­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­Internal Dialogue that keeps you Stuck

Instead, the purpose of a journal should be a place where you can reflect on the patterns that emerge. And either uncover where they are coming from or form a plan to address or challenge those thoughts and feelings moving forward.    

How you talk to yourself about yourself (the inner critic)

We all experience internal thoughts and have some form of internal dialogue. Some people have a fairly healthy internal dialogue, and for others, they have an unhealthy internal dialogue. Some folks are pretty aware of their internal dialogue, and others are not. Whether you are fairly aware or unaware, journaling can help you gain better awareness. 

17 Common Cognitive Distortions

The way we talk to ourselves influences our levels of happiness and success. But, unfortunately, it also influences our levels of unhappiness and lack of success. Your internal dialogue can be your greatest enemy or your most powerful ally, depending on how you use it. You can’t control every thought that comes into your head because we have automatic thoughts. These are the thoughts that come unbidden and suddenly pop up. However, you can control your second thought and all of the thoughts that come after it. 

11 Powerful Growth Mindset Journal Prompts (Limiting Beliefs & Inner Critic)

Journaling can be the space that you need to record your automatic thoughts. This can help you create an awareness of how you talk to yourself and even the tones you talk to yourself. 

Journaling can also be a safe space where you can begin to make changes in your internal dialogue and tone. At the very least, you can begin to recognize when you have an unhelpful automatic thought and begin to change how you are thinking consciously. 

Journaling creates the space and opportunity to intentionally change how you think by getting those thoughts on paper. It offers you the distance and the perspective that you need to look at these thoughts, written by your own hand and in your own words. 

Self-talk is far too powerful to be lazy with. And with journaling, you can perhaps gain the awareness that you need to consciously take control over how you talk to yourself about yourself.       


Helps you visualize the changes you want to make

Journaling provides an outlet and helps you visualize where you want to go. One of the many benefits of journaling is it gives you an outlet for your thoughts and emotions. In addition, journaling provides you with space where you can express yourself honestly. 

You can begin to break down the things you are struggling with into smaller pieces that feel less overwhelming; journaling offers an efficient solution, problem-solving.

By reading over previous journal entries, you may begin to see a pattern emerge. This pattern can be a great way to discover where you need to implement changes, even if they are just little things or small new habits that create change.    

Your small wins, insight, and inspiration

As a mental health therapist, I see folks struggle with this all the time. I have folks that come to me each week with a laundry list of all the things that didn’t go right since the previous week. This then becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy. 

If you are walking around with an unhealthy internal dialogue and are only acknowledging (consciously or unconsciously) the negatives in your life, you are almost setting things up to guarantee a fail. But, on the other hand, when you focus exclusively on the negatives, it becomes a way to support your hypothesis and internal dialogue. 

So if your hypothesis and internal dialogue are “I’m a failure,” and all of your focus is on the things that are not going right or going well. There is almost a satisfaction in finding evidence to support your hypothesis and internal dialogue. 

Dangers of Perfectionism vs. Excellence (Overwhelming Anxiety vs. Healthy Striving)

Because out of all the things in life that we cannot control, at least you feel that you can control this. The hypothesis and internal dialogue of “I’m a failure” becomes the one area of your life you feel you can control. 

But by journaling about your small wins, insights, and moments of inspiration, you can begin to challenge your hypothesis and internal dialogue. By focusing on the wins, insights, and inspirations, you begin to shift your negative mood states and cognitions. By making this shift, you can begin to move towards whatever your goals or aspirations are.         

Self-reflection a new perspective

Through journaling, you can begin to do some self-reflective work. You can identify your beliefs, morals, and values. And you can also begin to identify your limiting beliefs too. So often, our “I can’t… because I’m not…” statements that we say to ourselves keep us stuck. 

By using a journal as a space for self-reflection, you can begin to discover where your beliefs, morals, and values, as well as your limiting beliefs, come from. We often inherit these things from our primary caregivers, and they are passed down through the generations. And through journaling, you can begin to discover where you have learned these things, especially when it comes to the limiting beliefs that we so often want to change. 

And it is through moments of self-reflection, we can gain the perspectives that we need to decide if we want to change something that we have held onto. So through the act of journaling, you can begin to recognize the themes that are coming up for you. And through journaling, you can reflect on what you want to change to have the life you want to have.   

101 Self-Care Journaling Prompts for better Mental Health.

Your personal growth

Have you ever stopped and looked at your life and wondered how you got to where you are? Life happens so quickly that we rarely get the opportunity to stop and reflect on our life. We rarely stop to contemplate how far we have come. So often feel like we are chasing (a potentially unknown) destination, and we don’t know how we have gotten here. And journaling gives us an amazing gift. It tracks your personal growth and the decisions that have led you to where you are now. 

But what if you are at a destination you don’t want to be at or remain at longer than necessary? This is another gift that journaling offers you. The opportunity to look back at your decisions and make new different decisions. It makes me think of a fairly common saying.  You don’t know what you don’t know. 

And if you find yourself in a part of your life and don’t know how you have gotten there, this is where journaling can come in handy. Whether you have entries that you can refer back to, or if you’re starting with journaling, you can begin to discover and document the things that you didn’t know. 

How to Love Yourself: 27 Self-Love tips from a Therapist

Human beings, for the most part, are pleasure-seeking creatures. Therefore, we tend to avoid things that cause us pain or discomfort or what we think will cause increased pain or discomfort. 

So we choose the lesser of the two. But sometimes, to experience personal growth, we have to lean into the discomfort. And sometimes, we have to read and reread our stories to find those opportunities for personal growth.     

Here is a list of 56 journaling prompts for therapeutic journaling. I have broken down this list of journal prompts into categories to help get you started.


10 Therapeutic journaling prompts for a bad day


28 Therapeutic journaling prompts for self-reflection


18 Therapeutic journaling prompts for self-care

Final Thoughts

While therapeutic journaling has many benefits and is a positive way to help improve your emotional state. It may not be beneficial to process through traumatic experiences or significant mental illness on your own. And would be best used in conjunction with seeing a licensed mental health professional.

If you’re interested in starting therapy and would like to do it from the comfort of your own home, then take a look at , and if you use my link [affiliate link].  You’ll receive a 20% discount on your first month  at no additional cost to you.

I have been affiliated with online therapy platforms for over a year now and have had the privilege to work with a lot of folks on various life struggles. That without the ease of online platforms might not have ever reached out for help.

So if you’re struggling and feel that therapy would be helpful, then I encourage you to give it a try. Because who knows where you might be in a few months down the road. And I’m guessing if you’re reading this article it’s because you’re not where you want to be.

How to protect yourself from [Emotional] Vampires

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The Benefits of Journal Writing for Mental Health - man journaling while standing in the city

The Benefits of Journal Writing for Mental Health

This blog post was written by Kristen Peairs, Nutritionist and Meditation Guru at Nivati. You can see more of their content on the Nivati platform and on the Nivati blog. If you want to learn more about Nivati, click here .

“Get it out of your head and onto the page” are words I say both to myself and my clients when the details of living a busy life are too much. The value of taking a moment to transfer the backlogged mental information onto paper is huge. This one simple act can be all that is needed to initiate a return to calm and focus.

Even though journaling was being used and studied in depth [KP1] by depth psychologist Ira Progoff as early as the 1960s, journal writing for mental health was not widely recognized until the mid-1980s, when in 1986, James Pennebaker, a social psychologist, ran his first experiment involving journaling. Over the course of four days, he asked one group of study participants to write continuously for fifteen minutes about their thoughts and feelings regarding the most traumatic experiences of their lives. A second group of participants was then requested to write about superficial things for fifteen continuous minutes. Pennebaker found that the group who wrote about their traumatic experiences had fewer visits to the health clinic in the months after the study. This one study has inspired hundreds of follow-up studies, research papers, and books.

It has since been repeatedly affirmed that the benefits of journal writing for mental health include the following:

- Reduced anxiety

- Decreased brooding

- Increased self-awareness,

- Greater ease with emotional regulation

- Faster physical healing

Writing down the events of life is called journaling. Writing down thoughts and feelings about those events is also called journaling. It turns out that there are many different types of journaling, and no one type is right for everyone.

Growing up, I thought that journaling was just writing down the things I did each day. Talk about boring! I saw no point in the activity, and so I didn’t stick with it. In my early twenties, I tried journaling again. This time, I used it to record what I was learning and what I thought about it. This type of journaling was more interesting. I found that my learning curve increased when I processed using writing. I now know that this type of journaling is called reflective journaling.

Reflective Journaling

Reflective journaling is a type of journaling commonly used to support people interested in increasing self-awareness through examining their thoughts, beliefs, and actions related to specific life and/or work activities. It involves not only noting what is happening in the present, but also taking time to consider the past and how it is influencing the current experience. Many studies have explored its benefits, particularly in the genres of education and health care. In a study following psychiatric nursing graduate students, it was found that the students who participated in reflective journaling increased their self-awareness which helped them be more genuine with their patients. Some prompts to support a practice of reflective journaling include the following.

1. What happened?

2. How did you handle it?

3. How do you feel about what happened and how you handled it?

4. What beliefs and experiences from your life may have influenced your actions?

These are just a few prompts. The key point of reflective journaling is to take time to reflect on and process through feelings, thoughts, beliefs, and actions using writing. Reflective journaling helps increase self-awareness by encouraging us to make links between past and present while offering opportunities to consider new possibilities for the future.

Expressive Journaling

Another type of journaling is called expressive journaling. Expressive journaling is when we document something that has happened and then write down our thoughts and feelings about it. Unlike reflective journaling, it doesn’t require dipping into the past to make links between then and now. Although, it might, at times, include those types of insights. With expressive journaling, the whole point of the exercise is simply to write.

Writing is sometimes all that is needed. By my early thirties, I found myself using expressive journaling almost exclusively. I had lots of thoughts and feelings, and just needed to get them out of my head. It became a habit for me to journal whenever I felt my anxiety increasing. I noticed that once I had written for fifteen to thirty minutes, I would feel more calm, focused, and able to continue with my day.

Expressive journaling is the type of journaling that Pennebaker used with his test subjects. In the years after his original study, he discovered that the people who benefited most from expressive writing were the ones who learned how to explore their experiences from multiple perspectives.

During one writing session, the person would explore the situation from their own perspective. Then, during a follow-up writing session, they would explore the situation from the perspective of the observer, the adversary, or another person who was present. This activated additional awareness that resulted in more mental ease.

Some prompts for expressive journaling include the following.

1. What are your thoughts and feelings about your life right now?

2. What are your thoughts and feelings about a traumatic experience in your life?

3. Share about a time in your life when you felt your best.

Remember, with expressive journaling, it’s okay to simply start writing. Write about what is on your mind. Write about whatever wants to be expressed in the moment. If words don’t feel right, then draw. If drawing doesn’t feel right, then pull out some markers and color. It all counts as journaling.

At this point, you may be wondering how to journal for better mental health. How does one get started in this kind of practice? Below are my top tips for journaling for better mental health.

How to Journal for Better Mental Health

1. Have a designated notebook or space to write in.

2. Set aside at least fifteen minutes for your journaling practice.

3. Before beginning, center yourself by relaxing your eyes and slowly inhaling and exhaling three times.

4. Write by hand rather than typing. Writing by hand activates different areas of your brain and allows for spontaneous expression through colors or doodles. If typing is the only way you’re going to journal, though, then by all means, type!

5. Refrain from worrying about punctuation, grammar, or sentence structure.

6. Experiment with writing about the same subject from different perspectives.

7. Start by writing about what’s interesting and/or meaningful for you.

Finally, people often want to know how frequently they should journal. Journaling every day is my personal preference. However, journaling once a week or even once a month still provides great benefit. If you find that journaling is supportive and want to know more about this subject, check out these resources.

Intensive Journal Program: Experience the Intensive Journal™ Method at our workshops

Expressive Writing | Psychology Today

By participating in/reading the service/website/blog/email series on this website, you acknowledge that this is a personal website/blog and is for informational purposes and should not be seen as mental health care advice. You should consult with a licensed professional before you rely on this website/blog’s information. All things written on this website should not be seen as therapy treatment and should not take the place of therapy or any other health care or mental health advice. Always seek the advice of a mental health care professional or physician. The content on this blog is not meant to and does not substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment.

Kristen Peairs

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50 Therapeutic Journal Prompts for Mental Health

Updated on June 5, 2018 By KrissyCross 5 Comments

If you’ve ever struggled with stress or any form of a mental health issue, you may have found how helpful it can be to keep a journal. Getting things off of your chest/mind and onto paper can help us not only face what we are dealing with but also provide a means of self-expression.

Here are some therapeutic journal prompts for mental health:

journal writing mental health

Keeping a journal can be a great way to manage your mental health. You can explore your deepest emotions and identify healthy means to deal with your feelings.

I hope these prompts can help you get your feelings onto paper and release the negative emotions from your mind. 🙂

Keep track of your emotions & keep moving forward.

Much Love. 

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My name is Sarah. I suffer from a mental illness myself and I also have a blog called Mental Illness Sucks. I love all your ideas for journal entries. You have put together your blog well. Thank you for sharing.


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I know this article is from like 3 years ago, but I’ve wanted to try some journalling and I felt like I needed some prompts so here I am. I just did my first journal with a random prompt of yours and it was truly therapeutic. I didn’t know how badly I just need to dump my thoughts onto a page. And confronting my feelings and thoughts in this way is overwhelming. I sat there typing on my computer just crying, a cry that I’ve needed to release for a while. So thank you, I wanted you to know that you helped at least one person with this article.

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Hi yall, I am Lilly, I am 18 and I suffer from depression and bipolar disorder. I love all the ideas for journal prompts. Thank you for sharing!

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my name is kyla, and i’m 14. i suffer from ptsd, depression, and anxiety. recently i decided to start a journal on my mental health. most times, i don’t like sharing how i feel, so i keep to myself. starting this journal is allowing me to spill my guts on how i feel, so i don’t keep it to myself. thank you for all of these prompts. they really have helped me recently 🙂 to anyone who might be reading this, make sure you eat, drink, and take care of yourself. love yourself. find yourself. whatever you might be going through is just an obstacle to help you get stronger. i believe in you all !!

thank you again!

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Thank you for sharing these insights 🙏🏾

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Top +100 Journal Prompts For Mental Health [+Free PDF Printable!]

Journal Prompts For Mental Health

Why do you need to use journal prompts for mental health support?

Many of us have learned to swallow our pain.

Practicing journal writing consistently will help undo the self-censorship habit.

A journal is a safe place for you to work through your feelings, without judgments or criticism.

It can serve as a confidant and guide.

Research shows that expressing your feelings on paper helps reduce your stress levels.

You start exploring your feelings by writing them in your journal. It may be the pain of disappointment, loss, grief – anything that hurts you.

Writing about your pain may bring tears. This is a sign that you’ve hit a turning point and that continuing to write will help you open your heart and heal your wounds. ( * )

Other benefits of journaling include:

Best FREE Journaling Apps

#1. journaling prompts for self-awareness, #2. journaling prompts to find your purpose, #3. journaling prompts for self-growth, #4. journaling prompts for emotional health, #5. journaling prompts for mindfulness, #6. journaling prompts for self-love.

#8. Journaling Prompts for Relationships

#9. journaling prompts for finances, #10. bullet journal, get free +100 mental health journal prompts pdf.

This app is ideal if you want to keep track of your life by logging your mood and daily activities. 

The app offers an easy-to-use interface and an elegantly designed space for journaling. Day One also offers plenty of prompts for when you have no idea what to write about.


This app syncs across mobile and desktop, making it easy to organize and search your entries.

5.  Longwalks

The app offers thoughtful prompts that you can share on social media.

6.  Reflect

The app offers a mix of straightforward check-in questions (such as how are you feeling) and thoughtful prompts. It also provides intelligent reports on your strengths, values through methods drawn from solution-focused coaching, leadership development theories, CBT, and positive psychology.

Top +100 Journal Prompts For Mental Health (+Free PDF Download)

1. If you could talk to your younger self, you would say …

2. What is one of your strengths/weaknesses?

3. Where do you prefer to spend the most time? Why?

4. Where you wouldn’t like to spend your time? Why not?

5. What kind of people do you surround yourself with? Why do you spend time with them?

6. Who are your role models and why do you admire them?

7. Over the last few weeks, when have you felt most motivated, inspired, and in a state of absolute focus? What were you doing?

8. If you could be granted the power to change the world, what would you do?

9. What horrible experiences would you like to protect others from at all costs?

10. Who are you most grateful for in your life? Describe why.

11. What do you like or value about yourself?

Related: Raising low self-esteem: 18 Ways to Build High Self-Esteem

12. What do you do to take care of yourself physically?

13. How do you take care of yourself emotionally?

14. When you’re in pain — physical or emotional — the kindest thing you can do for yourself is…

Related: 45 Easy Self Care Day Ideas at Home for a Healthy Mind, Body & Soul

15. When times get tough you want to remember that …

Increase Your Self-Awareness Worksheets

16. Are you satisfied at work? What can you do to change your work life?

17. If you don’t see your work as meaningful to you, can you think of a different type of work that would feel more meaningful?

18. What, if any, are your spiritual beliefs?

Related: Listen to Your Inner Guidance: A Beginner’s Guide To Meditation

19. How do these beliefs impact the way you live your life?

20. Are you living a life that is compatible with your spirituality?

21. What changes can you make to your life to make it more compatible with your spiritual beliefs?

22. What makes you the angriest about things in the world?

23. Which organizations or charities do you, or would you, support?

24. What mentors or public figures do you respect or admire? Why?

25. Do you spend as much time helping others as you’d like?

26. How can you be more charitable with yourself?

27. Do you want to make changes based on these thoughts?

List of positive characteristics and values

Appreciation of others • Artistic ability • Awareness of environment • Assertiveness • Balance • Being part of a community • Being in a team • Capacity to change and develop • Chilling out • Collaborating with others • Connecting with people • Creativity • Excitement • Financial management • Family commitment • Freedom • Friendship • Fun • Generosity • Helping others • Honesty • Honour • Humour • Independence • Individuality • Intelligence • Integrity • Intimacy • Kindness • Learning from experience • Looking after myself • Love • Musical ability • Networking • Not taking myself too seriously • Organizational skills • Physical health • Physical fitness • Relaxed approach and attitude • Reliability • Religious lifestyle • Risk-taking • Self-awareness • Self-expression • Sensuality • Sexuality • Sharing • Solitude • Social conscience • Standing up for rights • Spirituality • Stability • Success • Understanding

Related: How to Find Your Purpose and Passion in Life?

28. What does creativity mean to you? Do you have ways in which you can express your creativity?

29. Are you satisfied with the place creativity has in your life? If not, how can you change that?

30. What value do you place on life-long learning?

31. Are you taking advantage of opportunities that evolve?

32. What do you want to do differently now that you’ve thought about learning?



33. Which emotions were okay and which were not okay in your family?

34. Were vulnerable emotions (like sadness, fear, or loneliness) expressed in your family? How were these kinds of emotions responded to?

35. What are some of your beliefs about negative and positive emotion now?

Related: Regulate Your Emotions: How To Manage and Control Your Difficult Emotions?

36. What messages did your parents or caregivers give you that formed the roots of your identity and self-esteem?

37. What happened when you made mistakes as a child? Were you encouraged to learn or were you treated as a failure?

38. What did people expect of you as a child? What happened when you met those expectations?

39. What messages did you get from your culture or media about success?

40. Are you particularly sensitive to certain comments from certain people?

Related: Building Self-Confidence: How To Gain Confidence Quickly And Improve Your Self-Esteem?

41. Do you consider yourself to be an assertive person?

42. In what situations do you find it difficult to say no, even when you know you should?

43. How did your parents respond when you said no to them as a child or teen?

44. What messages did you hear or learn from my early experiences about saying no?

45. How do you feel when you want to say no but end up saying yes?

Related: How to Overcome People Pleasing for Good?

46. How do you define boundaries? Try writing your own definition.

47. What’s holding you back from setting boundaries?

48. How will setting boundaries improve your mental and physical health?

49. How does it feel to acknowledge and accept that you can’t make people do what you want— even when you set boundaries?

Related: How to Firmly Establish and Enforce Healthy Emotional Boundaries?

50. In what ways or situations do you silence your own opinions, wants, or needs?

Emotions worksheets

51. Which emotions have you experienced throughout the day?

52. How do you feel in your body right now?

53. What event triggered the emotion (be specific)?

54. Can you solve or lessen the problem? Is there any action to take?

55. If there is nothing you can do but the problem is time-limited, how can you comfort or distract yourself?

56. When were you fully in the moment today?

57. If you let your thoughts wander, what memory comes to mind first?

58. What mundane daily ritual could you bring your full attention to, staying completely in the moment?

illustrations 72 Journal Prompts For Self-Discovery and Self Connection (6)

59. What do you usually do to fill your self-care cup?

60. How did you behave toward yourself when you were hurting? Were you able to provide nurturing and validation to yourself?

Related: Self-Love Journey: How to Start Loving Yourself?

61. What makes you feel safe physically when you are alone? With others?

62. What does your inner child most need to hear from you?

63. How can you be kinder to yourself?

64. What prevents you from loving yourself?

65. What do you need to feel at peace?

journal writing mental health

Shop: Mental Health Worksheets

Continue Reading Shop: Mental Health Worksheets

#7 . Journaling Prompts for Body-Image

66. How many times a day do you think about your appearance?

67. Do you like the way you look?

68. How important is appearance to you?

69. Is the appearance of your friends important to you?

70. Has your body image ever stopped you from doing something you love or trying something new?

71. Have you ever heard anyone you admire say something negative about their body?

72. What would you do if you didn’t think about your appearance?

73. What is one thing you can do today to challenge your negative thoughts about your body image?

related: 5 Steps To Overcome Body Dysmorphic Disorder (And Other Body Image Problems)

Body Image Worksheets

74. How do you show concern for the people you care about?

75. Do your close relationships help you or hurt you?

76. Are you doing anything to bring loved ones closer to you?

Related: How to Get More Affection from Your Relationships?

77. Do you see value in being close to your loved ones?

78. Are you comfortable reaching out to others with emotional needs? Why or why not?

79. How communicating your emotional needs can impact your relationship?

80. What would it be like to reach out with an emotional need?

81. What experiences have you had with telling people what you need?

82. Do you believe the idea that people can function more independently if they know their partner is accessible and responsive?

83. How do you and your partner emotionally support each other?

84. How can you make yourself more available to your partner?

85. How can you increase your empathy for your partner?

86. What feels risky about sharing your fears with your partner?

87. What reassurance do you need before you can start sharing more with your partner?

88. How do you react when your relationship is threatened? And how does your reaction impacts your partner?

89. How do you cope when your partner is upset?

90. What does your partner do that helps you feel safe?

Related: Building Intimacy: How to Get and Give More of it?

91. Do you have problems with overspending?

92. Are you saving for an emergency?

93. Do you have needs that aren’t being met financially?

94. Can you do something now or in the near future to help your situation?

95. Books you want to read this year

96. Home repairs to make

97. Daily affirmations

98. List of family/friends’ birthdays

99. Movies you want to stream

100. Healthy snacks list

101. Apps you love or apps to try

102. Project ideas

103. Things to do in your own city

Looking for more prompts? 200 Thought-Provoking Journaling Prompts (Printable)

Top +100 Journal Prompts For Mental Health (+Free PDF Download)

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journal writing mental health

Recovery Writing: Keeping a Journal Improves Your Mental Health


Mental health and physical health are of the utmost importance to people in addiction recovery. Anything you can do to boost your mental wellbeing and physical fitness will significantly improve your outlook on life. In recovery, a positive attitude changes everything.

Improving your physical health usually comes down to introducing exercise and a healthy diet into your schedule. If you completed an addiction treatment program, then you were probably advised to prioritize healthy living.

It’s likely that your counselors and clinicians shared with you the benefits of eating right and physical fitness. They probably explained that physical health and mental health are linked. Since people in early recovery are healing, they must do whatever they can to expedite the healing process.

Hopefully, you make a point of eating healthy foods and exercising three to five times a week. The latter does not require that you go to the gym; daily 30-minute walks can go a long way towards improving your fitness. Those who make fitness a priority feel better and thus are better able to maintain a positive attitude .

If you are working a program of recovery, then you know how vital it is to stay positive. Getting down on yourself or harboring negative emotions towards yourself and others will not benefit your recovery.

Naturally, there are several ways that you can bolster your mental health, aside from healthy living. Attending meetings, sharing, and working with a sponsor help to process your emotions productively. Such behaviors will help you manage and cope with stress in nondestructive ways.

There are also activities you can do at home that will aid you in achieving your goal of long-term recovery. Take journaling, for instance, those who journal benefit immensely from the practice.

Keeping a Journal in Recovery

Working a program of recovery teaches you ways of navigating the stressors of everyday life. Stress, as you well know, can derail your recovery if it is not managed in healthy ways. Coping with the obstacles of daily life is not easy for many people in early recovery. As such, men and women in sobriety must adopt practices that can aid in stress management.

You probably go to a meeting or call your sponsor when you are stressed out; bottling up negative emotions is detrimental. However, you may not always be able to catch a meeting or get a hold of a trusted peer. If you have a method for processing what is bothering you when you are alone, then you can keep stress from triggering you and prevent cravings from developing.

Journaling is an effective method of dealing with things that are bothering you. Those who journal are able to gain perspective and insight on how to navigate a challenging situation. What’s more, you do not have to be an excellent writer to benefit from writing, and there isn’t one way of journaling your thoughts.

Addicts and alcoholics in early recovery have many thoughts racing through their heads. They also are still contending with the wreckage of their past, which can lead to negative emotions and stress. Jotting down how you are feeling and the root of it can help you chart a course toward a more positive outlook.

It’s important to distinguish that journaling is not keeping a diary, which is good news for men who may feel like writing about your feelings is not a masculine activity. Many men in recovery journal every day, and it has no impact on masculinity. What’s more, journaling could be boosting their physical fitness.

Journaling Can Boost Your Immune System

F. Diane Barth, a psychotherapist in New York City, wrote a fascinating article on the subject of journaling for NBC Think recently. Barth discusses the myriad of benefits that can come from journaling. Besides boosting your mental health, Barth cites studies that indicate journaling may impact one’s physical health.

Barth, a licensed clinical social worker, points to two different studies that show that journaling is beneficial to the immune system. The belief is that journaling reduces stress, which boosts the immune system, therefore improving your physical health. Diane Barth writes:

The conclusions drawn by both studies were that daily writing about emotionally significant experiences can improve our immune system, probably in a way not totally different from exercise, which is by reducing the chemicals that stress releases in our bodies.

One study , published in JAMA , involved participants who are living with asthma or rheumatoid arthritis. The other study included HIV-infected patients.

As we pointed out above, journaling is helpful for any gender. Barth mentions in her piece that John D. Rockefeller, General George Patton, and Winston Churchill kept journals. It’s fair to say that all three men dealt with enormous amounts of stress at different points in their life.

At PACE, we encourage you to give journal-writing a try when next you feel stressed. If you are already keeping a daily journal, then keep it up as you continue to strengthen your recovery.

California Gender-Specific Mental Health and Addiction Treatment

Are you or a male loved one contending with a mental health disorder, alcohol or substance use disorder, or a co-occurring disorder? If so, please reach out to PACE Recovery Center to learn more about our various evidence-based programs for men. We can help you begin the journey of healing and provide you with the tools to achieve lasting recovery. Please call 800-526-1851 if you have any questions and to discuss treatment options.

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Copyright © 2023 PACE Recovery Center 20051 SW Birch St. Newport Beach, CA 92660

journal writing mental health

journal writing mental health

21 Journaling Prompts for Mental Health and Mindfulness

Use these journal prompts for mental health and mindfulness. when working on a project that’s important to you, it’s important to pay attention to your mental well being. without that, nothing else really matters..

This post contains some affiliate links for your convenience.   Click here to read my full disclosure policy.  

A journal can feel like a constant companion, someone you can vent to when feeling angry or upset.

When I first started journaling I found it easiest to write when I was angry about something. I’ve since learned to use my journal in a more balanced way and in this post I’ll share three weeks worth of mental health journal prompts to help you with mindfulness and mental health.

Some quick journal recommendations:

If you’re looking for more guided journal prompts to help you focus your mind and get clear on your goals, I recently found these Powersheets , which I am loving!  I’ve been looking for a journal to help guide me through my goals in a thoughtful way and these are perfect!  I highly recommend picking up a copy before they sell out (the last two years I was too late).

If you’are looking for a blank (dotted) journal, I recommend using the Scribbles That Matter Journal , which is what I use for my journaling.  For a detailed review, click here. 

Otherwise keep going and download a printable version of the journal prompts from this post that I made for you!

Using a Journal To Vent Frustrations

It’s completely fine to use your journal to vent your frustrations. In fact, go for it! It can help you think through your challenges and make good choices. It is better to get stuff down on paper and think it through than to blow up at someone and wreck a relationship!

I have found sitting down and mindfully thinking through situations with a journal has helped me to strategically deal with difficult people and situations. At times it has helped me to notice and change negative thought patterns that were getting in my way.

When I struggled with blogger burnout , I used my journal to help me figure out what was going on.  While venting about  my frustrations, I was able to see where I was going wrong so I could get back on track.  It can help to vent in your journal.  

That said, if you only use your journal for negative events, it starts to feel negative to use. It becomes a reminder for all things negative.  If you find yourself doing that, you may benefit from using self help writing prompts such as these to shift your mindset. 

Journaling for Mental Health and Mindfulness

(Disclaimer:  This post is not intended to treat mental illness but is instead an effort to help you be more mindful and aware in your everyday life.  If you are in need of mental health treatment, please contact a local mental health clinician)

The way you think changes your perspective and impacts your life substantially.  By focusing your mind on positive aspects of life you change your mood and experience better mental health.

When using journaling to get into the right mindset for business, focusing on what drives your passion can help you with things like finding your niche, figuring out what to write about, and being authentic.

Some days it’s harder to think positively than others. I’ve created three weeks worth of daily journaling prompts for mental health and self discovery to share with you. (I was going to create a month but if you’re like me, you’ll skip some days anyway haha).

The key is to write what comes to mind without judgment. Try not to censor what you write. You might just learn something about yourself and what makes you feel better!

I encourage you to set aside a few minutes each day to mindfully reflect on these questions.

Enter your name and email below for a printable version of these prompts on dotted paper:

Try to get away from distractions and just work on these questions for a few minutes. This will help you to experience the benefit of the questions. They can change your mood if you let them.

I hope you find these helpful!  I’ve also made a printable pdf version of these mindfulness journal prompts as bulleted journal pages.   Enter your email below to get it!  (Here is my favorite paper for printing bullet journal pages .  It’s fountain pen friendly!)

Sign up below to get a printable copy of these journal prompts sent to you in email

2 thoughts on “21 Journaling Prompts for Mental Health and Mindfulness”

Great idea! I love to journal and it gives me such a great outlet!

I 100% agree!

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