99 Journal Prompts for Mental Health

woman journaling

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One way to deal with our cascading emotions after a long day is by writing it all out. Inquisitively-designed journal prompts for mental health will help. That’s because prompts, specifically designed for mental health, can help you best process your thoughts and emotions in an intentional way.  

According to an article published by the University of Rochester Medical Center, journaling can help you manage anxiety, reduce stress, and cope with depression. Journaling can help you gain control of your emotions and improve your mental health.   

Let’s face it; dealing with our mental health all alone can be overwhelming. However, it becomes even more complicated when we don’t devise a let-out for the emotions we can hardly make sense of. 

One example is staying indoors while experiencing mood swings, a symptom of depression. You just want to think with your emotions, hoping the emotions will soon fade. The thing is, they likely won’t.

Here is why:

Have you ever heard of sunny deposition? Researchers at Brigham Young University found that people become more distressed in seasons like Winter with little sun exposure. 

Just like feeling the sun rays caress your skin to help you manage your depression, writing out your emotions using mental health journal prompts helps you let go of your emotions. 

Now, let’s cover some facts to help us best understand how journaling and journal prompts can help us manage our mental health.

What is Mental Health?

The World Health Organization (WHO) defines mental health succinctly; “mental health is a state of well-being in which an individual realizes his or her abilities, can cope with the normal stresses of life, can work productively, and can make a contribution to his or her community.” 

To further simplify WHO’s definition of mental health, we can say mental health is a state where an individual can function well mentally in whatever situation or circumstance they find themself. 

You see, mental health encompasses our psychological self. This includes our cognitive, emotional, and behavioral well-being. This shows that our mental health could extend beyond our minds but how we act. It is one of the major triggers for how we act. 

Basically, your mental health affects how you feel, think, and behave. When these three are in disarray, we can refer to it as either a mental disorder or mental illness.

What is Journaling?

Journaling, on the other hand, is expressing your thoughts in words or symbols using a journal. This involves writing short sentences or making quick notes about certain aspects of yourself that you’d rather not say.

These parts of us are often responsible for how we feel, relate, and deal with societal pressure. Journaling gives us a chance to face them and perhaps have a conversation with them.  

With journaling, you’ll be able to process your emotions more positively. Ultimately, journaling will help you channel both your positive and negative feelings into an outlet.

Additionally, journaling for mental health is an effective way of dialoguing with yourself because it helps you explore your thoughts and feelings. This exercise is one of the most effective ways to improve mental wellbeing.

Your journal could be digital or even a paper notepad that you can choose to keep private. As long as you have blank sheets to pen down your thoughts or the day’s and week’s event, that becomes your journal.

How Is Journaling Good for Mental Health?

Research carried out by Koopman, Ismailji, Holmes, Classen, Palesh, & Wales (2005) show that writing expressively (a form of journaling) may help reduce symptoms of depression in women. That is women who are finding it challenging to deal with the aftermath of intimate partner violence. 

Another group of researchers, Stice, Burton, Bearman, & Rohde (2006), found that writing a journal could be as effective as cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) for helping high-risk adolescents reduce symptoms of depression.  

Now, besides providing a window to let out your emotions, journaling works like magic for mental health (I know, we are not in Camelot, but…) By writing your thoughts down using journal prompts for mental health, you get to:

  • Recognize triggers by revisiting your journal entries. 
  • What’s more, the act of writing out your emotions can help you control them, thus improving your mood.
  • Also, since journaling may seem tasking for some, the activity shows you are prioritizing your mental health. This situation comes with a lot of benefits. 

Dr. Nikole Benders-Hadi, a board-certified adult psychiatrist, connects a “healthier and happier life” with our mental health. And we can start by prioritizing our mental health. Through journaling, we prioritize our mental health towards a healthier and happier life.

Do You Need Prompts to Journal for Mental Health?

Journaling does so much good to our mental health. But the question is, do you really need the prompts I will share with you? The truth is, you don’t necessarily actually need journal prompts for mental health. You can easily pick up a journal or open a note app on your phone and begin writing. 

Without journal prompts, however, you may find it challenging to express yourself in ways that it will help you process thoughts and emotions.

If you want to create an insightful journal entry where you can easily pinpoint your triggers, specially designed prompts for mental health are helpful. 

Besides every other reason I have outlined why you need journal prompts for mental health, the most important is that it motivates you to work on your psychological aspect of yourself.

How Will the Journal Prompt for Mental Help with Self-discovery?

Recall how I mentioned how journaling helps you spot triggers. This is self-awareness. And self-awareness is an excellent technique to discover parts of you. 

With every bit of insight you gain about yourself, you can begin to hold yourself responsible and monitor your mental health.

Now, let’s get down to the business of writing how exactly we feel. 

99 Journaling Prompts to Help You Improve on Your Well-Being

Let’s look at 99 journaling prompts that will help you kick-start your journey to better mental well-being. 

Journal Prompts to Start Your Journey on a Clean Slate

These journal prompts for mental health will help you lay it all out, providing a clean slate for you to take on your day head-on. 

  1. Who has given you a reason to smile in the past few days? Write a bit about them and how they make you smile.
  2. Write a short poem to your future self. The poem should describe where you hope you’ll be in some years’ time. 
  3. Write a letter to someone who has hurt you. Include things you never told them, but you wished you could.
  4. Write a letter expressing why you forgive yourself for a past mistake. 
  5. Write a letter to someone who hurt you letting them know you forgive them. 
  6. Write something short about your strengths and how they can help you use them to your advantage. 
  7. Write a one stanza poem about your mood. While writing, reflect on what happened that made you feel that way. 
  8. What gives you more energy? Think of ways you can add them to your life. 
  9. Write between five and ten things that make you feel anxious.
  10. Write at least ten things that you can control. 
  11. Write at least five things that you can’t control. 
  12. Write at least five actions that you can take this week that will make you feel joyful.
  13. Imagine what your life will be like when every challenge you’re facing at the moment is gone. 
  14. Think about the past five years of your life. What progress have you made? What can you change or do differently to be where you wish to be?
  15. Write a short message to yourself about your bad days. 
  16. Write a short note about how you feel about your body.
  17. Describe your emotions with as many words as you can. 
  18. Describe one of your most passionate goals
  19. Make a list of your coping mechanisms 
  20. Describe who you were five to ten years ago. 
  21. Write a short story about a fictional character that goes through your circumstances and how they manage to overcome them. 
  22. Describe what love means to you and how best you can show it.
  23. Describe your greatest yearnings and wishes. 
  24. Write a poem about the warmest memories of your childhood. Title it “Nostalgia.” 
  25. Write about your current state of mind. For example, do you feel weird, angry, lazy, or anxious? 

Journal Prompts to Say Thank You to You

You need a break. Your mental self needs a break even though you may not see it physically. So cut yourself some slack and say acknowledge your gifts today, however subtle it may seem. 

Expressing gratitude is an excellent way to boost your mood, decreasing the risk of depression automatically serving as an anti-stress medication. So Come on, give it a try!

  1. Do an audio recording of you mentioning at least 20 things you’re grateful to have. Tag this as “List 1.”
  2. Take the number 5 on the list and write about how grateful you are for that in particular.
  3. Search deep down, what difference has your number 5 made in your life. Be positive.
  4. Now, make a list of the things you wished for but never got. Tag this as “List 2.”
  5. What you will do now is compare List 1 and 2. Which of these memories would you want to keep? Again, be realistic and fair as much as you can.
  6. Take a long hard look at the mirror of yourself. Forget what someone has said to you previously about how you look. Instead, be objective. What do you think of the face that stared back at you?
  7. Remind yourself of the best compliment you’ve ever gotten.
  8. Who are you most grateful to have in your life? What is their name? What have they done?
  9. What satisfies you the most about waking up in the morning? Write about it.
  10. What aspect of nature thrills you the most? Is it the sunrise, flora and fauna, the wind, animals, or the sea waves? Express your feeling of this aspect of nature in a fourteen-line poem. 
  11. Write five things that, if you saw happen, you’d be most grateful. 
  12. Write five things you usually experience that easily cause you to show gratitude. 
  13. Write down the challenges and circumstances that you’ve faced that shaped who you are.
  14. What’s your biggest failure, and how did you handle it?
  15. What do you appreciate most about each day? First, think of everything you see each day: the challenges, mistakes you make, the people you see that make things challenging. Then, think about how you manage to get through each day.

Journal Prompts for Depression

Depression is associated with elevation or lowering of someone’s mood. Journaling can help you shift your frame of mind, thus managing depression. These mental health journal prompts can give you a head start. So grab a pen and paper – virtually or physically, any would do.

  1. Do you think your emotions define your actions?
  2. Ask yourself this: should they? Should these emotions have that power?
  3. Why should they, or why shouldn’t these emotions have such power over you? Please, provide detailed and objective responses.
  4. Whatever you have done, do you think it’s logical? Yes, mental health is more emotional than rational, but sometimes we have to invite the latter.
  5. What do you think about when you are down?
  6. When do you think about when you are over the moon?
  7. Describe the difference between these moods.
  8. Describe the things you can see at the moment. Focus on just the things and not people. It could be the items in your bedroom, living room, or outside your house or office. 
  9. Look outside your window and observe one or two people out there (their mood, state of mind, appearance, etc.). Then, write what you think about them based on your observation. A few lines will do.
  10. Write about any healthy food or drink food that quickly affects your mood positively.
  11. Look around your room or your office. Think of how you might want to reorganize the things there. You may not have to reorganize it per se, especially if you’ve just recently done that, but write about a new arrangement and positional placements of furniture and other items in your room or office space that you might consider doing in the future.
  12. Draw an emoji that shows how you feel right now. 
  13. Describe an animal you know that often looks like what you’re feeling at the moment. 
  14. Write about the things you’re feeling right now. What thoughts are in your mind? Use single words to describe each of these feelings. 
  15. Compose a paragraph about why you feel the way you do right now. It could be a one or two-sentence paragraph.
  16. Think about this: do you really want to be like this? Feel this way?
  17. Now, write out what you prefer to do instead and why.

Journal Prompts for Anxiety

The Anxiety and Depression Association of America reports that anxiety affects roughly 40 million American adults every year. Anxiety isn’t only that feeling of nervousness or restlessness. It is both and more. Anxiety could extend to the intrusive thoughts that destabilize our day. Use this journal prompts for mental health to help you better deal with those feelings of uneasiness.

  1. Tell me, how exactly do you feel now? Yes, you are anxious. Describe the feeling in detail.
  2. Can you tell why you feel restless?
  3. If yes, describe the reason in 3-5 sentences.
  4. Take a long look at what you have written down any other day. Do you think such a situation would make you frantic?
  5. Why or why not? Please, provide explicit responses.
  6. If you can’t tell why you feel restless, dig deep and write down a similar experience.
  7. Compare what you have written down now with how you feel. Can you spot a trigger?
  8. Does the trigger have anything to do with your incapabilities?
  9. Write about some of the things that made you anxious in the past, but you now have realized they aren’t worth making you feel worried or uncomfortable.
  10. Analyze this journal entry with the number 59 on this list. Can you see a pattern? 
  11. Was the situation out of your hand?
  12. Could there have been anything tangible you could do to mitigate the result?
  13. Are you even 100% capable of providing that?
  14. Now, ask yourself this, considering what you’ve discovered, should you really, really be worried?

Journal Prompts for Trauma

Our traumas play a pivotal role in determining our mental stability. For some people, past and current trauma break them. For you, it will make you. Take that step towards this result using these mental health journal prompts.

  1. Are you hurt, or do you feel broken? Acknowledgment is the first step to recovery from our traumas.
  2. Why do you feel hurt or broken? Kindly describe situations without using hurtful words neither directed at you or anyone.
  3. Who or what is behind this event?
  4. How do you feel about this individual?
  5. Take a step back and ask yourself, does this individual know how you feel now?
  6. So, why live your life based on what has happened when half the people involved have forgotten about it? 
  7. Do you think any of what happened was your fault?
  8. Why do you feel that way?
  9. Write exactly what happened that made you feel it was your doing. I want actions, statements that actually point to you being at fault, not feelings or what you thought.
  10. Read what you wrote and write down what you could have done differently?
  11. Now, answer this: would you or even anyone have been able to do anything differently in that state? Please, be very objective.
  12. Now, Yes or No, was your traumatic experience your fault? Yes, you should be responsible for your actions, but there are situations where we blame ourselves unnecessarily.
  13. If the answer is yes, write down why you feel so. It shouldn’t be a repetition of what you’ve said before. Provide more reasons
  14. If it’s no, write down why you feel so also. Again, provide more reasons for this.
  15. Besides the pain, what other emotions do you feel?
  16. I need you to juxtapose these emotions to the events that trigger them. Do they fit? Should you really be mad, afraid, or sad?
  17. If yes, why?

Now, take a 10-minutes break before you continue.

  1. What do you need now to help you deal with your emotions?
  2. Right now, do you feel you are stronger compared to those that had a traumatic experience?
  3. Describe this difference.
  4. Do you think you can let go? Why or why not?
  5. Does it make any difference in your life right now if you don’t let go?
  6. If you think it does, describe this difference.
  7. Now, from 1-10, how realistic is this difference?
  8. With that, make a list of the people that your actions have hurt. Think deep about this. Half the time, you may not notice how your words and actions affect other people. However, you can tell from how they interact with you afterward.
  9. Do these people deserve the words you throw at them?
  10. For each person, make a list of how you intend to repair your relationship.
  11. Right now, describe how you feel after you have responded to the previous journal prompts for trauma.


The Bottom Line

Mental health can affect our productivity. Our emotions and feelings, I mean, our mental wellbeing, can affect the way we approach our relationships and how well we generally function at work, at school, or home. 

This journal prompts for mental health can improve our interactions and keep us afloat and not held down by emotions. So, give it a try for yourself today, tomorrow, and for your loved ones.