This article is going to outline 101 of the best therapy journal prompts. Journaling is a simple way to take a closer look at the inner workings of your heart, mind and soul. Additionally, I believe it is the most powerful tool you can do on your own to achieve more self awareness, emotional maturity and self healing. The therapeutic journal prompts listed in this article will help you find a starting point to begin self reflection. I have to warn you that this is not an easy task, but it is a worthwhile task. Journaling is a healthy way to create safe space as you navigate the deep waters of your heart!
Therapeutic Benefits of Journaling
There are so many benefits of starting your journaling journey! Journaling for healing is meant to focus on past traumatic experiences or present trauma, conflict or stressful events. Do you ever find yourself reliving an event in your mind over and over again? Maybe you see an old picture and the memories come flooding in. Do seemingly insignificant events cause strong emotions such as anger or sadness? These are all red flags that an old hurt may need more healing, more sorting, more understanding and awareness.
However, you can journal positive experiences as well. Getting into the habit of journaling your day-to-day life is a great way to increase personal growth and emotional intelligence. It can help us understand our internal thoughts, personal values and effective coping mechanisms. Many people (and I totally agree) believe journaling is an important way to practice a form of self-care. Additionally, journaling is a way we process our thoughts and emotions, which leads to better physical health and decreases mental health issues such as anxiety and depression. You can consider it a form of diy journal therapy.
Big Results with Journaling
Research shows that only 20 minutes a day leads to big results. More or less journaling is completely up to you. There’s no formula that must be followed, rather a general guideline for journaling. More on that to come. Find a quiet uninterrupted time and start writing. Don’t worry about spelling or grammar. Why: Journaling translates thoughts into language. It’s sorts and categorizes. The opportunity for self-reflection leads to understanding and self-awareness. Each time we approach the same event in our journaling it becomes more organized and clearer. As we explore our feelings we begin to see how it relates to our childhood and relationships. We can more easily recognize patterns we might want to change. As well as recognize patterns we want to establish. Self awareness leads to change.
List of Things to Journal
Therapy journal prompts (listed below) is a great starting point. As mentioned earlier, the focus of your journaling can be geared toward difficult situations your are face with and the negative emotions that accompany those situations. Many people find that past traumatic experiences (insignificant or important things) help them process those difficult emotions. It may include a letter of forgiveness as you reflect on past experiences. One of the greatest benefits of mental health journaling helps us sort our negative thoughts and gain new insights into ourselves.
Alternatively, we can journal about positive things such as our favorite memory, the good things and positive things happening in our lives. Maybe we can use journaling prompts to write a short expressive story. You don’t have to use journaling prompts- some find it easier to start with a blank page and just start brain dumping.
How to Get Started with Journal Writing
The best way to get started is to just do it! Grab a new journal that gets you looking forward to journaling. Begin practicing with short journal entries about the little things or daily life. It doesn’t have to be complicated. Just start!
List of Journal Prompts
Forgiveness is one of the most challenging thing we can do sometimes. It’s also a skill every single person in this world can benefit from. Take a look at these forgiveness therapy journal prompts to help you get started on this difficult topic, especially if you are having a tough time with it.
- How easily do I forgive others?
- What makes forgiveness challenging?
- Write a letter of forgiveness to someone who has hurt you in the past.
- When I think of how (name) hurt me, the feelings that come up are…
- The hardest part of forgiveness is…
- I don’t want or feel like offering forgiveness because…
- If I forgive, I fear they will think…
- Who do I need to seek forgiveness with?
- What do I need to forgive myself for?
- Write a letter of forgiveness to yourself for something that is in the past?
As we journal and get curious with ourselves, we naturally grow in self awareness. Consequently, as we grow in self awareness, our emotional maturity increases. Check out these therapy journal prompts to begin your journey of self discovery.
- What is my ideal day?
- What kind of person do I want to be?
- Who are my favorite people presently?
- Who has had the greatest negative/postive impact on my life? Why?
- How do I deal with disappointments in relationships?
- How do I communicate my feelings, thoughts and desires?
- What is it about myself that I tend to hold back?
- What do I attach my value/self worth to?
- What do I wish I did better or more?
- What is my response/reaction when I am offended?
- How do I handle a lack of appreciation from others?
It is a good idea to evaluate your ability to establish and maintain your boundaries with yourself and others in your life. Check out these great prompts to get to know the rules you set in your life.
- When is it hard to say no?
- When do I tend to engage in pleasing people?
- When do I make assumptions about others’ thoughts/feelings?
- How do I resolve conflict?
- What do I avoid?
- How do I respond to difficult relationships/people?
- How do I communicate my expectations of others?
- How do I avoid vulnerability?
- With whom are my walls frequently up with?
- How does fear play into your boundaries?
- Name 3 rules you set for yourself?
- How do I priortize my time?
- How do I react to change?
- When or with whom is it hardest to maintain boundaries?
Confidence | Self Worth
The lens through which we see ourselves is powerful and shapes the way we do life. Our confidence and self worth will shape the way we do set boundaries, how thought life, how we process emotions and interactions with others. These prompts listed below are a great way to evaluate what your value is attached to and to begin treating yourself with greater kindness.
- What skill do you possess that you are thankful for?
- Name 3 things you love about your body.
- Name 3 strengths in your character.
- What do I attach my value to?
- When do I feel the most valued?
- Write a letter of gratitude for the way you were made?
- What do I often say to myself?
- How were you a good friend recently?
- What do you love to do?
- What do you value?
- What made you smile today?
- Name a goal (big or small) you recently accomplished.
- What goal would you like to set for yourself?
- What advice would you give to someone younger?
- What would be different if you felt more confident?
Everyone has a negative bias. However, we have the choice to shift our thoughts from negative to positive things. Practicing gratitude is a good way to shift our mindset. When is the last time you challenged negative thoughts with gratitude? It truly is the best thing you can do to overcome negative thinking.
- Name a highlight in your day.
- Who has impacted your life in a positve way?
- How have you been blessed in the past day, week, month and year?
- What is your favorite childhood memory?
- Who tends to trigger negative thoughts in your life?
- What prayer have you seen answered?
- Who are you most grateful for and why?
- What makes you laugh?
- How have you been a blessing to someone else?
- What life lesson have you learned this year?
- List 5 small things your are grateful for.
- What assumptions do you make about others?
- What is a negative belief you have about yourself?
- When are you most likely to engage in comparison?
Learning how to process your feelings is a powerful way to increase self awareness and emotional maturity. Both of which will impact your life and relationships in a positive way. Check out this article for more on, “How to Process Emotions”.
- How do I overcome fear?
- When and with whom do I tend to feel anger? Why?
- How do I react when things don’t go my way?
- When do I feel most out of control? Why?
- When or with whom do I tend to hide from?
- When do I feel the most anxious?
- When do I feel the most overwhelmed?
- How do I respond to conflict?
- How do I react or feel when I make a mistake?
- How do I want to respond to conflict?
- When do I feel the most defensive?
- List and describe your present feelings.
- Do you have difficulty accepting compliments? Why or why not?
- Describe feelings of anxiety.
Spiritual Journal Prompts
- When do you tend to avoid praying?
- How is God involved in your life?
- What is the hardest thing for you to obey in the Bible?
- When do you most feel God’s presence?
- How did you see God working today?
- Who would you like to introduce to Jesus?
- Write a letter to God asking hard questions.
- What truth from Scripture do you wish you knew 10 years ago?
- What do you want to praise God for right now?
- When do you feel most loved by God?
- How is God calling you to love your neighbor?
- What area of you life do you need to ask God’s help with?
- What would you like God to heal in your relationships?
More Therapy Journal Prompts
- What are your goals?
- What advice would you give to yourself in 5 years, 10 years?
- How do you practice self care?
- Describe daily experiences.
- What is something you would like to try?
- Is asking for help challenging? Why or why not?
- List 10 things you can do when you feel hurt.
- List 10 things you can do when you feel anxious.
- If you could spend the day with anyone, who would it be and why?
- What are the most important lessons you’ve learned?
Therapeutic Journaling Tips
The first thing you may want to establish when engaging in journaling practice is finding a set time to sit down and do the hard work of reflection. Create a daily routine that will help you form a habit of journaling. An action plan is better than no plan at all! Journaling your personal journey is a powerful way to grow in emotional maturity.
As we look inward, we will reflect on our own experiences. Navigating the deep waters of your heart can seem overwhelming and I am the first to admit I might avoid doing so. But if you avoid journaling, you will also avoid personal growth and opportunities for healing. Grab some of the therapy journal prompts with specific topics you want to focus on.
Navigating the deep waters of your heart can seem overwhelming and I am the first to admit I might avoid doing so. But if you avoid journaling, you will also avoid personal growth and opportunities for healing.
You need to know the importance of moving beyond the facts. So often we grab our writing prompts and stay on the surface of what happened in our day-to-day life. However, when we are journaling about difficult times, we must go beyond the facts. Doing so definitely gets us out of our comfort zone, but that is necessary in order to draw greater benefit from the process of journaling. Going beyond the facts requires we reflect on our feelings, desires and disappointments.
End Journal Entries on a Positive Note
The next most important thing you need to know is ending your journal entry with a positive note. That means if you are journaling about difficult times, reflect on the facts, feelings and desires. Then when you get to the end of the entry, identify something positive that has come from the situation. Reflect on your own growth in the difficult situation you faced. Identify what you would do different moving forward. Without reflection on the positive things that came from the negative, we will find ourselves feeling worse than when we started. While many say there is no wrong way to journal, research shows that ending on a positive note is the subtle difference in healing. Otherwise our pain can seem puposeless without any focus on the positive experiences that come from the hard places in life.
The worst thing you can do is stuff your feelings down and ignore or avoid the hard places in life. If you haven’t started journaling, now is the perfect time to start!
Wrapping Up Therapy Journal Prompts
If you haven’t started your journaling journey, start now! Journaling negative experiences will help you heal. Engaging in positive journal entries will help you gain perspective and experience more positive emotions. Either types of journaling will help you in the area of self growth and increased emotional maturity. Who doesn’t want more of that? Add your own therapy journal prompts to the comments below!