Looking to add another tool to your self-care toolbox? Keep reading for 110+ journal prompts for mental health.
Keeping a mental health journal is a great way to reflect on your life and explore things that are going on in your mind. As someone who journals myself, I frequently ask my clients to engage in writing therapy which allows me to gain insight into what may be going on with them and prioritizing what is important.
If you are looking into giving journal a try, try these free journal prompts for mental health to kick-start your journey. I am sharing 120+ journal prompts that you can use to reflect on your mental health.
What is a Mental Health Journal
A mental health journal is different from a regular journal. It is a way to track your emotional states, triggers, thought patterns, behaviors and needs that can impact your mood. Think about it as your guide to look back and reflect on how far you have come and where you want to go.
Whether you want to become more aware of your emotions, process difficult conversations, or reflect on your day-to-day life, keeping a mental health journal can be a valuable tool for maintaining good mental health.
How Can Journaling Help Your Mental Health?
1) It helps you process your emotions without feeling overwhelmed by them.
When you are stressed out or feeling overwhelmed, it can be challenging to acknowledge and accept your emotions because you might not know how to deal with them, or you feel like you if you continue to suppress your feelings, they will eventually go away. Unfortunately, frequently suppressing your emotions can lead to spirals, making us feel worse.
Keeping a mental health journal can help you articulate your feelings and process them more effectively without feeling overwhelmed. Also, one of the most liberating aspects of journaling is that you can write about whatever is going through your head without worrying about being judged by others.
2) It allows you to learn more about yourself.
When you better understand your experiences and how you feel about them, you can better articulate the underlying needs and form a deeper connection with yourself.
The foundation of BGT is this idea- finding yourself and self-trust. When you know yourself, you feel confident in your abilities to handle difficult situations and foster your inner reliability. As you continue to journal more regularly, you will start to identify common themes and patterns that you can work on changing to maintain good mental health.
3) Journaling helps you focus on the present moment.
We live in a world where we are constantly stimulated and attempting to multitask to get through our never-ending to-do lists. As a result, many become victims of their thoughts by getting caught up in the past or worrying about their future.
Living in the present moment requires creating intentional opportunities to appreciate your current reality. Journaling is a great way to anchor yourself to the present moment, as it requires your full attention. If you are new to present-moment activities, you might have to stop and turn your focus back to your journaling frequently. However, with time, being in the now will become easier.
4) Creating an opportunity to reflect on past experiences and identify patterns.
One of the most significant advantages of keeping a mental health journal is the ability to reflect on your experiences and identify any common patterns that impact your mood, positive or negative.
For example, continue to journal about feeling angry after work every day. That might be an opportunity to think about your daily transition from work to personal life and what changes need to occur. In the same way, if you notice you feel happy when you complete your morning routine every morning, that mood provides information about your mental health.
Keeping track of your emotional states allow you to become more aware of your thoughts, feelings, and behaviors. As a result, you create an opportunity to develop a healthy relationship with yourself by gaining a new perspective and changing any patterns you want to improve.
5) Increased ability to express your needs accurately to others.
Journaling increases your ability to connect how you feel and your underlying needs. Everyone has basic needs and depending on your understanding of them, you will have an idea of how to meet them.
However, if you cannot pinpoint and describe your needs, other people may need help understanding how to support you. The more awareness you have about your needs, the better other people can help meet them.
Journaling is a great tool to reflect on your unmet needs and communicate that to others in a way to is productive to your mental health growth.
How To Journal For Beginners
1) Find your 'why'
Something I have come to understand and accept about engaging in productive habits is that you will only stick with it if you are making a value-based decision to engage in it.
Take some time to think about WHY you want to journal. Then, ask yourself what you are hoping to get out of journaling, how much time you can realistically set aside each day, and what type of journaling you will enjoy the most (more on that later).
The more clarity around the why, the more you will be able to focus on what matters to you and engage in decisions that align with your goals.
2) Find the journaling tools that are right for you.
Your journaling practice is personalized to you, and your needs which means finding the right journaling tools will take some trial and error. When I first started journaling, I used a simple notebook to get started. Then, as I continued to engage in regular practice, I began to explore more tools that helped simplify my routine.
It can be easy to overdo or get overwhelmed with journaling supplies. However, you only need your notebook/computer and pen to start.
3) Setting and Time
You want to journal in a space where you feel comfortable and safe. For example, I like to journal in my office with a candle and soft music. However, I want to sit outside in the sun when I journal during the day. Make your journaling practice personal to you and your needs.
If you are new to journaling, it can be easy to forget about engaging in regular practice. A good tip is to set some intentional time aside ahead of time. I like to think about journaling as a solo date with myself, signifying its importance.
Some ways to remind yourself to journal include writing a reminder on a post-it, setting an alarm on your phone, or scheduling time on your calendar. I like to journal before I go to bed since it makes it easier for me to think about my day, but you can choose whatever time works best for your schedule.
Setting the time does not have to be complicated. For example, you can journal for 10 minutes a day or 30 minutes. The idea is to engage in regular and consistent practice.
4) Pick a journal prompt or write what comes to mind
Many worry that they are journaling incorrectly or don't know what to write about. The good news? When it comes to journaling, there is no wrong way of doing it. Whether you use a mental health journal prompt generator or guided journal prompts for mental health, you can choose your starting point.
If you are new to journaling, you can choose journal prompts for mental health listed on this post or write about whatever comes to your mind. You can set a timer or keep writing until you feel like you got everything out of your system. See what feels comfortable and what were some barriers to journaling.
Next, I will list how to journal for mental health and review different journaling techniques.
How to Journal For Mental Health
1) Brain Dump Technique
When you are anxious, stressed, or have racing thoughts, it can be hard to stay on track with your routines and habits. This is where the brain dump technique can be helpful.
Brain dumping is the act of decluttering your mind. You are 'dumping' all your thoughts on paper until you feel like you can take a big breath and think more clearly. You will know you completed a brain dump when you feel less anxious or stressed or your racing thoughts have slowed down.
I like to brain dump with my to-do list. I get extremely overwhelmed when I have a million things to do, and instead of engaging in avoidance coping, I like to engage in brain-dumping techniques where I will list out everything I need to get done. Doing that allows me to take a breath and transfer the list to my calendar.
Once your brain dumps, you can focus on specific items like I do when I engage in the technique, or you can close your notebook without doing anything with it. The idea behind this technique is to give your mind more space. So pull out your journal and start dumping.
2) Gratitude Journaling
A gratitude journal is a way to think about the positives in your life. It allows you to shift your mindset to gain a greater perspective in life.
Gratitude journaling has been my go-to these past few months. It is easy to get fixed on the negative aspects of your life, and engaging in regular gratitude practice can help break those negative thoughts that run on autopilot. If I don't journal the night before, I like to do a quick gratitude exercise in the morning, where I think about all the things, experiences, and people I am thankful for.
If you are in a rush and don't have time to engage in the journaling prompts for mental health pdf, write out 3-5 things you are thankful for and notice a shift in your mindset.
3) Guided Journaling
If you are someone that likes structure, guided journaling might be easier to start with. Unlike freestyle writing, guided journaling includes guided reflective writing prompts that is focused on selected topics, goals, or themes.
As a mental health therapist, I often provide my clients with journal prompts that they bring with them to our sessions. Whether you need 365 journal prompts for mental health or need a break from your freestyle writing, guided journaling is a great way to get started if you prefer structure to your writing.
4) Bullet Journaling
Bullet journaling is a way to track, organize and plan your life. Think of it as a planner approach to journaling. It allows you to write about your daily, weekly, and monthly progress towards your goals. It can also include to-do lists, deadlines, goals (short term and long-term), and daily tasks.
As someone who loves structure and organization, I LOVE bullet journaling. It is a fun way to stay organized and be creative. Some bullet journals include Self Journal and Beginner Friendly Bullet Journal.
5) Letter Journaling
In letter journaling, you write a letter to anyone you wish without the intention of sending it to them. The idea is to bring clarity to your bottled-up emotions and open doors for your inner healing.
The great thing about letter journaling is that there are no rules when you write this letter. You can write down all your thoughts and feelings, allowing you to find closure.
110+ Best Journal Prompts for Mental Health
Daily Journal Prompts for Mental Health
1. I felt (insert emotion) today because...
2. What would I throw away if I had a garbage day?
3. I am grateful for...
4. I can make today better than yesterday by....
5. What thoughts were on my mind today?
6. My overall mood was...
7. What did self-care look like today? (sleep, nutrient dense foods, exercise, etc.)
8. Something that made me happy today....
9. I can be more mindful everyday by...
10. What habit supported my mental health today?
Weekly Journal Prompts for Mental Health
11. What did I learn about myself this week?
12. What were my wins this week?
13. What were some challenges I experienced this week and how did I handle them?
14. How did I prioritize my mental health this week?
15. This week, I am proud of....
16. Describe ways you prioritized rest this week.
17. What were my takeaways from therapy this week?
18. I extended self-compassion to myself when...
19. What triggered my anxiety this week?
20. What habits helped me support my mental health?
Monthly Journal Prompts for Mental Health
21. The best thing about this month was....
22. The most challenging part of this month was....and I handled it by.....
23. What small habits did you stay consistent with this past month?
24. How did you celebrate yourself this month?
25. 5 things that made me feel good about myself were....
26. 5 things I am grateful for this month....
27. What were some recurring thoughts or emotions this past month.
28. A bad habit I would like to break next month_____
29. Some things I need to work on....
30. Review your monthly goals.
31. List your accomplishments that you are proud of.
32. Did I spend time with my friends and family?
33. In what ways did you create a work-life balance?
34. What are 3 ways I cared for my mental health this month?
35. What are your top 3 priorities for next month?
Journal Prompts for Self-love
36. Write a letter to your younger self.
37. What are some barriers to showing yourself self-love?
38. How do you feel about your body?
39. What are 5 things you are really good at?
40. Write out 5 positive affirmations for self-love.
41. Write about your future goals and aspirations.
42. 5 things that make me unique are.....
43. A small way I can show myself self-love is by_______
44. How can you extend self-compassion to yourself when you make a mistake?
45. What brings you joy and peace of mind?
Gratitude Journal Prompts for Mental Health
46. Write 10 things you are grateful for today.
47. Write about 5 people you are grateful for and why.
48. Reflect on something or someone you take for granted that you are thankful for.
49. What freedoms are you grateful for.
50. What is something that you are grateful for that you can do yourself?
51. What is one thing you are grateful for regarding your mental health?
52. What is something/someone you are grateful for that you can appreciate from a distance?
53. What is something you are looking forward to?
54. Write about a happy memory.
55. Life is worth living because....
Mental Health Journal Prompts for Anxiety
56. What does anxiety feel like for you?
57. Where in your body do you experience anxiety the most?
58. How does anxiety impact your life?
59. People or things that trigger my anxiety.....
60. Write about ways your loved ones can support you when you are anxious.
61. What is making you anxious this week? How can you cope ahead?
62. What do you wish people knew more about your anxiety?
63. What strategies have helped in the past to cope with my anxiety?
64.3-5 things I can do to support myself when I am anxious.
65. Lessons you learned from living with anxiety.
Mental Health Journal Prompts for Depression
66. I deserve to be happy because....
67. What has your depression taught you?
68. Who is included in your support system?
69. Describe your best mental health habits.
70. One thing I wish people would understand about depression is.....
71. What are 3-5 coping skills that help improve my mood.
73. Write about your wins this week.
74. Songs that can improve my mood instantly.
75. Reflect on what makes your depression better or worse.
76. Life is worth living because...
Journal Prompts for Emotions
77. Recall a time when you felt joy.
78. What are things that make you angry?
79. What challenges do I experience when I am in emotion mind?
80. Things that make me sad...
81. Write about your happiest memory.
82. What triggers your emotions?
83. Reflect on your ability to identify and express your emotions.
84. Do I judge certain emotions?
85. What are some common emotions you experience?
86. Reflect on your needs that underlie your emotions.
Journal Prompts for Physical Health
87. Reflect on your physical health.
88. In what ways have I prioritized my physical health this month?
89. How does my physical health impact my mental health?
90. What does being healthy mean to you?
91. Write about any emotional eating tendencies.
92. Reflect on your relationship with food.
93. How often do you fuel your body with nutrient-dense foods?
94. Reflect on your sleep hygiene habits.
95. Have I been drinking enough water?
96. How do I prioritize movement in my life?
Journal Prompts for Relationships
97. List the most important relationships in your life.
98. Do you feel comfortable expressing your needs to others?
99. I can be myself around....
100. Write about your communication style when you are upset.
101. What is your love language?
102. What your your non-negotiables in relationships?
103. What does family mean to you?
104. How do you feel about setting boundaries with people?
105. Reflect on any boundaries you need to set with others, but are struggling to with guilt or shame.
106. What are some traits I bring to a relationship?
107. Reflect on challenges in specific relationships.
109. Write about your relationship with your parents.
110. How do you define a health relationship?
Journal Recommendations For You
Adding journaling to your wellness routine can profoundly impact your mental health. As someone who journals almost daily, I can tell you how helpful it has been to write down my thoughts and use this as a powerful tool for reflecting, setting intentions, and clarifying my year ahead.
As a reminder, journaling is an intentionally created safe space for self-growth, self-discovery, and healing- embrace this practice.
What are your favorite journal prompts for mental health?