Perhaps you owned a journal when you were younger, writing about your day-to-day life, but have since fallen out of the habit. Maybe responsibilities have increased, and it’s been difficult to fit any proper journaling into your schedule—I know this feeling from experience.
Before, I would devote my mornings to a quickfire journaling session but gradually stopped because of work and school commitments. I didn’t have the time or energy to journal, and what started as an easygoing daily practice turned into what felt like another task added to an ever-growing to-do list.
I fell out of my love for journaling, and it wasn’t long before I saw how the consequences of stopping affected me. With nowhere to vent or write about my feelings, I hoarded these frustrations within. I reacted to situations with passive-aggressive behavior and projected animosity towards others. The kind and level-minded person I thought myself to be had been replaced with someone prone to anger and anxiety.
Sound familiar? It took some time and self-introspection to realize the focal point behind what caused everything to go sideways. Journaling was my escape and I sought ways to reconnect with this once crucial part of my life.
For those like my former self, in the current stage of wanting to rekindle a love for journaling, I offer the following three-step method to get you started:
Recognize the “Why”
Turn to Prompts
Recognize the “Why”
If you’re looking to get back into journaling, it’s important to recognize why you do it. Reasons behind journaling can vary from person to person. Some use it as a creative outlet, while others use a journal to manage stress or explore certain fears. Why do you journal?
By recognizing the why, we create longevity and purpose behind the practice. During moments of falter, we can turn to the why for a reason to keep on journaling.
Once you’ve recognized the purpose behind why you journal, take a moment to acknowledge that the amount you write will fluctuate. Some days might lead to three pages, while others, only three lines.
When journaling, quantity should not be a factor that sums into the experience. What matters is the act itself and what it represents for you.
Turn to Prompts
Now that you have your why and understand that the quantity to which you write isn’t important, consider using journaling prompts as an effective tool to make the most out of your practice.
Prompts offer specific topics or themes if you find yourself unsure what to write about, but still want to maintain journaling as a habit. Consider the 20 journaling prompts below to get you started!
Prompts on Relationships
Our relationships with others are crucial towards forming a defense against stress and feelings of depression. With a strong support system we are able to brave life’s many challenges. Reflect on the questions below regarding relationships and discover those special people in your life who will always have your back.
Who do you trust most in life?
How do you express compassion towards others?
How can you better support your friends and family?
What do you value most in a friend or partner?
What is one thing you want to say to a friend, family member, or your partner right now?
Prompts on Growth
Growth can be an incredibly stressful time. It might mean getting out of your comfort zone or letting go of aspects that no longer benefit you. But growth is incredibly important and pushes us towards success! Reflect on the following questions to see how far you’ve grown and what you’d like to strive for in the future.
Where do you see yourself in five years?
What are your current ambitions?
What do you most want to achieve in life?
What are three obstacles facing you, and how might you overcome them?
What keeps you motivated and driven to reach your goals?
Prompts on Gratitude
Show yourself some love by answering these prompts! When we express gratitude, we not only strengthen the relationship with ourselves, but others as well.
What is your favorite thing to do when you’re in a funk?
What in your life are you most grateful for?
What’s your favorite form of self-care?
Who in your life inspires and motivates you?
Where do you find peace? Does a certain location come to mind?
Prompts on Self-Discovery
When we acknowledge our emotional and physical needs, we begin the process of becoming the best version of ourselves. Reflect on any recent revelations you’ve had by answering the following prompts.
What is one thing you can let go of right now that’ll increase your well-being?
What boundaries do you need in order to thrive?
List five personal values. How might you implement these values into your daily life?
What significant event has shaped your current state of life?
Recognize the moments when you’ve doubted yourself. What caused this mindset, and what can you do to have faith in your abilities?
So, What Now?
Journaling provides us the power to reflect and recognize the parts of our lives that need more attention. Writing it all out is a wonderful way to unravel all the thoughts ruminating in our head.
For many like myself, journaling is an escape from everyday stressors and a way to let go of negative thoughts. Journaling offers an effective way to cope with situations currently affecting us, or better understand our reactions to past experiences. Writing about personal aspirations or our daily activities allows us to form a more thoughtful relationship with our feelings and emotions.
By expressing our feelings we take the first steps towards healing and growth. Think of journaling as your own special space to air everything out and express whatever might be distressing you—when in doubt, write it out!
About the Author
Aaron Talledo is currently pursuing his BA in English at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. He finds inspiration from literature, music, and film and expresses creativity through writing. In his free time, Aaron enjoys fitness, meditation, and video games.