Journalling can be a very helpful practice when it comes to self-growth and improvement, because as we often talk about at The Depression Project, journalling has been shown to, among other things, help you develop perspective, regulate your emotions and improve your psychological outlook1. And, for this reason, we've put together this collection of 35 guided journal prompts covering the topics of:
- Emotional self-growth & improvement;
- Intellectual self-growth & improvement;
- Spiritual self-growth & improvement;
- Physical self-growth & improvement.
It's our hope that you will take the time to thoughtfully reflect on each of these journal prompts and then write out your response to them :)
Journal Prompts For Emotional Self-Growth & Improvement
- What are some emotions you've been holding onto that you'd like to let go of?
- What are some unrealistic expectations and standards you have of yourself? And, what are some gentler, more self-compassionate expectations and standards that you could replace them with? For example, if you feel like you must be productive 100% of the time and never 'take a break', then how could you adjust this expectation so you have more time for self-care and don't feel guilty for resting?
- What are some unhealthy ways you cope with difficult emotions (such as anger or stress, for example)? And, what are some alternative, healthier coping strategies you could replace them with?
- What are some things that trigger negative emotions in you, and why?
- What needs and emotions have you been neglecting? What has the impact of this been on you?
- From today onwards, how can you start getting your needs and emotions met a little bit more? What practices and/or activities would help with this, and how can you make time for them in your schedule moving forwards? For example, if you love painting and it meets your need for creativity, then could you set some time aside one night a week to paint?
- What are some negative or limiting beliefs you have about yourself? And, what are some steps you could take to challenge and overcome them? (If you're not sure, then please click here to learn).
- When was the last time you were in "play mode" and not "responsibility mode"? How can you make more time for "play mode" moving forwards?
- What is something you've been blaming yourself for that you're ready to let go of? What would self-forgiveness look like?
- What are some occasions where you didn't feel that your voice was heard or that your feelings were noticed? And, how could you prevent this from happening again moving forwards? For example, if there was an event that you were pressured into attending when you didn't want to, it may help to learn how to become more comfortable saying "no" more firmly without feeling guilty.
- Are there any difficult conversations you've been putting off having? If so, then when do you plan on having these conversations, and what is your strategy for having them so that they will hopefully go the way you want?
Journal Prompts For Intellectual Self-Growth & Improvement
- What are some new skills you would like to learn, and why?
- What is something that gets you in the "flow state" where you're highly alert and deeply focused on the task at hand?
- What are some books, podcasts, and/or shows that make you feel inspired and motivated to learn more?
- What is a topic or subject matter you've always been curious to explore, and why?
- What are some academic or career goals you have, and how are you working towards them?
- What are some ways you could modify your "consumption habits" to better serve your intellectual needs? For example, instead of mindlessly scrolling through social media or going down various "content rabbit holes" that don't align with your needs or values, what steps could you take to more consciously engage with content that serves you?
- What steps could you take to make the skills you'd like to learn more of a priority? In particular, how will you schedule in time for this learning, and what "tradeoffs" are you willing to make to create space for it?
Journal Prompts For Spiritual Self-Growth & Improvement
- What are some core beliefs you have about yourself and the world?
- How can you make your core beliefs more positive, compassionate, inspiring, and/or hopeful? For example, if you believe that "whenever I let my guard down I get hurt", could you adjust this to, for example: "when I have let my guard down with the wrong people I've gotten hurt, but there are lots of people out there who won't hurt me. And, I'm hopeful that by learning from the past and paying attention to red flags, I will meet people who are good for me in the future."
- What are some things that give you a strong sense of purpose and meaning?
- Is there something beyond yourself that you have faith in that makes you feel grounded in the world? Please note: This does not necessarily have to be religious; instead, it could be a positive belief in how the world works, or a positive belief about human nature, for example.
- How can you remain mindful of your values, goals, or purpose during times when you may feel "bogged down" by the day-to-day challenges of life? For example, if you're in a stressful period at work, would it help to remind yourself of what you're working towards and/or the loved one(s) you're providing for?
- What are your core values? And, what steps could you take to act more in alignment with them?
- What steps could you take to feel more connected to your community, nature, and the world itself?
- What steps could you take to find more joy and meaning in your day-to-day life? Are there any new habits you could cultivate that would help with this? For example, can you write down three things you're grateful for each morning or write down one thing you're looking forward to each day?
Journal Prompts For Physical Self-Growth & Improvement
- What are some physical activities you enjoy, and why? For example, group exercise classes, the gym, sports, running, bicycling, walking with a friend, etcetera.
- How can you let go of perfectionistic standards you may have for your body? What are some alternative, more self-compassionate thoughts you could have when you start criticising yourself harshly? For example, if you think you must always be a certain body weight and that you're a "failure" if you ever indulge in an unhealthy meal, can you increase your tolerance for small weight fluctuations and recognise that "who you are" is so much more than a number on a scale?
- What are some steps you could take to remove the temptation to resort to unhealthy habits (e.g. binge eating)? For example, in the case of binge eating, could you avoid having junk food in your house, or only buy these foods in small quantities so they're consumed when you really want them (as opposed to just "out of convenience")?
- What are some healthy ways in which you could manage stress more effectively and help avoid burnout? For example, going for a walk when you feel restless, or practicing diaphragmatic breathing when overwhelmed.
- What does your sleep hygiene look like, and what are some ways you can improve it?
- What are some ways you can add more physical activity into your lifestyle?
- What are some reasons you should be kind, loving, and grateful towards your body for all that it does for you? For example, being grateful for your feet and legs for being able to walk, your smile for communicating you're happy, and your digestive system for breaking down foods and turning them into fuel for your body.
- What are some ways in which you may be neglecting your body and/or your physical needs? How can you seek to improve this moving forwards?
- What are some steps you could take to incorporate more self-care into your day-to-day life and make it a bigger priority?
We hope you find thoughtfully considering and writing out your responses to these journal prompts helpful :)
All our love,
The Depression Project Team.