Journaling is a common homework assignment that comes with therapy. Utilizing journal prompts can help you process your emotions in a healthy way and provide an excuse to think back on happy moments. Journal prompts for depression can help you recognize when you feel the most depressed, and help you cope on a daily basis. Below are some journal prompts to add to your list and use when your depression is at a high.
1- Make A List Of Things That Make You Happy
When you are struggling, making a list of things around you or people in your life that make you happy can elevate your mood. Make a list of things that make you happy, and if you are feeling up to it, list why they make you happy in your journal prompts.
2- Think About The Last Time You Got Really Down, How Long Did It Take To Feel Better?
Coping with your mental illness can be challenging, especially when you are in the thick of it. This journaling prompt can help you reflect on a previous depressive episode and what you learned from it. Depression can occur in patterns, but not always. Writing down your feelings and how you worked to feel better may help you improve your coping next time.
3- What Is One Thing You Are Looking Forward To?
Looking forward to something can help give you hope during a dark time. This journal prompt could help to elicit more happy thoughts or multiple things that you can look forward to while struggling with depression. Whether it be a birthday, a weekend trip, reading a new book, your therapy appointment, or seeing an old friend, writing it down will make it feel more tangible.
4- What Would You Do If You Knew You Could Not Fail
Mental illness can make us overthink situations and put off doing things we really love because we fear failure. A good way to take a step back is to journal about something that you have dreamed of doing, but have been held back by fear.
Fear should not be the thing that keeps you from pursuing a dream or traveling to a new place. Life can be scary and the fear of making a mistake is something that many people struggle with.
5- What Times Of The Day Tend To Make You Feel More Depressed Than Others?
Journaling can help you remember things that you would not remember otherwise, including patterns in your depression. Journal prompts can help you recall what times of the day, what seasons, foods, or situations make you feel more depressed than others.
Jotting down times of day when you feel more depressed, could help you prepare and do some self-care in order to curb your depression. This may also help you know when to take your meds or schedule therapy.
6- Describe What You Are Feeling Right Now
All of your feelings are valid, so allowing yourself to sit with them, process them, and write about them will help you to keep moving forward. Feeling angry, depressed, disappointed, left out, sad, and other emotions should be felt, but you should not live with those emotions all the time. Journaling can help you process them in a healthy way and move into a more calm mental state.
7- Give Some Specific Examples Of When You Showed Resilience
Those who struggle with a mental illness may think that they are weak, but in reality, they show a lot of resilience. Getting up every day and going to school or work while depressed shows strength. Journal prompts that help you recognize instances of strength, stability, and learning will help you see just how far you have come.
8- What Is One Thing You Have Wanted To Try But Haven’t Gotten Around To Yet?
When you are focused on taking care of your mental health other goals can get shoved to the back burner. Journaling about them could give you a clearer vision for the future and give you a little extra motivation to try these hobbies or bucket list items.
You can take this journal prompt as deeply as you feel comfortable doing. You could list some hobbies or restaurants you have wanted to try or you can talk about a dream job, travel destinations, or something you have never told anyone.
9- My Inner Critic Is Wrong About ________ Because _______
Our inner voices can convince us that something is true when it is not. Especially when you struggle with mental illness, you may believe that you are less than others. This prompt can be done once or multiple times. It forces you to recognize what is true and what is untrue and work through these statements in future therapy sessions.
You can also look back on these statements when you are feeling down and remind yourself how important it is to see yourself in a positive light.
10- What Is Your Most Common Felt Emotion?
As previously mentioned, journaling is a great exercise for navigating emotions. It can also be helpful to notice patterns and other emotions you feel while you are depressed. Write down the emotions you feel the most and why you think that is can help you avoid triggers in the future.
How Journaling Can Help Depression
Journaling brings thoughts and emotions to the surface and many patients are surprised by what they feel comfortable writing or what comes out. Journaling in combination with therapy can help you become more aware, process emotions, and help you feel more in control of your life.
If you are going to see the benefits of journaling, you will need to stay consistent and don’t hold back. Your journal or notebook is a free space where you can avoid judgment so holding back will not provide any benefits. Journaling every day for 20 minutes can also help yield ideal results. If you can’t keep to an everyday schedule, try 3 times a week.