Select Page

Journal Prompts for Mental Health

by | May 9, 2024 | Coping, Infographic, Mental Health, Mental Wellness

Forward, Together with western tidewater community services board

Did you know that journaling can be an excellent way to manage your mental health? If you’ve struggled with poor mental health for a long time, you may be skeptical, but research has found that journaling can help improve your day-to-day mental state and can even help you process and overcome trauma.

Why Journaling for Mental Health Works

Journaling can help you to:

  • Express yourself in a healthy way
  • Keep a record – going through your thoughts and feelings, and reading about them again later, can help you to uncover negative behavior patterns or situations in your life that you might not recognize at first 
  • Understand and prioritize your problems, fears and concerns
  • Learn how to recognize and reduce negative self-talk and focus on positive self-talk instead

By helping you to better understand and manage your emotions, journaling can help you to:

  • Cope with overwhelming thoughts and feelings
  • Manage stress and anxiety
  • Cope with depression

Related: Not sure where to begin with getting mental health help? Start here.

There’s No Wrong Way To Journal

You might think that journaling isn’t for you, but you don’t have to be a great writer to start journaling for mental health. Even if you haven’t written anything since you were in school, you can still reap the benefits of journaling, and easily.

There are all sorts of ways to get started. Some people find it easier to write in the style of a bullet journal, using quick, short lines to get their ideas across. Others write a paragraph, or even a whole page when they complete their daily or weekly entry. Some may write freely and go on and on about whatever they think of, and others might do better with something to start on. If you fall into that last category, here are 10 prompts that can get you started right now with journaling for better mental health and overall mood.

10 Journal Prompts for Mental Health

1. Write a List of 10 Things That Make You Smile 

These could be something big, like an important person in your life or a beloved pet, or even something small, like your favorite song or dessert.

2. Think of a Place That Makes You Feel Happy and Peaceful

This can be any place at all that makes you feel happy and calm. It could be a favorite place to take a walk, your childhood home or somewhere you’ve never actually been. It can even be a made-up place. Describe this place. How does it make you feel? Why does it make you feel that way? Take this opportunity to describe all the details you can think of about this place. Draw it, if you want. Just remember all you can about it and when you’re feeling sad or anxious in the future, you can draw on the vivid memory you’ve created to help you to feel more calm and peaceful.

3. Write a Love Letter to Yourself

Write a letter to yourself, outlining all the things you like about yourself. Most of us know our not-so-great qualities all too well. Take a few moments to focus on the positives and when you’re feeling bad about yourself, refer back to this letter to remember all the reasons you love yourself.

4. Think About a Recent Accomplishment or Milestone

When you’re feeling low, it can be difficult to focus on the good. Take a few minutes to reflect on what you’ve done well. Have you finished school? Started a new job or just tried something new? 

5. What Are 5 Things About Yourself You Want People To Know?

If you met someone new today and they asked you to tell them five things about yourself that would help them to understand who you are, what would you tell them? Once you write down these five things, think back on them when you interact with others. How can you live your life in a way that lets people know who you are as a person?

6. How Do You Handle a Bad Day?

How do you normally handle it when things go wrong? Everyone has coping mechanisms but not all of them are healthy. Do you find yourself turning to food, alcohol or some other unhealthy coping mechanism when you’re having a bad day? If you do, write about it, and then write down three healthy coping mechanisms – something like yoga, going for a walk or calling a friend – that you could try to use instead.

7. Write a Letter to Your Younger Self

Write a letter to your younger self, telling them something that you wish someone would have told you at that age. It could be something like advice or letting your younger self know that things will get better.

8 . Write a List of Things To Remember on a Bad Day

Write a list of 5 or 10 things to remember when you’re struggling. These might be a reminder of all the things you like about your life or the names of the people you care about.

9. Reflect on a Recent Challenging Situation

We all have challenges in our lives and some are harder to get through than others. If your mental health has suffered from a challenging situation, take a few moments to reflect on what happened, what you’ve learned from it and what steps you might be able to take to move forward.

10. Write a Letter of Forgiveness to Someone Who’s Hurt You

Forgiving someone for hurting you can be extremely difficult, but forgiveness allows you to move on. Even if you’re not ready to truly forgive someone who’s hurt you badly (or may never), writing a letter to this person just to keep for yourself, can be very helpful in helping you to process and let go of any related negative emotions.

Let’s Move Forward, Together

Journaling is an easy, accessible way to begin dealing with difficult emotions and low mood on your own, but it’s not always enough. If you’ve been struggling with depression, anxiety, trauma, substance abuse or other mental health concerns, we want to help.

We’re your local, single-point-of-access for behavioral health services in Franklin, Suffolk and the counties of Isle of Wight and Southampton, and we look forward to serving you.

Make an appointment online for same-day access and let’s move forward, together.

Click infographic to enlarge.

Infographic titled - Have a Happier Pride Month: Mental Health and LGBTQ+ Pride
Share the infographic - Click here for the embed code.

<a href=””>
<img src=”” /></a

Latest Posts

How we Help

Announcements and News


WTCSB Services

We provide integrated services and relief for multiple mental health needs, support for individuals with developmental disabilities, and substance abuse help.

Same Day Access

Our exclusive Same-Day Access to care and 24/7 crisis intervention means our caring team of clinicians and counselors are always within reach.

Who We Are

Western Tidewater CSB is the leading authority in mental health and developmental services in Franklin, Suffolk, Isle of Wight County, and Southampton County. Learn more about what truly sets us apart.