Journaling has been invaluable to my mental health – it’s helped me understand my thoughts, emotions and feelings more and as well as prompted me to look at my life from different perspectives and angles. Most prompts go quite deep and can create heavier thoughts, so I thought I’d share some more light-hearted ones. You can always take these prompts to a deeper level by asking yourself why you gave that answer. You might also just want to leave the answer the way it is. These prompts also make nice questions to ask among friends/coworkers/students.
FUN AND CREATIVE JOURNAL PROMPTS
- If you were reincarnated as an animal, based on your personality, what animal do you think you would come back as?
- What color best describes you and why?
- What’s the most vivid memory in the kitchen of your childhood?
- Take a personality quiz. What do you think of the results?
- If you could only speak twenty words for the rest of your life, what words would head your list and why?
- Which character from a book or movie would you most like to meet and why? What would you ask?
- What would you do it all the electricity in the world just stopped? (have you ever unplugged your Wi-Fi?)
- If you had to evacuate your home because of a natural disaster, what three things would you take with you?
- If you had to give up one of your senses – which one would you give up?
- If you could decide what happens in your life tomorrow, what would you want to happen?
- If you won €1,000,000 at the lottery, what would you buy?
- If you went back in time, what year would you go to and why?
- If everyone was mentally incapable of lying, what would the world look like?
I’m not a materialistic person. I have lived with very little for extended periods of time – think backpacking the world or moving to a city for a few months and not wanting to accumulate stuff.
I quickly noticed that things don’t make me happy in the long run, and to this day, I feel pretty detached from my material possessions.
The one thing that I absolutely cherish in its physical form is my journals. I started journaling at a young age. In the beginning, not in a book but rather on random sheets of paper. I remember journaling for the first time when my great-grandma passed away. I was nine years old and had experienced a close person’s passing for the first time in my life. I turned to an A4 yellow sheet of paper and wrote how emotional this situation had affected me. Somehow I must have already realized back then how soothing this outlet was and how I could handle this difficult period by myself.
The other experience I had with ‘journaling’ was my mum. She used to write us long texts when we had a fight or an argument and didn’t want to talk to each other. I would often find a page describing her feelings towards this situation on my seat in the dining room or the kitchen. I thus learned how helpful it could be to sometimes put things out of your mind and onto paper rather than throwing emotionally charged profanities at them. It helped me understand my mum’s perspective a little better and remove all the bitter feelings and simply focus on the paper’s words.
My first real journal was given to me by my sister. She had labeled it ‘The Tribe’-journal. The Tribe was my favorite TV-show when I was young. It was basically about a world in which a virus had broken out and killed off all adults, leaving the kids behind to figure out their own life (as if people had known). At the time, I had a hard time making friends in school, and this series was my refuge. I spent my time journaling about how I felt for the characters and their storyline and eventually started writing about my personal struggles in life.
I kept up journaling over all those years. I have dozens of journals from the past 18 years or so. I haven’t written diligently every day but rather sporadically and some times more than others. Yet, I frequently come back to these books because they are fascinating to me to read – I get reminded of my younger self, my thoughts, and experiences at the time, and I am taking advice into my current situation.
And in case you’re wondering – as a language lover and polyglot, I have written in different languages indeed. One of the best language learning advice of all times has been to write my diary and journal in other languages. I have a diary in Japanese, some passages in French, some childhood passages in German but the overarching language in English. It is the language I feel most at ease expressing my thoughts.
Journaling has been a lifeline for me these days more than ever. It’s the friend who is always by my side, listening without judging.
2021 might not have brought the change we’ve been waiting for so far. If you’re like me, you simply felt as if 2020 continued. Months of lockdown have seemingly been tearing on everyone’s nerves.
Journaling has helped me through this time. My mind has been racing too much for me to meditate and I’m grateful that at least using pen on paper has helped me return to a calmer state.
I like to set the scene when I’m journaling. I put on some dim lights – fairy lights, a salt stone light and get comfy. I like sitting on my bed or on the ground so that I have a lot of space around me. You might on the contrary also enjoy cuddling into a smaller space like an armchair. Take a notebook that has a nice cover – treat your journal like something special.
For my first prompt and in general, I always like to do a little check-in with my body. I like to do a self-scan of my body, eyes closed and in a sort of meditative state.
And here come the prompts:
- What sensations are you feeling in your body right now?
- Are you judging these feelings – my anxiety ache is bad, I’m making myself sick, etc. If yes, can you simply focus on it and then let it be there the way it is?
- If you were a loving parent to yourself, what would you tell yourself to console you?
- If you had your best friend right next to you now, what would he/she say to you?
- What do you need right now? Can you give it to you unconditionally?
- Which minor everyday life things make you happy and grateful to be alive? Here comes your gratitude list 🙂
- What are the weaknesses I’m frustrated about, and how can I use them to fuel something positive? Which ones should I simply let be and accept, reminding myself that in the end, no matter what the world makes us want to believe, nobody is perfect, and embracing that is a positive step into acceptance.
- Do you think what you’re feeling right now will last forever? Do you remember the last time that you felt down? Did it end? Are you willing to accept it and sit through, knowing that you will come out at the other hand?
- What is a compliment that I could make myself today? Reading this post means you’re taking action!
- If you’re angry at another person: Is their behavior something that you don’t like in yourself either? E.g., the other person is so selfish – are you selfish yourself?
- If you’re angry at the world: Are you in control over this? If not, can you let it go? If yes, what steps can you take for yourself to better your own position and stance in this world?
I hope you’ll find acceptance and release in this. Stay safe!
This post is inspired by a journaling challenge I’m facilitating. I modified the original question a little, and the following words poured out into my journal.
Dear 10-year-old me,
You’re going to struggle to make friends in the future. Still, you’ll get back on track despite a long period of ‘solitude.’ This period will be crucial for your life – you’ll end up having more compassion for people. You will try to connect with people having as little judgment as possible, knowing that everyone needs friends.
Enjoy being a child because it will give you the purest joy, Don’t worry about the other kids your age trying to grow up as quickly as possible. You have a lifetime of adulthood ahead of you, and once you get there, finding inane, pure joy for no reason will be so much harder than it is now.
You might now know where you’re headed, but you’re preparing for life unknowingly. Your love for languages, dance, and music will accompany you, and your work ethic will be a wonderful tool for independence and growth in your adult life.
Be grateful for your parents – they might be ‘nagging’, and you might take their presence, love, and support for granted, yet life will teach you eventually that it’s not a given.
Be grateful for your sister – you might fight frequently and will continuously encounter conflict throughout life, but the bond you have will stay. No person will ever understand you better where you’re coming from because she’s been there all along.
The people that you call your best friends now might leave you soon. This will be a bitter experience and something that will become a regular part of life. As much hurt as it will cause, as much of a reminder it will be to appreciate the moments you had and are having with those friends. Continue to keep them close to your heart because ‘miracles’ might happen, and they can come back into your life.
Don’t worry if you have no answer to the question ‘What do you want to be when you grow up’ – it’s not a question you’ll find an easy answer to – try to live your life with integrity, and opportunities will open up for you. Be bold and take them!
And one last thing: Try finding a way to love yourself because you are the person you’ll be around in your life the longest.
The other night I was meeting with my women circle. These are some very close friends to me and with whom I can share anything on my mind. We meet up regularly to discuss a topic of life that we have explored ourselves already or would like to explore more, e.g. ‘inner child, gratitude, anger, connection…’ One of our most recent topics was loneliness. We all felt that this has become such a prevalent topic for many of us with the pandemic. And not only that, it is a part of everyone’s life, which people don’t seem to discuss much.
Our meeting brought up some eye-opening questions and thoughts that I wanted to share. Below are some journal prompts, which you can write about or simply ponder over. Maybe you have someone to discuss these questions. I hope they will bring you more clarity or insights.
- Do you enjoy your own company?
- If you don’t enjoy your own company, why is that? / Why does it happen in some moments? Do you feel more lonely then?
- When do you feel the most connected?
- Have you ever felt lonely in the presence of another person /other people? Why was that?
- Do you lack close relationships or social interactions in general?
- Do you feel a certain lack of something other than company when you feel lonely?
- Do you feel low self-esteem when you are lonely, and if yes, why is that?
- What sensation in your body or feeling do you have when you feel lonely? Can you locate it in your body? If yes, you can try and sit with the feeling (in meditation) and divert your breath to it. Let it pass through and see how that feels.
- Have you developed any bad habits to cover up your loneliness or distract you from it?
- What has loneliness taught you?
- Can you think about the word loneliness with a positive connotation?
- Can you find gratitude for loneliness?
I’m not a professional in this field, but I’ve spent a lot of time looking into this topic. Simply writing down your thoughts can feel healing and bring relief. These questions have personally helped me, and I hope they can add to your life in this ‘loneliness pandemic’.