As seen previously on Spirit and pleasure
Editor’s Note: In August on Wit & Delight, our theme is to get back to basics. It’s about allowing ourselves to pause, reflect, create intentional spaces to reset, and decide which parts of our life we want to keep as we move forward. We’re reposting this article on logging prompts to encourage all of us to do just that. It turns out to be one of our most * ever * read articles and we hope it will continue to provide you with information and encouragement whenever you need it most.
There is no better way to understand your thinking and what is on your mind than by journaling. The problem I have discovered is that the act of journaling is so open-ended that when it is best for me to do so, I avoid it.
Seems familiar? If this is one of the hurdles you face when it comes to journaling, this article is here to help. I want to take the guesswork out of how you can journalize effectively, without the looming paralysis that sometimes results from an open prompt.
My first advice? Start by writing “morning pages”.
Whether you’re new to journaling or just here to get some new prompts to try, consider doing a “mental upload” first using the “morning pages” method (Contributor Ellen Koneck wrote a helpful article about it here!). It’s a great way to grease your mental gears and clean up any bits of unfinished business, things to remember, or notes to yourself. It’s also very effective at priming the pump on its own when it comes to getting the most out of more focused logging sessions.
Then dive into the logging prompts.
Once you’ve finished about ten minutes of unconscious, non-linear writing, I suggest you move on to the journaling prompts. I keep a list handy that I can refer to and take stock of what I’m doing that day or that time. If I am feel anxious, I know which list to focus on.
Sometimes we keep a journal to connect with ourselves; other times we keep a journal to find perspective in times that seem out of control. Given the bizarre times we live in and the spread of COVID-19, logging is becoming an incredibly handy tool for this worried.
When done correctly, journaling can be calming and enlightening for your mind. It can help release pent-up feelings and everyday stress. It can help you let go of negative thoughts while exploring your anxiety experiences in a safe way.
The truth is, writing your thoughts down in a journal can positively impact your anxiety on a holistic level. When done correctly, journaling can be calming and enlightening for your mind. It can help release pent-up feelings and everyday stress. It can help you let go of negative thoughts while safely exploring your anxiety experiences.
When we get into the habit of writing about our struggles AND our successes, we begin to see increased self-awareness while also teaching ourselves about our triggers. Below are some of my favorite journaling prompts that have done wonders for me.
Self-discovery log prompts:
- What do I know to be true that I didn’t know a year ago?
- What distractions keep me from being the most productive?
- When do I feel most comfortable with myself?
- If someone described me, what would they say?
- What can wait for next week?
- How does every part of my body feel in this moment?
Logging prompts for handling emotions:
- What emotions am I clinging to?
- How to detach or neutralize this emotion?
- Why am I doing X?
- Why do I feel this way?
- What causes these feelings?
- Have I tried to get my ego out of the situation?
- How can I detach my emotions from the behavior of others?
- Have i used healthy boundaries before I start to feel that way?
Journaling messages for anxiety and depression
- What is hurting right now? How can I find relief?
- When I look at myself in the mirror, what do I see?
- What are the things in my house that are most “me”?
- What am I doing at the moment?
- What happened before I felt a change in mood?
- Write a full list of what worries you. Showcase what you know to be 100% true, not just a sentiment.
If you are not convinced, Studies show keeping a journal can greatly improve your overall well-being. Now grab a notebook, some tea (or whiskey?) And let the words fly.