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Journaling Prompts to Practice: How Journaling can Calm Down an Anxious Mind

Journaling, a simple activity of writing your thoughts, feelings, and personal experiences, has proven to be of great help when it comes to our mental health and well-being. Studies have shown that documenting our thoughts daily for 15 to 20 minutes can lead to mental clarity, lower blood pressure, and better functionality overall.

Many of us have thoughts that we choose to not share with anyone else, maybe out of guilt, shame or privacy reasons. Writing down the thoughts that have been negatively impacting your mental health can help provide you with the much-needed clarity and help organize them to gain a newer perspective on understanding your problems and their causes. Dr Pennebaker’s research showed that “journaling helped stimulate sense organs to a point of perception in the short run and decreased health problems in the long run.”

The true essence of journaling is that the writer is free to write what he or she wants. The article contains the following topics to make you more familiar with the powerful benefits of journaling. It also talks about different journaling prompts, applicable to both beginners and those who have been journaling for a long time. These journaling prompts will also help you clear your mind and lower your anxiety.


Journaling is a useful exercise used to deal with our emotional turmoil and trauma. It means writing about your personal experiences to navigate your thoughts and work on self-improvement.

The oldest diary records are mostly found in the Middle East and East Asia. One of the earliest diaries which closely resembles the modern-day diary was written by Ibn Banna in the 11th century. (Source) In the 19th century, publishing an author’s diary entries after his death became really common.

The origin of modern-day diary writing can be traced back to fifteenth-century Italy, when the focus gradually shifted from recording the public life to reflecting on the private one. After the Renaissance period, there was a shift from publicized journals to private ones, when people started using it as a form of personal expression.

But even before that, Greek philosophers like Aristotle, and Socrates are known to have journaled. Other famous figures Mark Twain, Leonardo da Vinci, Albert Einstein, and Marie Curie famously practiced journaling. [1] [2] 

However, the therapeutic potential of expressive writing did not come into public awareness in the 1960s, thanks to Dr Ira Progoff, a psychologist in New York, who started workshops on the “Intensive Journaling Method” and helped people realize the importance of journaling.

The beauty of journaling lies in its simplicity and subjectivity. Journaling every day can look different for different people, and some do it in the morning while other in the evening; whenever they get the time.

Many successful people like Warren Buffet, Oprah Winfrey, and Arianna Huffington have confessed to journaling and how it has benefited their lives.




Journaling is popularly recommended for lowering anxiety and depression levels as it is an effective coping strategy, and studies have shown a reduction of stress and depression in people who journal daily.

Journaling helps in regulating our emotions and identifying our common negative thought patterns.


Chronic stress can affect you physically and emotionally. Writing about the things that are bothering you can lessen their impact on your life and help relieve stress. Journaling for a few minutes every day will empower you to work through any obscured feelings or trauma that hinders your growth.

Once you start writing about your experiences and analyzing them, it will equip you to face similar situations in the future, thus, reducing unnecessary stress. A study conducted by Duke University found that journaling helps increase resilience and determination.


The benefits of journaling are not just limited to one’s mental well-being. Journaling frequently is linked to the proper functioning of the immune system and also decreases the risk of illnesses.

Studies have shown that the people who wrote about their traumatic experiences were less likely to get sick and were affected less seriously by their trauma than their non-journaling counterparts.


Writing down your goals can help them manifest into reality. A study conducted by Dr Gail Matthews, a psychologist based in California concluded that an individual was 42 percent more to achieve his goals just by writing them down.


Journaling works best when you are being utterly honest with yourself. Usually, there is no set format for writing a journal. Just know that it is your private property, which won’t be read by anyone, so you can write in it without the fear of judgment.

Do not indulge in any negative self-talk. While you can write whatever you want, your journal should not be there to put you down. However, it also doesn’t imply toxic positivity. You can write your honest thoughts while simultaneously being gentle to yourself.

Here is a list of 16 journaling prompts that can help you work through challenges and bring in the desired results-

  1. What are the things about me that I like and why? Are there any things I’d like to change about myself? If so, why?
  2. How can I become my authentic version and get rid of the fear of judgment?
  3. Are there any grudges I am holding against myself or others? If so, what are they and how can I overcome them?
  4. Am I living my ideal life? If not, what steps can I take to work on it?
  5. What are the unhealthy habits I resort to when I feel stressed? How can I break the negative pattern and indulge in healthier coping mechanisms?
  6. What are the things I would like to improve about myself?
  7. What techniques can I practice to let go of the things I cannot control?
  8. How do I react to things when I am feeling stressed? If my thoughts are negatively affecting me, how can I change that?
  9. What are the things that trigger me?
  10.  Write a letter to your past self and write how far you have come.
  11. What are the things I am grateful for in my life and why?
  12. What are the activities I can do to make myself less anxious?
  13. Do I have a fear of failure? If so, why and what I can do to overcome it?
  14. What are the signs I notice before I am about to have an anxiety or panic attack?
  15. Am I living a balanced life? If not, what are the things I can do to live a more mindful and fulfilled life?
  16. What mental and/or physical blockages am I struggling to overcome?


Journaling is a great way to boost your optimism and overcome negative emotions that are directed towards yourself and your surroundings. Consistency is key when it comes to improving your mental and physical health through journaling. Some people prefer writing on paper, while others prefer to use their laptops or phones. Do what works for you, as there is no hard and fast rule you need to stick to.

You should not limit yourself to just one thing and continue to explore what works for you and what doesn’t. Journaling consistently will help you live in the present moment and lessen the burden that you might be carrying due to unprocessed emotions.

Don’t set yourself any unrealistic expectations when your start journaling, as it can discourage you from carrying out any further. With small steps and persistence, you will start seeing a difference in no time.

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