If you feel stuck and overwhelmed in life, journaling is one of the powerful tools that might help you. By journaling, you allowed yourself to slow down with your thought which will bring more mental clarity.
Since there are no specific guidelines or rules on how to journal, we can approach journaling in various ways. Certain people just do brain dumping and write whatever crosses their minds. But sometimes we need a certain lead to write the journal.
And that’s what journal prompts play a role
What is journal prompts?
Journal prompts are a set of questions that help to provoke your thoughts on certain things which help you re-focus on that idea. That will be the main objective and the answer will be the journal entry
Sometimes, we avoid thinking and talking about our deep-rooted issue or problem on a certain thing, and prompting may help to dig into our inner self. There is various category of journal prompts such as productivity, personal, mood or as simple as sleep journal prompts.
To be honest, initially, I am not a huge fan of journal prompts as I think it limits my thought process to a certain question.
That’s where I am wrong
What I think on journal prompts
Journal prompting instead of limiting, triggers more questions and gives more sense of clarity in a way I never think about it before.
People have said before, journaling is like a tool to improve the relationship you have with yourself. And prompting, really help me with that. Because let’s face it, we don’t even know why we act certain ways, or what we feel about ourselves at that moment.
That’s why I think journal prompts may help with our self-discovery and self-acceptance
Discovery is to unleash our hidden potential, what is our strength, and who we are currently. The more we get to know ourselves, the easier we can improve.
“When I discover who I am, I’ll be free.”
— Ralph Ellison, Invisible Man
Acceptance is awareness of our strengths and weakness
Both self-discovery and self-acceptance is a continuous process. It will never reach a finishing lane. By journaling, and specifically by having certain prompts, it will help us in this process
How to create your journal prompts?
As a start, you can use pre-existing journal prompts that you can find almost everywhere. But here’s the thing, sometimes the prompts don’t resonate well with yourself, and it ends up being super difficult to write the answer to that prompt.
The idea of using prompts is to make journaling easy, but instead, when you choose the wrong prompt, it becomes more complicated as it is not suitable for your current needs.
And you end up abandoning journaling all together which defeats the initial purpose.
Here are a few practical tips on how to start creating your journal prompts
1. Start with the reflection.
A reflective journal is a place to write down your daily reflection entries. It can be something good or bad that has happened to you that you can self-reflect on and learn from past experiences. A reflective journal entry can help you to identify important learning events that had happened in your life.
Reflection is a very important first step before writing the journal prompts or journaling.
- Reflect on your progress in terms of your work/ study/career
- Reflect on your current state/ feeling (Can be as simple as OK, Not OK)
- Reflect on your relationship with yourself, your friends, your family
By doing reflection it opens the door to identifying the issues or problems that you currently faced.
2. Identify what aspect of your life that currently need more attention
What is it that needs your attention? Is it your bad habit, your personality, or more serious question like the feeling of anxiety and depression?
Just write everything that crosses your mind. Sometimes, we tend to get intimidated when facing the blank page, but I have received a tip from someone that works for me and might work for you.
“Rather than focusing on the articulation of the sentence, just dump every thought that crosses your mind. It might not be a full sentence, or just a few words that are associated with you or your feeling.”
Rather than think, just vomit out the words.
For example, I might write something like this
Tired. Unsettle work. No interest in anything
3. 5Ws & 1H (who, why, what, where, when & how)
Am I really tired or I’m bored?
Why do I feel tired?
What can I do to overcome this?
When did I feel more/less tired?
How did I end up being in this state? What is the precursor?
By asking this question, we are digging more into what the root cause of a certain problem is. By identifying the issue and being aware of what is happening we’ll open the road for self-acceptance.
4. The journal prompts will depend greatly on the theme of the journal entry
If being productive is the key theme of the journal entry, the prompts more likely to be like this
- What would I like to achieve today?
- What small habit I can instil to make myself 1% better than yesterday
- How I can manage my time better than yesterday
If the theme is mainly on being more gratitude
- List three things you are grateful for today
The list of journal prompts that you can create is endless if you know the theme and issue you are working with.
5. Journal prompting doesn’t need to be in the form of writing.
You can be creative and include some more fun journal entries like:
- Create a bucket list of things you would like to do before you die
- Write a letter to your future self/ partner/ children
- Draw or doodle your current self. Use different colours, crayons, or watercolour if you want
- By being creative, you won’t feel writing journal prompts is like a mundane or boring task.
Where to go from here
Creating journal prompts may seem like a hassle at the beginning. But it will greatly help the journaling experience. The road to self-acceptance and self-discovery is rooted in realization and by creating our prompts we’ll help ourselves better.
However, if you think at certain times, you need help with journaling, just go and use the journal prompts that are available online. That’s the beauty of journaling. There are no specific ways or rules to do it.