When I started using journal prompts for mental health specifically, it was like I had pressed reset on all the negativity that was often carried through from the day before and it was like a superpower to starting each day strong and fresh. Not only did journaling help relieve general stress and anxiety that is associated with work, but also helped improve my mental health in a variety of ways.

Because of the direct impact I’ve felt from journalling not just for the sake of it but directly for my mental health, I’ve pulled together a list of the most effective / best 11 journal prompts for mental health improvement. Journalling is slightly different to affirmation statements in that it is a writing practice more so than verbal repetitive statements.

By following these prompts and writing your thoughts and feelings in a daily mental health journal, you’ll be well on your way to a happier, healthier mind and ready to take on whatever the world hits you with. It’s not necessarily about having a perfect day more like a general feeling of wellness that keeps mental illness at bay.

Let’s get started by understanding exactly what journaling is (skip this if you are already a seasoned journaler!)

What is journaling (and why is it a secret superpower)?

There’s something about journaling that just feels therapeutic. It’s good for the soul and it has been shown to be an effective tool for managing stress and anxiety, and reflecting on your day can help you better understand your thoughts and feelings. Journaling is the perfect way of finding mental balance through uncertain times.

Of course, like life, mental health journaling isn’t all positive; it can also help you reflect on the not-so-good things that have happened so you can process them easier and don’t carry them with resentment that can lead to anger or frustration. As long as you start each day by writing down what happened during the previous day, you’re on your way to a happier and healthier life.

So, what are you waiting for? Use the following journal prompts for mental health improvement and start journaling today. See for yourself how it can help you manage stress and anxiety, develop insight into your thoughts and feelings, and reflect on the good (and bad) things that have happened in your life!

How can journaling help someone’s mental health?

Mental health is an important topic that deserves to be talked about more. Whether you’re a person currently experiencing mental health issues or you just care about those around you to make sure they are well supported, journaling can be a great way to start the day off on the right foot.

  • Forces self-reflection
  • Reduces overthinking
  • Gives space for self-care
  • Encourages forgiveness
  • Inspires mood enhancement
  • Processes difficult emotions

Journaling can help you process your thoughts emotionally and logically and by writing them down means they are processed and out of your busy mind. It’s also a great way to express yourself and get feedback from other people. Additionally, journaling can help you understand your thoughts and feelings, which as any professional will tell you can certainly lead to better mental health.

List of 11 journal prompts for mental health improvement

When I was a mental health nurse, we would using journaling as a wellness tool to improve self-care and gratitude for the small things in life when you feel like life is against you.

We’re not trying to create the perfect day per se, it’s just that this list of journal prompts allow for better mental clarity and they act like an indirect tool for forgiveness or even like a personal love letter to yourself and those around you – done consistently (as many days as you’re able to) mental health journalling is an ideal coping mechanism.

Daily Morning Journal Prompts

If you’re an early riser or you manage to have some quiet time first thing in the morning then here are the daily morning journal prompts that you can start writing to inspire your thought process to help offload all the information.

  1. Yesterday, I struggled with… {what you didn’t do as well as you hoped}
  2. Yesterday, I wished I had… {what you should have done differently}
  3. Today, I’m looking forward to… {what plans you have}
  4. Today, I’m feeling… {insert predominant emotion}
  5. Today, I’m in control of… {list things you can control and things you can’t}

Daily Evening Journal Prompts

Are you a night owl? Well these journal prompts are for you. They are slightly adapted from the morning journal prompts but have the same effect meaning that you go to sleep with a fresh perspective and hopefully it means you don’t overthink and struggle to sleep at night too.

  1. Today, I struggled with… {what you didn’t do as well as you hoped}
  2. Today, I wished I had {what you should have done differently}
  3. Tomorrow, I’m looking forward to… {what plans you have}
  4. Tomorrow, I’m going to feel… {insert how you would like to feel}
  5. Tomorrow, I’m in control of… {list things you can control and things you can’t}

BONUS! If you’re more of a ‘zoomed out’ planner type of person who likes to review progress over a longer timeframe like monthly or yearly, I’ve added an additional 11 journal prompts for mental health improvement for you!

Monthly Mental Health Journal Prompts

  1. I struggled with… because…
  2. Last month, my mental health has been… because…
  3. This month, my mental health will be… because…
  4. I’m thankful for… because…
  5. I’m looking forward to…

Yearly Mental Health Journal Prompts

  1. I recognise that… happened but I won’t let it stop me…
  2. I am working towards improving… because…
  3. My goal for next year is to…
  4. The relationships that didn’t work this year were… because…
  5. The relationships I’m working on improving are…
  6. I’m going to make an effort to improve…

These journal prompts can be used as a starting point for writing mental health-related journal entries, but feel free to adapt or personalize them to suit your needs.

Mental Health Journals

If you’re in the market for a new journal for writing down the list of mental health prompts then here’s our #1 recommended mental health journal that is high quality and not too expensive either. It has gorgeous gold line work with a familiar graphic as the main notebook cover image. It’s available to buy on Amazon (USA) here »

Buy a journal to write journal prompts for mental health improvement
Buy For Mental Health Journalling ($11.99)
Mental health journal prompts including inspiring daily quotes and things you are grateful for.
Buy For Daily Gratitude Practices ($28.99)

Mental Health Journal Prompt FAQs

How can journaling help me manage my mental health better?

Journaling can help you better manage your mental health in a number of ways. One of the most important benefits is that it allows you to communicate with yourself in a safe and healthy way. Writing about your day, thoughts, and emotions can help you reflect on your experiences and set goals for the future. It can also be helpful in relieving troubling emotions and helping you work through difficult mental challenges.

How can writing in a journal help me connect with my emotions and heal from trauma?

Journaling can be a powerful way of connecting with your emotions and healing from trauma. Writing in a journal allows you to process and work through difficult thoughts, feelings, and memories. Additionally, journaling offers an opportunity for self-compassion as you let go of tough times.

What should I write about when I’m feeling down or stressed?

When you’re feeling down or stressed, it’s easy to let negative thoughts take over. But by focusing on your mental health each morning, you can start the day off on the right foot and be more likely to stick to healthy habits throughout the day. Instead of letting negative thoughts rule your mind, try writing about your thoughts and feelings in a journal every day. This way, you can get your thoughts out there and process them in a constructive way. Plus, writing can help you feel better in general, so you’re less likely to dwell on the negative. Use the list of journal prompts for mental health improvement specifically.

What are some things I can do to start my day off on the right foot?

Starting your day off with positive thoughts and gratitude can help you to have a more positive outlook on life. Here are three things you can do to help set the tone using journal prompts for mental health improvement:

  1. Spend some time each day reflecting on the good things that have happened in your life over the past 24 hours or so. This can be something as simple as writing down what happened during the day or taking pictures and documenting your positive experiences.
  2. Give yourself permission to cry, laugh, or feel any other emotions during your journey – mental health is about letting go! expressive therapy, journaling, self-care techniques, etc. allow us to process our feelings in a healthy way and may help to reduce negative thoughts and feelings associated with stress or anxiety.
  3. Make a list of things you’re grateful for every morning and review it before bed. This can be a challenging but ultimately rewarding practice since it prompts you to think about the good things in your life in a new way.

What benefits have people found from regularly writing in journals for mental health purposes?

Many people believe that journaling is a great way to reduce stress, anxiety, and depression. In fact, journaling has been shown to be one of the most effective ways of coping with mental health issues. When you journal, you’re more likely to think more constructively because you’re able to reflect on your thoughts and experiences in an organized way. This can help to improve your coping mechanisms for mental health days, by teaching you how to handle difficult situations in a positive way.

Conclusion

As you can see, the evidence is strong! Journaling is a great way to improve mental health by allowing you to express your thoughts and emotions in a safe and private space. It allows you to practice self-care and by following these prompts, you can start your day with a sense of clarity and peace, which will help you to start the day on a positive note. So, why not give journaling a try today? You might be surprised at just how beneficial it can be!

Charlie Penwarden

Former mental health nurse turned consultant with a critical focus on human behaviour research analysis and the optimisation of mental health management to prevent illness and promote life harmony.