Some days, you feel on top of the world. On other days, there seems to be a rain cloud hovering above you. Maybe today isn't your day.

A person getting soaked by a raincloud.

It's perfectly normal to experience bad days. However, it's important to not let them drag you down.

With reflection and positive affirmations, you can process your emotions and thoughts to lift your mood. Use these4 journaling prompts for ideas that will help you move forward.

#1: Identify your feelings

When going through difficult times, it's important to be honest about your emotions. Acknowledging how you feel is the first step to addressing the core of what you are experiencing.

A boy says,

Some words that might pinpoint how you feel include:

  • unhappy

  • anxious

  • overwhelmed

  • stressed

Remind yourself that you're human and that it's okay to be down sometimes. Let your emotions go by transferring them onto paper.

Flaticon Icon Use these journaling prompts to navigate your feelings:

  • What 3 words would I use to describe how I feel?

  • What can I compare my feeling/pain to? (ex. an experience, an object)

  • What colors match the way I feel right now?

#2: Explore why you're feeling this way

Think about why you are feeling this way. Knowing the cause of your feelings can help you address the issue and move forward.Use your journal to explore your thoughts and find the root of your emotions.

A woman journaling in her bed.

The causes of your feelings might be:

  • Something changed your environment/plans/relationships

  • Someone you care about has been affected/has affected you

  • You're under a lot of pressure/managing many expectations

  • You don't feel confident in yourself/your abilities

Your feelings are unique to you, so take time to explore the why of your emotions.

Flaticon Icon Use these journaling prompts to explore why you feel a certain way:

  • What is making me feel this way?

  • When was the last time I felt this way?

You might find more than one reason for your emotion, which is okay. It's also okay if you can't identify the exact cause of your feelings.

There is no right or wrong answer. Your experiences and reactions are unique and valid to you, so give yourself space to explore your thoughts.


Kayli is experiencing another bad day. She is answering the journaling prompt, "When was the last time I felt this way?" In what case might this prompt be most effective?

#3: Let your emotions go

Baymax pats Hiro on the head.

Release the negative emotions onto paper. Use the space to vent and create.

Use your journal pages as your canvas. You can make your message and ideas as artistic, direct, or messy as you like.

Release the pressure inside of you and talk as if the paper was a friend listening to all of your worries. This is the stage to help you move forward, so don't limit your thoughts or solutions to just one thing.

Flaticon Icon Use these journaling prompts to release your feelings onto paper:

  • What do I need to let go of? (ex. a fear, a person, a bad memory)

  • If I could say one thing to ___, I would tell them...

  • What is something I can do that will make me feel better?

#4: Connect your feelings to positives

End on a high note with a positive affirmation. It's important to shift your focus from the negative to the positive in order to move forward. Being kind to yourself and setting positive intentions will help you come out as a better person.

A wheel of positive affirmations starting with

Flaticon Icon

Use with these journaling prompts to generate affirmations that will set a positive tone:

  • What did I gain/learn from this experience? (ex. a skill)

  • What has this challenge taught me? (ex. an aspect of yourself)

  • What is something I can look forward to?

For more ideas on writing positive affirmations, check out this Byte.


Neva is ending her journaling with a positive affirmation. What are some affirmations that can help her move forward? Select all that apply.

Take Action

It's normal to have bad days, but it's also important to find a productive way tomove forward. Taking the time to reflect upon your emotions and change your mindset can help you become more optimistic toward better days.

A man says,

On days when you're not at the top of your game, release that negative energy! Respond to journaling prompts that:


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