Many of us have kept a journal or diary at some point in our life. Whether it be to reflect upon your day or vent about how stressful life is, writing down your thoughts can shape your attitude towards life.
According to Kaiser Permanente Healthcare, journaling supports self-care by tracking your growth and progress.
With the right ideas to guide your writing, you can shape your outlook on life to be more positive and beautiful with these 4 journaling prompts.
#1: Talk about your day
This classic journal prompt is simple and reflective: talk about your day. Since your journal will only be read by you, share your thoughts and feelings about what happened. Reflection can release the day's stress from you to the paper.
Creating bullet points of things that stood out to you
Writing about one specific event
Retelling your day in chronological order from the time you woke up to you writing right now
Ending your entry with goals you have for the next day
Activity: Mix and match these ideas to your preferences!
#2: Express appreciation for someone
We often forget to appreciate the people in our lives and how much of a difference they make. Think about a person you care about and how different things would be had you two never met.
Write a letter of appreciation to that person. Talk about how much they mean to you and why.
How they make you feel
What would be different had you two never met
This exercise highlights how important relationships are to your well-being and happiness.
Activity: Write this letter for yourself or give it to that special person!
Kathy is thinking about how her brother Pedro has always stood up for her. How might writing a letter of appreciation help her have a more positive outlook on life? Select all that apply.
#3: Make a list of things you're grateful for
As with people, think about the things you're grateful to have.
There are many things to be grateful for:
Basic needs — shelter, food
Everyday things — the Internet, music
Functions — the ability to exercise, good health
Things in the moment — the smell of coffee, relaxing outside
Experiences — your first time doing something, overcoming challenges
Achievements — graduation, your career
Within yourself/others —passions, friendship, support
The universe — sunrise, life itself
Activity: List 3 things you're grateful for today!
#4: Balance positives and setbacks
Balance the positives and setbacks in life with this rose and thorn exercise. The University of Colorado Boulder suggests this activity to reflect upon your successes and areas for growth.
Draw a rose (or any flower) and create a two-column table with "rose" on the left and "thorn" on the right. For "rose," list as many good things that you've recently experienced as you can. Put setbacks or "downs" that come to mind in the "thorn" column.
Try to list more positives over negatives. For example, if you're reflecting on your day:
Someone brought me coffee today!
I saw a rainbow after a week of rain.
I was given an extension for my next report.
I saw a cute dog on the way out of the office, and the owner let me pet it!
I woke up late and had to skip breakfast.
I was in traffic for over an hour.
I didn't email my report on time.
This activity highlights life's ups and downs; times may be challenging (thorns), but there is always something beautiful to look forward to (rose petals). Look how the positives outnumber the negatives!
Activity: List the roses and thorns of your day!
Ivan is doing the rose and thorn activity. What are some things he might put under the "rose" column? Select all that apply.
Journaling your thoughts, experiences, and appreciation can help you achieve a more positive outlook on life. Taking the time to reflect upon your life not only helps you remember the little things that make life so wonderful but also reminds you to look forward to your future.
Whenever you're stuck on what to write, consider these journaling prompts to help you become more optimistic about life: