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Personal Development

Journal Prompts That Are As Good As Therapy

Life has thrown us more than a few curve balls this season, and I don’t know about you, but I am sick to death of swinging and missing. I am ready for peace, some kindness, and some rest. I am ready for things to make sense and for a path forward to begin unfolding at my feet. In this blog, we will talk about ways to process through tough emotions and understand yourself better with a key mental clarity tool: journaling. I cover 10 journal prompts that may just give you as much insight as an hour of therapy!

When Life is A Storm

Shit is hard out there. Maybe things have changed a lot, or maybe they have not changed at all for way too long. Maybe what you thought was going to happen didn’t. Maybe what you really had your heart set on didn’t work out, and instead, your worst case scenarios came crashing in. Maybe, right now, because of all of this, you are struggling with an ocean of feelings you don’t understand and can’t control. In times just before bed or when things get quiet and the ocean swells up, you feel like you want to drown or fly because you never learned how to swim. Well, I am here to tell you what you already know, that the only way out is through. The only way to dry land is to learn to swim, float, or surf the waves of emotion to a better understanding of yourself.

Learning to Swim

If 2020 gave us any gift, it was this ocean of feelings. The gift is to see how much feeling we are really capable of and to hopefully take the opportunity to make peace with it; to learn how to tread water during tough times. Way easier said than done. One way to do this is to have someone hold space for you while you try to make sense of your feelings; someone to wade into the water with you and maybe hold your hand while you learn. This can be a trusted friend or it can even be a therapist, counselor, or other mental health professional.

I highly recommend if you have this help available to you that you take it. One of the most useful things I did (and still do) in my healing journey was to find a solid person to hold space for me and teach me new tools. For me, that was PIVOT. I especially like PIVOT because the coaches cover expertly curated tools like inner-child work, attachment styles, and boundary setting. It was truly life-changing for me, but if you are not able to connect with a therapist or coach, there is still so much you can do.

Teaching Yourself to Swim With Journaling

In addition to getting movement, nutrition, sunlight, and support, it is super important to get quality alone time. Alone time to process what is happening in our internal landscape is one of the best free forms of therapy. Just allowing time and space for thoughts, emotions, reactions, tears, anger, releases, can be medicine. It is hard to do though. It is hard to have enough self-discipline to sit down and make time for it. That is why we plan it out and we use tools. The tool we are talking about here is journaling. This is a way to get it out, sort it out, and process it. If you are looking for a new journaling practice that can be just as good as therapy, you are in the right place.

How to Get The Most Out of a Journaling Session

Get your Tools

When choosing to write in a journal, be intentional about it. Get an actual journal. Find something that resonates with you, whether that is a silly cover with a meme on it or a fancy leather-bound book, choose something that you will want to use. Next, pick out a nice pen that won’t quit on you one sentence in. Find something that is a color that you like, that feels good to write with, and that doesn’t make a mess everywhere. It sounds weird, but having a good pen makes a difference. I know you are with me on that because most of you are out there protecting your favorite pen from people who ask to borrow it (Nope, this one is mine, but you can use this other broken blue pen haha!).

Find Your Perfect Journaling Space

Once you have your tools, find your space. You will want to choose a space where you will be comfortable and where you will not be interrupted. Somewhere where the temperature is good and there will not be a lot of traffic. If you can, find a place in solitude in case you want to express some kind of emotion (cry, scream, rock, grunt, sigh).

Set a Time and Duration

Journaling can be done in two ways; one is when you feel the need arise and the other is as a ritual whether you want to or not. Both of these are great outlets and each can provide a healing experience full of insight and discovery, It is up to you how you want to approach it. My suggestion is that you start with a ritual and a goal, but then be flexible to add on if you want to as well.

Try something like “I will journal for 5 minutes every morning for the next 5 days”. In the next 5 days, if 5 minutes turns into 45 minutes, that is great. If one time a day turned into 6 times a day, that is okay too. If the morning does not work for this day, get it done in the evening or afternoon. Set the ritual and then also let life happen.

Choose an Journaling Energy

Journaling and every other healing modality all exist on a spectrum. At one end is the divine masculine energy and at the other end is the divine feminine energy. This is not a gender binary model, rather one that recognizes the existence of both polarities and also recognizes the myriad of possibilities in the middle. We are all a combination of both energies. We all have the opportunity to call in and learn from both energies.

I invite you to think about the approach to journaling on this spectrum. On the masculine end, there is order, reason, and structure. On the feminine end, there is flow, intuition, and creativity. A ritual where you do it regardless of whether you feel like it or not fits into the masculine section best. An intuition-based design where you write it out when the opportunity strikes fits into the feminine section best. Why not do both?

Choosing a Journaling Prompt

If you are feeling stuck and numb, taking a ritualistic masculine approach to journaling may be helpful. The structure and the order may calm and ease you into the state of journaling better than the wide-open creativity of the feminine will. If you are feeling emotional and overwhelmed, it may be best to throw order to the wind and just get it all out on paper however it fits and whenever it comes.

Journaling Prompts With Masculine Energy

Here is a list of Journal prompts for when you are feeling stuck and numb and want to tap into that ritualistic masculine energy for comfort and stability:

  • Write a list of the most common emotions you have had in the past week. Then briefly write the scenario that the emotion showed up in, the action you took, and the action you would rather have taken (if different).
  • What is important in your life? Break your life up into five of the most important parts. How are you performing in each part? What is the lowest-performing part? What can you do to address this one part of your life?
  • Evaluate the relationships that are most important to you. Choose one (spouse, parent, best friend, co-worker). What is the value proposition in this relationship? What do you get out of it? Write and think only about the good things, the value adds.
  • Make a list of all of the things you are proud of yourself for doing in the past year. Strive for between 10 and 25 things.
  • Make a list of all of the things you are proud of yourself for being in the past year. Strive for between 10 and 25 things.

Journaling Prompts With Feminine Energy

Here is a list of journal prompts for when you are feeling emotional and overwhelmed and you want to tap into that feminine energy for release and flow:

  • What is alive in you right now? What is begging to come out, to be created? Is there a next step that can be taken in that direction? If so, what is that step, and can you commit to it?
  • Where are you feeling unmet needs? What are you longing for? What is that feeling teaching you? Are you in a place where you can learn that lesson and integrate it into your life? If not, why?
  • What parts of play spark joy? Think of the last time you felt joy, what was it like? What had to happen to get you to that feeling? How did you make it last?
  • What is the happiest moment you can remember? Write it like a story, tell all the juicy details. Pull the reader into the experience of it. How does it make you feel to remember this? (it may make you feel sad and that is okay).
  • Think about a moment 6 months in the future. Envision the best happiest version of yourself that you could possibly be in that moment. What would be happening right then? What would you be doing? What would be going on around you? Who would you be with? What had to happen to get to that place?

Bonus Journaling Prompt

This prompt is in the energy of the Divine famine, so if you are feeling creative and freeform, I highly recommend you give this a try.

What would it be like to feel powerfully creative and free to express authentically in your sexuality? What would change and why? Take time to understand this question. Read it a few times. Systematically challenge and remove any blocks that come up when thinking about an answer. No one has to read this anyway. What would it be like if you truly answered just for yourself in the most authentic way? Sexuality, play, creativity, and connection can be beautiful gateways to healing the self. If you are not ready to answer this yet, write it down in your new journal anyway and come back to it when it calls to you later.

Putting Pen to Paper

Once you are done journaling, you have a few options. The most usual is to keep it for yourself for review at another time. The second option is to release it; rip it up or burn it. The last option is to share it with a trusted friend. Sharing can be great medicine, or it can be a form of over-disclosure. Make sure that who you are sharing with has your best interest in mind, can hold space for you, will not try to fix or change anything, and will not take anything personal. Equally important, avoid sharing as a means to gain external validation from someone else. This is all for and about you!

I hope you get solitude. I hope you get alone time so painful that it catapults you in to your ocean of feelings, and when you feel like you are about to drown, I hope you remember that you are an expert swimmer and this is your time to rise. It does not have to be easy, pretty, or fun, but it does have to be… exactly the way it is. I hope these journal prompts help you swim to the shore and then I hope to see you there. You are worth it!

Get More Support

These are hard things to do, and again, congratulations on doing the work and showing up for yourself. We get better at these skills by practicing in a safe container. If you are in need of a safe container to practice relational skills, consider my 1:1 Coaching Package to get started on being more authentic and creating safety in your intimate relationships.