Keeping a Stress Diary: Journal Prompts to Help You Relax

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If stress is making you feel overwhelmed every day, do not worry because there are lots of ways to relieve at least some of that stress.

One of the most-effective ways to reduce stress is to keep a journal because it allows you to let out your frustrations in a safe and private environment.

If you’re so stressed that you can’t think of a way to start writing on any given day, writing prompts can help. Prompts are ideas to help you start writing, and you’ll be surprised how well they work.

Let’s take a look at some of them.

1.  Journal Prompts for Stress

Write down three things that you are grateful for, and keep in mind that it can be anything. This includes people, animals, situations, nature, a class, your church, or anything else that you love and appreciate having in your life.

Write all three of them down and then go into more detail about all of them so that you’ve listed not just what you’re grateful for, but also why you’re grateful for it.

When you’re stressed, it also helps to know in what part of the body the stress is found. This can help you target that area as you do stretching exercises to work the muscle and make it more supple and relaxed.

2.  Journal Prompts for Overthinking

If you overthink things, it can cause unnecessary stress in your life. There are numerous prompts for overthinking, and one of them starts with determining what your number-one concern is. Write down this concern and think about it as long as possible.

Then, think about how this stressor will affect your life one year from now. It is going to affect your life a lot? A little? Also, write down exactly how it’s going to affect your life.

You might be surprised to discover that some of the things you’re stressing out over aren’t really that important after all. If you feel that this stressor won’t matter to you one year from now, the problem may have just been solved.

3.  Mental Health Journal Prompt Generator

If you’re mentally stressed, you might suffer from depression and an overall feeling of dread and sadness. To get started writing in your journal, put practicality aside and ask yourself how your life would look if you had everything you wanted.

Also, what would the perfect vacation or trip away from home look like if you could plan it yourself and money was no object? Let your ideas flow freely and write down all of the things that you believe would make your life just what you want it to be.

This may sound like something that may increase your stress since you’re writing about a fantasy world. Instead, it gives you an idea of what part of your life you’d like to improve and gives you a feeling of control in the end.

4.  Journal Prompts to Start the Day

To start the day with a fresh outlook, you have to clear your mind and increase your energy level. When you write in your journal at the beginning of the day, think about anything positive that has happened to you in the past week.

What was it? How did it make you feel? Write in your journal about that positive feeling or experience, and go into great detail. You also need to push aside any negativity and concentrate only on that positive experience and nothing else.

As you write, keep pushing aside any negative thoughts so that all of your thoughts are positive and upbeat. Just the change in attitude can help you start the day off right and increase the odds that you’ll have an absolutely great day.

5.  Questions About My Journal

If you’re new to journaling, you’re likely to have a lot of questions, but keep in mind that journaling for mental health is the same as journaling for any other purpose.

Writing in a journal is personal and individualized to each person. You can decide exactly what to write about and have specific goals in mind, but each day can be different.

No one is going to see your journal, so you can write anything that you wish in it. It’s up to you if you’d prefer to keep it locked.

You can choose any type of journal (pen and paper, a book, or even a digital journal), but it’s better if you write in it every day, even if all you write is a few sentences or include a drawing there.

6.  Journal Challenge – Banish Negative Thoughts

If you’re stressed, it’s hard to completely get rid of negative thoughts, but there are some things you can do to make it a little easier.

To start off, list three positive things that have happened to you lately, and complement that by listing three strengths you have that you feel are unique and special. Everyone has talents and skills, so think hard about what yours are and elaborate on them in your journal.

Meditating on a daily basis can also keep your positive energy up, and you don’t need a book or lessons to meditate the right way. Just slip on some comfortable clothes, sit in a comfortable position, listen to some soft music, and clear your mind of anything negative.

Keep doing your deep breathing for 10 to 15 minutes, gradually increasing the time once you start to feel more comfortable with it.

7.  “How Are You Really” Journal

This one can be tough and requires you to be completely honest with yourself. Write down how you feel physically and mentally, write down any stressors that are keeping you awake at night, and most importantly, write down how you feel about everything that’s going on in your life.

If you write down both the “good” and the “bad,” you’ll discover a starting point that can help you improve in every way.

Don’t think of it as a negative experience. Being honest with yourself is always a good thing, especially if you consider it a way to improve yourself in the end.

Once you’ve listed both the positive and negative things going on in your psyche, you can easily improve yourself from there.

8.  Journal Prompts for Personal Growth

One of the things that you can do to grow on a personal level is write on a variety of topics that change each day, and write 15 minutes on each topic. The topics can include, “how can I start my business,” “how can I write a book,” or “what do I want out of life”?

If you write for just 15 minutes per day and never prepare for your session, you might be surprised when you start reading what you wrote down in your journal.

Even better, wait until you’ve had three to five days’ worth of these activities before you start reading what you wrote. It should teach you a lot about yourself, but it’ll also do you some good.

9.  Journaling Prompts for Depression

When you’re depressed, it’s sometimes difficult to write in your journal, but it can actually be very therapeutic and even help with your depressed moods.

You can go in one of several directions, including: write down every single thing that is causing you sadness and worry, phrases or quotes that always make you feel better, affirmations that portray a can-do attitude, and even song lyrics that help you feel more grounded.

The goal of this exercise is to give you a shot of motivation and self-confidence and hopefully even put a smile on your face. The more self-confident you feel, the more your depression will subside, so the exercise is more valuable than you think.

10.  Journaling for Motivation

Motivation is often easy to lose but can be very difficult to get back, so the first thing you have to do is brainstorm and write down things that make you feel better about yourself and what motivates or doesn’t motivate you.

Let’s say you’re trying to land the perfect job. What motivates you at your place of employment? Money? Helping others? Being by yourself with a computer all day? Once you decide what motivates you deep within, you can start to increase your level of motivation.

Motivation can be difficult to figure out because what motivates one person may not affect another person at all.

The thing is that once you decide for yourself what your main motivators are, you can figure out what you’re supposed to do with your life so you can enjoy it and live it to its fullest.


If you’re experiencing stress in your life, keeping a stress diary can help. Writing prompts can help get you started, and there are tons of these prompts available.

Whether you’re trying to identify your stressors, increase your motivation level, fight depression, or simply figure out what you’re supposed to do with your life, writing in a journal every day using one or more of these prompts can be a huge help.

Writing in a journal daily is recommended, as is complete honesty as you write. Whatever your goal is, it’s a lot easier to accomplish if you are always honest in your writing.


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