Journaling helps you cope
with and reduce stress
- Teaches you to use a healthy coping mechanism
- Helps you to express difficult emotions
Organizes your thoughts
- Helps you understand patterns of behavior; how you’ve changed and grown, and how you’ve overcome hardships. Journaling can help you see the unhealthy things you do and lead you to choose a new path forward in becoming a healthier you.
Can help with difficult experiences and trauma
- Assists with emotional catharsis – emotions come out instead of being held in.
This leads to better emotional regulation, where you don’t have so many big ups and downs.
- Journaling and telling your story can bring new meaning to your experiences and may help with the brain’s need to retell the story (rumination). Additionally, telling your story privately and safely can open the door to share your story with someone you trust, which can connect you to social support, another valuable coping strategy.
Timing is important
- Journaling can be tough at first and a certain level of discomfort and emotional ups and
downs are to be expected. But if the trauma is too fresh or painful it’s ok to take a little more time to jump into journaling. Engage in another healthy coping mechanism in the meantime until you’re ready to tell your story.
READY TO TRY JOURNALING?
Browse through the categories below for
potential ideas to get you started:
- Do a status check and list all the emotions you are feeling–what came up first? What is that emotion telling you?
- What do you think about when you cannot fall asleep? What kinds of emotions do these thoughts bring up?
- What helps you calm down when you are mad or upset?
- Is there an emotion that you find the most “uncomfortable/difficult” to experience?
- Where is one place that you feel safe? What is it about that place that makes you feel safe? Is there a person there that helps you feel that way?
- List 8-10 things that make you feel happy or make you smile. What is it about these things that make you happy?
- What is the hardest emotion you have had in the last week? What thoughts did you have when this emotion came up? What caused this emotion?
- What do you feel in your body when you feel anger? Sadness? Anxiety?
- What about joy or excitement?
- What emotion comes up the most frequently in your life? What happens before that emotion comes up?
- Is there an emotion that is (was) more “acceptable” to show in your family?
- Are there emotions that are not accepted?
- Is there a self-care activity that works best when you want to “boost” your mood positively?
- What would you invent to make life better for yourself?
- If you could know one thing about what the future holds, what would it be and why?
- What is a goal that I can set for myself in the next 24 hours? This week? This month? This year?
- What is your dream job? Are there steps you could take now that get you closer?
- What is something that is true about you and that no one can change?
- Describe what your life looks like (or what you are like) 10 years from now.
- What is stopping you from doing the thing you want to do most?
- What is one way you can reward yourself if you accomplish a goal you work towards?
- What do you think courage means? What was a time where you were courageous?
What is a time that you wish you were more courageous?
- What does the term “The grass is always greener on the other side” mean to you? Can you think of a time when you thought that this would be true? What did you do?
- How do you define yourself? Is there something about the way you define yourself that you wish more people would understand?
- What are four qualities you like about yourself? What do you like about them?
- What is the biggest area you would like to improve in? What are three things/actions that can help you start to improve in this area?
- What is your biggest pet peeve (situation or behavior that you find incredibly annoying) and why?
- Make a list of 5 things you are grateful for (can you strive to identify at least one thing every day?)
- What makes you feel powerful?
- When mistakes are made—is it easier to forgive others or yourself? Why is that?
- What is the best compliment that you have ever received?
- What is one of your happiest memories? What makes this memory special?
- What are three positive words that describe who you are?
Why did you choose those words to describe yourself?
- What is/are your greatest strength(s)? How does this manifest in your life?
- Describe a time you’ve succeeded at something. What was it? How did you succeed?
How did it make you feel?
- What is a lesson you learned after a difficult experience?
- What would the best day look like in your eyes?
- What are some things that you would do if you were not afraid of doing them? What can you do to help you push through those fears?
- What does success mean to you? What is something that you want to do that would make you feel successful?
- Who are your role models or the people you respect and admire most? Why?
- Do you have a favorite quote? Why is it meaningful?
- Do you think that the high school experience can be improved for teens? How?
- If you could give advice to a class of “soon-to-be/new” parents—what would you tell them about parenting kids/teens today?
- What is your favorite time of day and why?
- If you could fly anywhere, where would you go? What would happen once you get there? When would you want to go?
- What would happen if there was no television? What would be the positives and what would be the negatives?
- If you could take 3 people on a trip with you around the world, who would you take?
Where would you go and why? Would you want to travel by plane, boat or another mode of transportation?
- What actor/actress would play you in a story about your life?
- If you had to describe yourself as a color, which would you choose and why?
- Where would you like to be right now, the desert, mountains or beach? Why would you want to go there?
- What item can you not live without? Why does it mean so much to you?
- If you could have any superpower, what would it be and why?
- What’s your favorite anime/ movie/ tv character? Why are they your favorite?
- If you won a million dollars, what would you do?
- Describe in detail what your dream home would look like (and where it is located).
- What is your favorite movie/book/song and why do you love it?
This project was supported by Grant Number 90CA1855 from the Administration on Children, Youth and Families, Children’s Bureau, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. The opinions, findings, conclusions and recommendations expressed in this publication are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Administration on Children, Youth and Families, Children’s Bureau, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.