Right now, there is a lot of stress, anxiety, and fear going around, and chances are, you’ve experienced it yourself. Whether you’re a parent trying to figure out a new routine with and for your kids, a professional working through the balancing act, a student running into the obstacles of social and academic pressures or all of the above, every person is facing their own challenges in their own way.
There are so many suggestions out there to try and help combat all of the overwhelming emotions: getting enough sleep, setting up a schedule for yourself and your family, eating healthy meals, staying active, talking with friends… The list goes on. But did you know that journaling is another great way to reduce stress and anxiety? And the research is here to back it up!
How Journaling Affects Our Minds
According to The University of Rochester Medical Center, journaling can help you manage anxiety, reduce stress, cope with depression, and improve your mood by helping you prioritize problems and track your symptoms so you can learn your triggers and control them.
Journaling can also enhance your sense of well-being, improve your working memory, and boost your mood.
Okay, so now what? Sure, journaling is great, but it can be hard to get started. The key to making journaling a part of your routine is getting started! So grab an old notebook you’ve got lying around, and choose one, two, or more of the questions below to answer each day. If every day feels like too big of a commitment, start with just three times a week!
What are 5 good things that happened today?
What’s one thing you can do differently tomorrow to help it be a better day than today?
What’s one adjustment you can make to your routine to help set up the day for success?
What’s the main source of your stress or anxiety? Can you do anything about it?
What are 10 things that make you happy right now?
What are 3 things you can do daily to be a positive influence for others?
How did/will you exercise your mind, body, and spirit today?
What’s one thing that happened today that you’re still trying to process/understand?
Did you feel anxious or worried today? When did it start? What caused the feeling?
Who are two people in your life that mean a lot to you and why?
What’s one thing that would have to change for you to feel completely satisfied?
Is there anything that is consistently disturbing your inner peace?
What do you not like to talk about? Why not?
What is one thing you learned today?
If you were completely free of fear, what would you be doing differently today?
What’s one thing that you’re proud of yourself for?
What decisions could you make today/tomorrow that could improve your mental, emotional, and/or physical health?
What’s one habit that you would like to correct? What are some steps you can take toward correcting that habit?
What are you most ashamed of right now? Why?
What are 3 things that you did really well today?
Journaling is a great way to understand your thoughts, gain self-awareness, and process the world around you. And now is a great time to start!
These journal topic suggestions can get you to thinking!
Journaling isn’t just for school. It can help your kids in a variety of personal ways that can also help you as a parent tune into your kids. Sometimes your kids will be willing to share their thoughts with you, but they will often put something into writing that they might not say to you.
Let’s be honest — even with school and everything else that’s going on, your kids probably need some constructive things to do. Journaling can fire their imagination, improve their writing skills, and cultivate self-awareness. Plus it can be fun and give you something to start a conversation! Make it part of their daily routine — maybe the first thing they do after breakfast or the last thing they do before bed.
So, take a look around the house — is there an empty composition book or notebook you can put together? Kids love their electronic devices, but I would only use them as an absolute last resort. You can make up the topics, but try to make them as open-ended as possible or add a “Why?” at the end. Of course, keep topics appropriate for your child’s age and interests. Below are a bunch of journal topic suggestions to get you thinking! But to review just a few of the benefits of journaling for your child…
Clarify their thoughts and feelings
Help them know themselves better
Reduce their stress
Give you insight into how they are dealing with our current situation.
BONUS: Here’s a great resource of journaling promptsfor both you and your child to practice mindfulness. If that word sounds scary or unfamiliar, mindfulness just means that you’re practicing narrowing your focus and sharpening your attention, which is obviously so helpful for children!
List of things that make me happy.
I wish I knew more about __________ because….
What is something that is important to my family?
When it comes to schoolwork, what has been your favorite thing you learned?
My favorite part of last week was…
Three things I’d like to talk about.
If I could rename the colors of crayons…
What is my favorite dessert and why?
Use your creativity to describe and draw a new creature or animal.
If my dog or cat could talk, it would say things like…
I was proud when I __________
Five things I’m good at are…
If a genie granted me three wishes…
What would you choose if you were in charge of the weather?
My favorite holiday is…
What would happen if you found gold in your backyard?
If animals could talk, what questions would you like to ask them?
Who would you be if you could have been someone in history? Why?
I taught someone how to…
You can only take 3 people with you on a trip around the world, who would you take?
If you could give any gift in the world, what would you give and to whom?
The house was so quiet, but then I heard…
If you could live anywhere in the world, where would it be?
Let’s say you received any sum of money as a gift. What would you do with it?
Did you ever catch fireflies? Crickets? Frogs? Snakes? Why/why not?
What was your most difficult or most joyous life experience?
List one of your pet peeves and write about why it annoys you.
What is something that you appreciate about your parents? Why?
Write about a window you broke or something valuable you lost.
What would happen if it suddenly started raining spaghetti and meatballs?
Describe the perfect date.
What is courage? What is the most courageous thing you have done?
Describe a hero. It can be either someone you know or simply qualities of a hero.
What is your favorite activity? Who do you do it with? Why do you think you enjoy it?
Write about a good book you’ve read recently.
What will you do differently when you’re a parent? Why?
Do you spend too much time with electronic devices? Why/why not?
What do you think should have or should NOT have been invented and why?
List one major world problem and how you think we should solve it.
Do you think that there is or ever was life on another planet?
What is the most important issue facing teens your age today?
Were you ever given a responsibility that you couldn’t handle?
Describe the best concert you ever attended.
Write about a time you tried to help and ended up making things worse.
Did you ever break an important promise?
Write about moving to another city or neighborhood or house.
Did you ever meet a famous person? Interact with them on social media?
Describe a car or bicycle accident you were in.
If you could spend a day spent in another country, which would you choose? Why?
Describe a time that you outsmarted someone.
Write about going shopping for new clothes.
Did you ever turn someone in or tell on someone and feel bad about it later?
Was there a time your parents embarrassed you?
Can you remember a time you gave someone good advice? What was it?