If you’ve ever cracked open a self-help book or fallen into a wellness rabbit hole on Instagram, you’ll know that journaling often tops the list of ways to feel more connected to yourself and those around you. And while you may know the benefits of journaling, getting yourself to put pen to paper on any type of regular basis is tough. Which is exactly why we’ve put together this list of creative journal prompts to help get the words flowing onto the page, and to get to know yourself a little better in the process.

There’s a reason why many of us take up journaling as teens as we search for who we are in the midst of hormone shifts and changing environments.

Getting our feelings out on paper can help us process thoughts, deepening our understanding of ourselves and our place in the world around us. These 15 creative journal prompts keep that sense of self-discovery in mind – but don’t require you do drag up and examine the same painful memories or sore subjects each time you sit down to write. Instead, they are meant to be topics you can explore every day, in as little as 5 minutes. So find a quiet spot, pull out your notebook, and get writing.

image by kristen kilpatrick

image by ashley kane

Connecting with Yourself

If you’re unsure about where to start journaling, prompts that encourage you to connect with yourself are always a great way to get your juices flowing. The key here — as with all journaling exercises, really — is to be as honest as possible. Now is not the time to sugar-coat or dress up your feelings to make others more comfortable. Listen to what your mind and heart is telling you, and start to process what both are saying on the page.

  • Write about a moment you experienced through your body.
  • How do you spend your time? How do you want to be spending your time? What’s stopping you from doing so?
  • What three things could you let go that would give you more time, energy, and peace?
  • What are the questions you need answers to?
  • How can you be kinder to yourself today?
  • When was the last time you stopped yourself from speaking up? What held you back in that moment?

image by susanna howe for domino

Connecting with Others

It’s no secret that we often feel lost when our connections with the people around us are frayed. So these prompts are all designed to help you evaluate the connections you’re actively making each and every day — the good, the bad, and the ugly included. Once you have a clear picture of how the people in your life are affecting you, and the type of interactions you feel the most fulfilled by, you’ll be able to make the positive changes you need to feel more meaningfully connected to everyone you meet.

  • List 3-5 of the people you spend the most time with. How are they effecting you? How do they influence your life?
  • Who do you envy in life? What’s holding you back from achieving what they have?
  • What are the qualities you value most in your relationships? Who in your life has those qualities?
  • What does the word community mean to you? Who comes to mind when you think about your community?

image by jenny sathngam

Connecting with the World Around You

Journaling is often about embracing the thoughts racing around in your brain, and quieting your mind by physically organizing them on paper. But we don’t always have the energy to tackle those messy thoughts and feelings, and that’s totally okay. So when you need a break from — well — you, focus instead on connecting to the environment you live in. These creative journal prompts are all designed to help you notice the little things, whether it be the way clean sheets smell or that favorite patch of flowers in your neighborhood, so you can feel less swept up by the big things going on in your life. 

  • Describe 3 small instances of beauty you witnessed today.
  • What about your environment inspires you? What can you do to invite more of that in?
  • When was the last time you really noticed the space around you? Bring that space to life here.
  • Where is your favorite place in the world? What makes it so great?
  • If you could live anywhere, where would it be? Why?
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