There’s no one-size-fits-all cure for depression.
That’s why we also need to explore other ways to feel better. Some of these are simple, such as eating healthy and getting enough sleep.
But there’s another therapeutic way to deal with depression. And it involves putting your thoughts to paper.
Journaling doesn’t have to always start with “Dear Diary.”
In this post, we’ve listed 60 powerful journal prompts for depression. These prompts will get you started in writing down your thoughts and feelings.
But before you read on, let’s understand what makes journaling an effective therapy for depression.
Journaling for Depression: How It Helps
Did you know that 6.7% of American adults have had at least one major depressive episode in a year?
Depression feels different for every individual. But most of the time, it feels like a massive fog in your head. Negative thoughts keep creeping up, swirling around and around.
So how can a simple act of writing improve mental health?
Writing down your thoughts and feelings can give you a sense of clarity. Only then can you start to understand your thoughts and feelings.
Here are a few benefits of journaling:
- Helps organize thoughts
- Identify negative thoughts and what’s stressing you out
- Boost your mood
- Reduce symptoms of depression
- Provide an opportunity for writing self-affirmations
- Builds self-confidence and self-worth
- Provide a sense of clarity
- Manage anxiety and other mental health problems
“But what if I’m not good at writing?”
You don’t have to be good at writing to start a journal. Your writing doesn’t even have to make sense.
Still not sure where to start?
How To Start Journaling
Find time to write every day
Journaling when depressed doesn’t have to take hours. Simply set a few minutes a day to relax, clear your mind, and write.
Make it easy
Keep your notebook and pen within reach. So anytime you want to write down your thoughts, you can. If typing on a screen feels more comfortable, then keep a journal on your computer.
You can write whatever crosses your mind. Write about how you feel. Or you can use the journaling prompts below to get started.
Just be honest.
It’s a private space and no one will judge you for it. Don’t worry about grammar, spelling, or if it even makes sense.
Write or draw, it’s up to you
Your journal doesn’t only have to contain words. Draw if you must. Color the pages or place stickers if you like. It’s yours and you can do whatever you want with it.
In the next section are journaling prompts for depression. Use these prompts to write what you think or feel.
Write whenever and however you like in your journal.
Powerful Journal Prompts for Depression
- Name 10 things you like/love about yourself.
- Write down 3 things you achieved today. It could be as simple as getting up or taking a bath.
- What are the 3 hobbies you want to try?
- Are you unhappy with yourself? What can you do to improve these feelings?
- Name 5 things you’re worried about.
- Name 10 things that make you feel happy. It could be anything from cat videos to comfort food.
- What triggers your negative emotions?
- Think in colors. Use colors to show what it feels like in your head.
- If you could write a letter to your younger self, what would you write?
- Name something you want to forgive yourself for.
- Write 10 promises to yourself.
- List 5 positive aspects of your life right now.
- Name a movie, book, or series you’re looking forward to and why?
- How are you feeling right now? It’s possible to have mixed feelings. List them all.
- Name 5 things that scare you the most right now and why?
- What annoys you and how do you overcome it?
- What do you see when you look in the mirror?
- If you were at the beach on a bright, sunny day, what would you do? Will you swim or read or play Frisbee with your dog?
- Name three things you’d wake up for at 6 o’clock in the morning.
- What’s in your playlist?
- Describe your perfect day.
- Is there a happy memory you want to relive?
- What is your favorite sound?
- Do you have a bad habit? What is it and how can you cut it out of your life?
- What weather do you like best? Sunny? Cloudy? Rainy?
- Who is your favorite fictional character? What makes him/her/them great?
- When was the last time you felt deeply frustrated? What did you do to overcome it?
- What’s your favorite way to de-stress? Do you read? Listen to music? Or do you take a walk outside?
- Name 10 things you’re grateful for.
- What makes you happy?
- What are your pet peeves?
- What mental health apps do you have on your phone? Which one is your favorite and why?
- Name at least one person you can talk to about your depression.
- If you can assign your current emotion to color, what would it be and why?
- If a friend comes forward and admits they’re suffering from depression, what would you say?
- Name your top 5 favorite self-care habits.
- Name 5 things that trigger your depression?
- Write down what’s bothering you right now. Is there anything you can do to address it?
- What can you do to minimize or avoid these triggers?
- Describe what depression feels like for you.
- What’s your favorite quote? Why did it resonate with you?
- Write 3 things that even your closest friends don’t know about you.
- What are you doing right now?
- What are you thinking right now? No need to censor your thoughts. Just write them down.
- What made you laugh recently?
- Write your favorite things. It could be movies, books, series, quotes, etc.
- If you can go anywhere right now, where would it be? What will you be doing?
- What city, state, or country would you like to visit?
- When was the last time you treated yourself to something nice?
- List 5 ways to make time for yourself.
- Ever said or did something you regret? What steps can you take to forgive yourself?
- Talk about your proudest moment. Why did it mean so much to you?
- Who is your biggest supporter? Talk about him/her/them.
- Write your struggles with your mental health. What can you do to alleviate symptoms?
- Are there things you want to change about yourself? Name 3 things.
- How would you like to be treated by your family or friends?
- Write 10 affirmations you would like to hear.
- Is social media affecting your mental health? If so, what can you do to avoid triggers?
- If you can splurge on yourself, what would you buy?
- How can you start taking care of yourself more? Name 10 ways.
Ready to Start a Journal?
Take time to focus on your mental health every day. No matter how small or insignificant they may feel.
Journaling for depression is an excellent exercise. It allows you to clarify your thoughts. And to find order when your mind is in chaos.
Use it to identify your emotions and negative behaviors. Or use your journal to track your mood. Best of all, use it to write down affirmations to start feeling better.
Think of your journal time as “me” time. Your journal is a secret keeper of your fears, thoughts, and feelings.
Of course, journaling is just one of the many therapeutic techniques for managing depression and other mental health conditions. To further manage your symptoms:
- Seek professional help
- Eat a healthy, balanced diet
- Stay active. Make sure you perform some activity every day.
- Get enough sleep
Use these journal writing prompts as a guideline for a daily dose of clarity.