There is something about journalling that brings an excessive amount of clarity. Moving your thoughts from circling in your mind to existing outside of yourself on a page is a powerful tool. It helps you feel more grounded in the present moment and more equipped to move forward in ways that are intentional. In this post, I’m going to share with you a number of journal prompts for self discovery.
Figure out what style of journalling feels helpful
There are many different ways to approach journalling and I have found each of them helpful for different reasons. I always encourage my counselling clients to experiment with different styles and to find the style or combination of styles that feels the most supportive to you.
A few great ways to approach journalling:
Free Flow Writing
There are times that you just need a good ol’ brain dump. Often when you are feeling overwhelmed and overthinking, the thoughts are continuously circling in your mind. If you find yourself experiencing racing or anxious thoughts, I’d encourage you to put pen to paper and just begin to write. Write every thought that comes to mind, without “editing”.
Free flow writing can also be helpful as a daily practice. Whether that is first thing in the morning or before bed, find a time that works for you and do it then. Daily, weekly, as needed, there is no right way to do it.
When someone is intimidated by the idea of journalling, I often recommend starting with simple point form-style writing. You can write lists that include how you’re feeling that day, what you want your day to hold, or keep track of thoughts you have as they come up. This allows you to bear witness to your cognitive processes and then restructure or challenge them if that would be helpful.
I often encourage my counselling clients to journal following our sessions, in order to remember those “a-ha!” moments they experienced. Sometimes we forget the moments, conversations or ideas that felt especially impactful and this is a great way to revisit when you desire to. It’s also helpful to note any specific take-aways or skills you hope to practice.
Journal prompts can be particularly helpful to move us in specific directions or to give space to exploratory work. Personally, I love utilizing prompts as they help me consider things about myself or the life I’m creating with intention. Prompts are a great tool if you are delving into self-discovery work and wanting to get to know yourself more holistically.
How to get the most out of journalling
As I mentioned above, there are a number of different ways to approach journalling as far as style goes. Try out the different types of journalling listed above and see which style works best for you. You may find a mix is best or you might get the most out of one particular approach.
Create a ritual around it
Whether this is journalling as soon as you wake up, time blocking the first 15 minutes of your “work” day for a prompt or reflection or scheduling in a bit of time before bed. Pour yourself a cup of coffee or hot tea, cue up a great instrumental playlist and keep a “good” pen and notebook on hand (you know the ones).
Do it daily – not just when you’re struggling or in a “low”.
We get the most out of self-discovery work when we commit to it. I’ll often say to my counselling clients that it’s important to “do the work” when we aren’t in crisis. While journalling can be an incredibly useful tool when we are struggling, it can also be a beautiful tool when we feel okay. And our capacity for curiosity and self-discovery increases when our nervous system is more settled.
Journal Prompts for Self Discovery
- What am I feeling in my body in this moment?
- What has been working well for me lately?
- What has not been working well for me lately?
- When do I feel most at home with myself?
- In what areas of life am I craving growth and expansion?
- What would it look like to prioritize the things that will contribute to that growth and expansion?
- What do I need my life to give me more of?
- What characteristics or traits in others do I desire to embody? What would this feel like?
- How do I desire to use any “free” time I have?
- What is one habit/practice I can incorporate today that promotes growth in myself?