9 Journaling Ideas Designed To Enhance Your Wellbeing

Imagine what it would be like to have a trusted friend who would never judge you and would never betray you; a friend to whom you can always tell the truth about yourself without any consequences, someone who will always be there to listen.

The good news is that you can have all of this, if not with a person, then definitely with a diary.

I am a true believer that everyone should write for the sake of their wellbeing. I am not saying you should author books. I am suggesting that being able to express yourself in a safe space where you can be who you are without judgement is both freeing and therapeutic. In fact, writing has saved my life many times and in the many years that I have used it as a way to take care of myself, I have come up with journaling practices that help me with different areas of my wellbeing. I hope these will inspire you to give journaling a try. If you are already a fan, use these prompts to mix up your practice.

Create your own reality

This exercise can contribute to all areas of your wellbeing.

The benefit of this exercise: attract what you want in your life by making it more real, achievable and by conditioning your brain to accept that what you want is possible.

Ever since I was a teenager I was fascinated with the power of the mind. I used to read all kinds of books that discuss people’s ability to create and change reality with their thoughts. It is no surprise that when I first heard of affirmations I was curious. This exercise is simple – you write short statements of how you want your life to look or of things you want to attract in your reality, and you write them every day. Seeing your goals and dreams written down day after day makes them seem more real and more achievable.

Here is how you can practice:

  • Write in the present tense: always write affirmation as if they are your current reality. It is said that if you write in the future tense, what you will attract is the feeling of anticipation and wanting, instead of the thing itself. What you write is what you create!
  • Keep your affirmations short: the best affirmations are simple sentences such as “I am healthy” or “I am promoted at work”.
  • Target the area of wellbeing you want to improve: the best thing about affirmations is that you can tailor them to attract or affirm what you need at the moment. Don’t be afraid to mix it up every day – you don’t have to stick to the same thing for a month if it doesn’t serve you.
  • Bonus tip: accompany writing with feeling: step up your affirmations game by visualising how it feels to have what you want right now. If you are aiming for a promotion, envision how you get the promotion now, how it feels, what you would do – imagine every small detail.

Cultivate self-love

This exercise can contribute to all areas of your wellbeing.

The benefit of this exercise: acknowledge the many reasons you are deserving of your own love, and thus, cultivate more love towards yourself.

This is one of the simplest, most powerful and most difficult journaling exercises that I practice. It took me more than two decades of living to start finding love for myself. The reserve of love was never the problem, I always had plenty to give to others. I struggled to see myself as worthy of receiving it. This was reflected in many of my relationships. Once I realised how much hurt I cause by not loving myself, I decided to change it. Of course, similarly to the gratitude exercise, it was very challenging and dare I say, even more rewarding.

Here is how you can practice:

  • Write a list of the reasons why you love yourself. If this is difficult, you can start with the things you just like about yourself. It could be anything – physical appearance, skills or character qualities. 
  • Keep on building up the list. With time, you will be able to find more and more reasons why you are amazing and why you should love yourself.
  • Revisit the list when you feel down or not worthy of love (yours or anyone else’s).
  • Bonus tip: I like to throw in a few self-love affirmations in my morning journaling practice. It’s a great reminder to appreciate yourself from the start of the day.

Download your brain on paper

This exercise can contribute to your mental wellbeing.

The benefit of this exercise: free some mental space in your brain by downloading your ideas, to-do lists or task into your diary or a piece of paper.

I am blessed, and cursed, with a brain full of ideas. I have a hundred of them per day. Not all of them are worth keeping or taking action upon, however, from time to time, I think of something that I find really cool and actionable. I tend to keep and think of a few ideas at all times. Let me tell you – it takes a lot of mental space to do so. This is how I discovered a journaling practice which I call “the ideas dump” and it is exactly what it does – allow you to take all of the things you have on your mind and dump them on a piece of paper (or in your journal). You can do this with the ever-growing to-do list in your brain or with projects tasks you are working on. Believe me, it does wonders for your concentration and productivity.

Here is how you can practise:

  • Have a dedicated place for storing all of your brain downloads: you want to keep your ideas and tasks safe and easily accessible for when you are ready to act on them.
  • Once the list starts getting longer, develop categories for easier sorting.
  • Practice this exercise at least once a week and every time you feel overwhelmed by the thought of everything you have to do.
  • Bonus tip: you can do this exercise when you feel overwhelmed by a feeling, too. For example, if you feel confused or angry about a situation, grab your pen and write all of your thoughts and feelings down. Once you have transferred them on paper, it is easier to sort what is noise and what could be an issue to resolve.

Do an emotional detox

This exercise can contribute to your emotional wellbeing.

The benefit of this exercise: feel lighter and more grounded by expressing and releasing all of your emotions, including the ones you have bottled up.

This exercise is great to use when you are storing negative emotions in your body and mind. Anger, loss, heart break, contempt can all have an affect on how you feel and the longer you hold on to the feelings that come with these, the more they grow their roots in your brain. If you feel awkward talking about these emotions, or if you are afraid of being judged, journaling what’s on your mind can help you a lot. In a way the pen and paper provide you with a safe space to express yourself without exposing yourself and hurting anyone in the process.

Here is how you can practice:

  • One way to do this exercise is to just write down everything that you want to say or that is weighing on your mind. If you are not sure how you feel, start with describing where in your body you feel the emotion. Let your intuition guide you to the right words.
  • Another great way is to do the fake dialogue. If you are angry at someone, imagine having a conversation with them – maybe you are telling them how you feel and they answer back, or maybe they ask how you are doing and you respond with whatever you have to tell them.

Own your power

This exercise can contribute to your social wellbeing.

The benefit of this exercise: remind yourself of your own power to do good in the world and to act on it.

Being an empath in the world we are living in is not easy. I have given up watching the news because I cannot take the amount of negativity that is broadcasted. There are days when yet another article pops up portraying the effects of global warming, the consequences of wars, the absurdity of certain political regimes. Sometimes I just want to write to remind myself that despite the tragedies that are happening, I have the power to change the world for the better. I might not stop a war or children’s hunger, but if I can make one person’s day better, I have caused a positive ripple in the Universe.

Here is how you can practice:

  • List down as many ways you can do a good deed as you can think of. Some examples are giving compliments, donating to a cause you support, helping out someone in need, buying a bag of food for a homeless person, volunteering your time, surprising your loved ones with a nice gesture, doing a random act of kindness.
  • When you feel powerless, take a look at the list and pick one thing you can do today to create a positive ripple in the Universe.
  • You can also add this type of action to your monthly goals categories. The feeling you get when looking back at all of the good you have done is very empowering.

Pump up your self-esteem

This exercise can contribute to your mental and emotional wellbeing.

The benefit of this exercise: telling yourself the words you need to hear when you need to hear them, and thus to learn to look inwards for validation, instead of seeking it from other people.

As a person who cares too much about what people think about her, sometimes I feel depleted from wondering if I have said and done the right thing. In moments like these, instead of looking for external validation, I have learnt to give myself what I need – a good pep talk… In writing. I don’t have a specific structure for this journaling exercise. I let my intuition guide me. I also listen to what my inner child needs to hear to feel safe and loved. By affirming my worth, strengths and positive qualities I pump up my self-esteem and enable myself to bounce quicker from unpleasant situations instead of being stuck in an unhealthy, low-energy thought cycle.

Here is how you can practice:

  • Acknowledge how you feel – are you stressed, or hurt, or feeling not good enough? Identify the source of the feeling and find the words you would want to hear. Write them for yourself a few times.
  • Alternatively, if it is too difficult to understand how you feel, ask yourself this: “If my best friend is in this situation, what would I tell him or her?”. We often lack compassion for ourselves, and by imagining someone else in our shoes we tap into empathy quicker.

Bonus tip: pump up your self-esteem as often as needed and without needing a reason to do so. Because let me ask you this: if you won’t hype yourself up, who will?

Find gratitude in daily life

This exercise can contribute to your mental wellbeing.

The benefit of this exercise: feel more gratitude and abundance in your life by acknowledging all the things you can appreciate every day.

During my university years when I was struggling with my mental health, practising gratitude journaling was my lifesaver. I remember when I first started, I felt intimidated by the exercise. I struggled to list even 10 things that I appreciated in my life. I used to write “I am grateful for my legs because they allow me to run”, or  “I am grateful for my headphones because I can listen to music”. I was so deep in misery that it took me a good time to start acknowledging my family, friends, and the incredible opportunities that I had. Eventually, I pulled through the depression and account a lot of my success to this particular exercise.

Here is how you can practice:

  • Start small, but stay consistent: begin by listing up to 5 things you are grateful for and do it every day. 
  • Always write in the present tense – I am grateful because I am/have/do this and that: writing this way also taps in the power of manifesting, you make your reality as you write the words and the things you are grateful for are likely to stick around in your life.

Follow this sentence structure – I am grateful for this because of this and that: when you first start out with this exercise, it might be difficult to feel the gratitude (this will also depend on your mental state). Writing why you appreciate a certain thing will bring around a sense of gratitude. It is the feeling that ultimately counts the most.

Ground yourself 

This exercise can contribute to your mental and emotional wellbeing.

The benefit of this exercise: learning to connect to the present moment, to stop looking back to the past or towards the future, and thus, to leave you with a sense of grounded calmness. 

I suffer from anxiety and I know very well what it is like to live with your mind constantly looking back or forward. I also know what a huge difference it makes for my wellbeing when I practice mindfulness and manage to live in the present. My favourite way to ground and connect to the Now is through meditation or breathing, and I find journaling to be a great complementary practice. It works wonders if you are feeling a bit tense or anxious in a new place. The exercise I do is very simple. I write everything about what surrounds me – the physical environment, the colours of the walls, the noise, the smells, the light quality. I describe the people and what they are doing. I write about how I feel and why I feel the way I do. 

Here is how you can practise:

  • Write about what you see, hear, smell, taste, feel: this is a common mindfulness exercise recommended to people who suffer from anxiety and it is even more calming if you practice it in writing.
  • Acknowledge how you feel and why you feel like that. 
  • Come up with a calming/grounding affirmation and repeat it in writing: for example, “I am calm and present” is something I often repeat myself when I anticipate a busy day.

Enhance your connection with Life

This exercise can contribute to your spiritual wellbeing.

The Benefit of this exercise: allow yourself to contemplate the purpose and meaning of life, and to find your “why”.

When my mum passed away in 2020 I spent weeks writing about what I thought about death and what I thought about life. I was expressing myself from a place of immense grief and even so when I read those pages nowadays I see a lot of trust, hope and faith. Having had some spiritual basis in my life, having discussed with friends from a young age what I thought the meaning of life was turned out to be a great help in a time of such a big loss. So if you have never had the time to ponder the “big” questions, consider doing it in writing. Knowing where you stand on meaning, on death, on life can give you a lot of strengths and motivation in every area of your existence. And even if you have, it is a great idea to re-examine those notions from time to time. After all, we change and so do our purpose and outlook on different topics.

Here is how you can practice:

  • Journal on the meaning of life by writing the answers to these questions: What do I think is the meaning of life? What is the meaning of my life? What happens after a person dies?
  • Journal on the purpose of your life by answering these questions: What motivates me on a deeper level? If I could be remembered for one thing, what would that be? What is the purpose of my life right now?
More Stories
4 Lessons From 8 Weeks At My New Job