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Woman sitting on the couch and writing in a journal with a mug sitting on the table.



Journaling is a great pastime for self-care. Studies show it can reduce anxiety, help you work through problems and complex emotions, and learn more about yourself. If you’re looking to start writing for more you time but don’t know where to start, here are a few prompts to jump-start your new journal.

What 5 things do you wish others knew about you?

There are other variations you can take on this prompt, but the idea is to work on your self view. You can also write about how you believe others see you, or how you see yourself, whether good or bad. There’s no right or wrong answer in a journal. Some feelings you have about yourself are nothing more than a passing thought and are not tied to your identity.

What 3 to 5 things trigger feelings of anxiety?

If you have problems with anxiety, try to identify situations or triggers that cause panic attacks or worsen the effects of anxiety. From there you can brainstorm coping strategies to implement when those scenarios come up again. Start with just one source of anxiety – you don’t have to try to brainstorm how to solve every problem in one writing session. Realize some ideas might not work in practice, and other ideas will take practice to start working.

What things are you avoiding dealing with?

If you’re procrastinating, avoiding conflict, or trying to prevent coping with major trauma, you are causing yourself major stress. It’s a tough one to tackle, but writing about it and acknowledging some of those problems can help you put words to your feelings and help cope with strong emotions.

Write a letter to someone.

The power of using letter writing in journaling can help you gain clarity, closure, and release. Who do you write to? It could be a loved one who has passed, a person who wronged you, or to your future or past self. You don’t have to do anything with the letter, in fact you might want to rip it up or burn it afterward. But the page gives you the space you need to let all your feelings out, without being interrupted. It can also help you organize your thoughts for a hard discussion you are planning to have with someone. Many find this type of journaling cathartic.

Looking to express yourself? Read on for more self-care tips on the Olympus Fenwick blog.