40 Must Try Journal Prompts For Stress Relief

A journal is flipped open with a pen on top of it ready to be written in. A cup of tea is beside it.

It is no longer a secret that journaling can be a great tool for increasing our wellness and helping to improve our mental health.  

However, did you know that journaling can also be great for helping to reduce stress? 

Studies have shown that writing about stressful situations can help us process our emotions and decrease mental distress.

Below we will go over 40 journal prompts for stress relief, 5 reasons why journaling helps to reduce stress, and how to use journaling to reduce stress. 

40 Journal prompts to relieve stress

  1. How am I feeling right now? 
  2. On a scale of 1-10, with 10 being the most, how would I rate my levels of stress and anxiety in this moment? 
  3. Where do I feel the stress and anxiety in my body? 
  4. What are the things that upset me? 
  5. What are the things that make me worry? 
  6. What are the things that make me sad? 
  7. What thoughts or feelings am I avoiding? 
  8. What situations or events triggered my stress? 
  9. If I had a friend in the same situation, what advice would I give to them? 
  10. Which people triggered my stress? 
  11. Am I holding a grudge against anyone right now? 
  12. What do I need to do to let that grudge go? 
  13. What do I think my stress and anxiety is trying to tell me? 
  14. What do I need to feel safe and secure during this stressful time? 
  15. In the past, how have I dealt with my stress and anxiety? 
  16. In a perfect world, how would I handle my stress and anxiety? 
  17. How am I letting my circumstances determine my levels of stress?  
  18. Is there a way I could improve how I deal with my stress or anxiety? 
  19. What skill could I learn to help me deal with a stressful situation? 
  20. What three things can I do to take charge of how I feel? 
  21. What do I think is the worst thing that could happen right now? 
  22. What is my biggest challenge right now? 
  23. What do I need to let go of and why? 
  24. What will make me happy? 
  25. What do I love about my life? 
  26. Who are the people in my life that make me happy? 
  27. How can I love myself more? 
  28. How can I improve my self-care? 
  29. What is one thing I could get rid of from my schedule to make more time for self-care in my life? 
  30. What would my perfect day look like? 
  31. I am most at peace when… 
  32. What made me smile today? 
  33. What are three things I am grateful for? 
  34. Have I done anything to make someone else happy today? 
  35. What is one thing that has made me feel loved? 
  36. What is something I would like to be better at? 
  37. What are three things about myself that I’m proud of? 
  38. What ten things always make me smile? 
  39. What ten things decrease my stress and make me feel relaxed? 
  40. How can I make tomorrow a better day? 

5 Reasons why journaling helps reduce stress

1) Journaling gives us a safe way to process our emotions

Many people avoid feeling their emotions instead of learning how to process and cope with them. It can be understandable that we would want to avoid feeling as much pain as possible. 

However, burying or avoiding processing our emotions can lead to many negative consequences such as sudden emotional outbursts, burnout, emotional instability, and even violence. 

When we journal, we can name the emotions that we are feeling and express those feelings without a fear of judgement from others.  

2) Journaling helps us get to know ourselves better

When we write things down on paper and then read them back to ourselves, it can help us gain clarity and insight about ourselves. Getting to know ourselves better helps us to become more self-aware and to learn our triggers and why we feel or react the way we do, which in turn helps to reduce our stress and the way we may negatively react to it. 

3) Journaling helps us find a solution to our stress

Seeing all our thoughts and feelings written down in a single place can help us untangle what stress is doing inside our heads and create a clearer picture of what is happening. Reading things from this new point of view can help us come up with better solutions to our stress and problems. 

4) Journaling increases our confidence

Sometimes, when we feel such strong emotions and deep thoughts, it can be easy to internalize them, which can sometimes manifest itself as decreased self-confidence. But by writing these emotions and thoughts down on paper, it can help us to recognize that our thoughts and feelings are not who we are, and that we have the power to control them. If we are thinking or feeling something negative about ourselves, seeing it written on paper can aid us in understanding that we don’t have to believe it. 

This boost in confidence can give us the power we need to tackle our stress head on. 

5) Journaling can improve our health and wellness 

Several studies have shown that writing has numerous positive effects on our health and wellness. These health benefits include:

  • Decreased blood pressure 
  • Higher quality of life 
  • Increased longevity 
  • Improved mood 
  • Less stress-related doctor’s visits 
  • And a general improved health-related quality of life 

How do you start journaling to decrease stress?

  1. Pick a time of day that works the best for you. It could be in the morning before you start your day to start off on the right foot, or right before you go to sleep so you can reflect on stressful events that happened during the day. Any time that works best for your schedule is a good time to journal. 
  2. Choose how you want to journal. You could use a notebook or sheets of paper, a journal app, a computer or your phone, or even record videos or audio. 
  3. Don’t worry about format, spelling, or punctuation. Express yourself without limiting yourself. 
  4. Start by identifying and naming your feelings.  
  5. Next begin naming your thoughts and any patterns of thinking that you notice. 
  6. You can use journal prompts to help get you thinking and writing when you get stuck. You can choose some of the journal prompts from the list above, or create your own. 
  7. Start small. Writing can seem overwhelming if you haven’t enjoyed it in the past, or if you aren’t used to it, but you don’t have to force yourself to sit there writing for hours. A few minutes each day is fine and will be better if you are just starting out to ensure you do not become overwhelmed. 
  8. Examine your wants and goals. What exactly do you want from life? What would your perfect day look like? 
  9. Reflect. Use a few minutes to read over what you wrote down and think about how that makes you feel. You can even go back to previous entries on other days to see how your thoughts and feelings have changed over time. 


You might get upset when you write, and that is okay. You can take a break if needed. Journaling is meant to be a safe way for you to express your feelings. However, if over time you are feeling no benefits from journaling, or you find it’s too distressing for you, then journaling may not be meant for you. 

With practice, journaling can become a powerful tool to help us process our emotions and learn how to better handle stressful situations. This in turn can help us lead happier and healthier lives. 

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