20 Journal Prompts for Anxiety and Mental Health
Are you overwhelmed by anxious thoughts and feelings? These journal prompts for anxiety will help to relieve those feelings so that you can reduce stress and calm your mind.
When you feel anxiety your mind can feel like it’s going a mile a minute and you get so swept up in those heavy thoughts and feelings, it’s like being caught in a rushing river and trying to get to the riverbank but you keep getting pulled under.
You want relief so badly but you don’t know how to shift into a better mental space. You just want to turn off the anxious feelings but they feel stuck in your body and your mind fixates on the situation even when there’s nothing you can do about it.
Taking a moment to sit and answer these questions can interrupt that anxious spiral and help you make sense of what’s going on in your mind.
When you use and come back to these writing prompts for anxiety, eventually you learn how to question your anxiety in the moment (instead of just being lost in the feelings) and it can help you work through those feelings and over time you can train your brain not to get so anxious in certain situations.
Where does anxiety come from?
Anxiety can come from totally legitimate stressful situations like going to a job interview, medical issues, deadlines at work, your car breaking down, etc.
But it can also come up from things that we know on some level aren’t really dangerous or that big of a deal, and yet we feel consumed with anxiety anyways. You can be fine one moment and then be overwhelmed by a ball of anxiety the next at the silliest thing, or maybe you’re in an almost constant state of anxiety, like it’s just humming in the background and draining your battery.
When we’re using journal prompts to relieve anxiety it can be really helpful to pinpoint why we feel the way we do. You can use that knowledge to reduce those feelings. These are a few reasons we might feel anxious.
Not knowing what to do next.
Many of us like to know what to expect and what steps to take, and when we’re in a new situation where we don’t have past experience or a guidebook on what to do, it can make us feel very unsettled. But obviously we have to do things that are new and life doesn’t come with a manual, so it’s helpful to learn how to ease anxiety in these situations.
We can feel anxiety when we’re with a person who we don’t know or trust, or we’re in a situation that is outside our comfort zone. If we’re not able to avoid the person or situation it can create mental distress. This might be warranted sometimes, but other times it’s not truly helpful like if we’re going on a job interview or hanging out with new people.
Sometimes we really are in a threatening situation and anxiety is a sign we need to leave, but often times our brain associated things that are new or unexpected with danger. In the latter case recognizing that there isn’t real danger can help you self-sooth and calm down.
Anticipating criticism, judgement, or pain.
Anxiety can come from believing that something negative is going to happen to us. Maybe you made a mistake and you fear being criticized, made fun of, judged, or even being hurt for your mistake. Shame and embarrassment are strong triggers for anxiety because we don’t want other people to see our mistakes and punish us for them.
Or you might know or suspect that something could be physically painful, but the anxiety could end up being worse than the pain and that’s when journal prompts to reduce anxiety can be really helpful.
Not having control.
Having control in a situation makes us feel more secure, when we can take action to fix something it makes us feel empowered. When there is nothing you can physically do your mind can start to spin doomsday scenarios in your head, imagining that the worst is going to happen which just makes you feel awful and helpless.
How to Use Journal Prompts for Anxiety
To get the most of these journal prompts sit and answer each question as best you can. If you can’t write out answers you can still think about them and answer them in your head.
You can say anything that comes to mind, no one is judging you and there aren’t any right or wrong answers. The most important thing is to have compassion for yourself.
Use these questions anytime anxiety pops up, overtime you’ll learn how to understand and deconstruct your anxiety which starts to take it’s power away. You’ll train your mind to think about things a different way and not respond with fear and feeling overwhelmed.
Journal prompts to reduce or relieve anxiety right now:
- In addition to anxiety, what other emotions do I feel?
- What physical sensations do I feel, where do I feel the anxiety in my body?
- Why do I feel this, what event triggered this anxiety?
- Have similar events trigger anxiety before now? When is the first time I remember feeling anxious in a similar situation?
- Give yourself permission to feel how you feel, fill in the blanks: “It’s ok that I feel ______, I’m allowed to feel this way when ______ happens. Even though I feel this way, I unconditionally love, accept, and forgive myself right now.”
- What can I control in this situation? Are there any actions I can take right now to resolve this issue?
- What can I not control about the situation?
- What does my ego (the part of you that’s afraid) say about this situation? What does my Higher Self (the calm part of you with a big picture point of view) say? (make something up if you need to)
- If the 5 year old version of me was feeling this way, how would I comfort them? What would I say to them to make them feel loved and safe?
- If you could instantly transport yourself to the most peaceful and comforting place right now, where would you go? Write it down and then close your eyes for a few moments and visualize yourself at that place.
- Despite the current situation, what’s going well in your life or what can you be grateful for right now? It can be the tiniest little thing!
Reflective journaling prompts to reduce anxiety in the future
- How has anxiety held me back in the past?
- How could anxiety hold me back in the future?
- What situations trigger anxiety most often? What do I feel at those times that cause anxiety? (fear, uncertainty, discomfort, anticipation of pain, loss of control,)
- If I could forgive myself for every time I’ve felt anxious, how would that feel? Write a letter to your past self forgiving them for all the times you felt anxiety.
- What emotion would I like to feel instead of anxiety? Turn this into a mantra when anxiety comes up, for example say to yourself “I choose peace” when anxiety comes up.
- What activities make you feel relaxed, peaceful, or safe? Make a list of things to do the next time you feel anxious.
- Are there any people or situations you need to say no to in the future to avoid anxiety? Think of the times when you said yes to something that stressed you out when you should have said no.
- What situations made you feel really anxious in the past, but actually weren’t that bad once it was over? What can you learn from them?
- What do you need to let go of that would reduce anxiety? For example, caring what people think, needing to be perfect, needing to control everything, etc.
Free Self Love Journal Prompts PDF for Subscribers
Additional Resources to Relieve Stress and Anxiety:
I hope these journal prompts help you feel relief from your anxiety, try these other resources as well.
Meditation to Relieve Fear, Anxiety, and Stress
10 Ways to Stop Overthinking
30 Ideas to Reduce Stress With Self-Care
It is so calming going through the post! Great prompts. I will be definitely using these while I am journaling. Thanks for sharing 🙂