Journal Prompts for Low Mood

Notebook on Grass: Journaling
Photo by Jay-r Alvarez

Journal Prompts for Low Mood

Journaling is a great tool when you're trying to improve your mental wellness and low mood. Journaling enables you to process thoughts and feelings that may be stuck inside your head, costing you energy and increasing the feeling of worry or fear.

There are 50 journal prompts for low mood included in this post, scroll to the bottom to find them, or download the free PDF if you want to print them and add to your own journal.

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Why Journaling Helps

Journaling helps by allowing you to empty your mind of all of those worries and thoughts that build up over time. Having these thoughts racing around your head can increase the feelings of low mood, helplessness and worry.

When you physically write these worries down, it creates more space which allows you to think freely and calmly. It's so freeing – like taking a long, slow deep breath in.

Getting these thoughts out of your head and onto paper is therapeutic, and is something I encourage my counselling clients to do between sessions.

When thoughts are trapped in your mind it can be hard to challenge them, or to explore where the thoughts and feelings may be coming from.

Through writing the thoughts down, you are creating much needed space. Think of your mind like a filing cabinet that's stuffed full of these thoughts, feelings worries and fears. You physically can't stuff any more in, and when you're looking for something you cannot find it because it's so unorganised. It can feel quite stressful can't it?

Journaling acts like a decluttering of a room does, and this space means you can dig into the thoughts or feelings that are causing your mood to be low. Through reflecting on how you're feeling and why, you can begin to make sense of them.

The journal prompts for low mood that are included, are designed to help you focus in on the things that are contributing to you feeling this way.

Tips for Effective Journaling

The beauty of journaling is that there's no right or wrong way to do it. It's simply about getting your thoughts and feelings down on paper (or digital journal). For some, the freedom of writing can lead to writers block. Usually this is related to wanting to get it right, or just being unsure what you should write.

Therefore, it makes sense that the first tip is…

Let Go of Doing it Right

I get that this can feel easier said than done. Recovering perfectionist over here!! But, honestly, it's the best tip I can give you.

You're not being marked or judged on what or how you write. It doesn't matter if it doesn't make sense – that there's missing punctuation, or that you've made a million spelling mistakes.

It also doesn't matter if what you think you've written is boring or on the flip side – too much. Thoughts, especially negative ones, rarely make actual sense. They're based on unhelpful beliefs, so it actually makes sense if they look or sound silly once you've written them down.

Don't be embarrassed with what you write. If you're someone who judges yourself critically, this isn't another excuse to go in on yourself Writing what naturally comes to you is when journaling can be the most beneficial.

If you're a perfectionist, who is highly critical of yourself, I want you to promise yourself that there will be zero judgement of what or how you write. Many people don't even read back what they've written. The simple act of getting the thoughts out of your head can be all the release that you need.

When you use prompts like the journal prompts for low mood included in this post, it's not a test! There is no right or wrong ‘answer'. In fact, the chances are, if you used the same prompts again on a different day, you'll probably write completely different things.

if you do read through your words to reflect a little more, do so with compassion and grace. You're interested in understanding yourself, not looking for another way to berate yourself.

Create a Journaling Routine

As with many things, when working on improving your mental health, it takes time and consistency. When you being journaling, consistency is something that can really help you reflect and improve your mood.

However, consistency needs to feel both achievable and good. Yes it will take a little time to create a habit, but if you set yourself expectations that are far too high, there will be a higher chance that you won't sustain a journaling practice.

Take the time to think about how long you can commit to journaling. Will it be possible to journal every day? WIll you be able to spend 30 minutes or an hour, or will you only have a few minutes each morning or evening to journal?

If you're limited to a few minutes, give yourself a focus so that you can work through specific issues. The journal prompts for low mood can be useful here. You may choose one or two prompts per day and focus your writing on them.

For more tips on creating a journaling routine, take a look at this post I wrote a while back for Gratitude Journaling.

Be Open as You Write

Being open with your feelings is crucial if you want to get the most out of journaling. I get how horrifying this must feel for you – especially if you're usually a closed book, or someone who keeps their feelings at bay. I was this person, and it took a long time to move past that inner block.

I find now that when I'm completely honest I get more clarity and calmness because it's relieved so much pressure in my mind. Sometimes I won' read it back if I've gone quite deep, because I don't want to judge myself for how i felt in that moment.

If opening up feels uncomfortable, this can be a bit of a block when it comes to journaling. If this is something that is blocking you, my advice is to start with lighter prompts that aren't as in depth. These can be as simple as describing your day, things that came up that felt important, and how you felt generally.

Once you begin to feel more confident with your journal writing, you can begin to explore in more depth.

Use guided prompts like the journal prompts for low mood below. These can take the pressure off trying to write freely.

Commit to writing for a few minutes per day, release any pressure, and learn to find moments of calmness when you sit to write.

Finally, a great tip is to and to begin with don't do not read back what you have written to begin with. If you're still in a self-critical place, this can just lead to self criticism and judgement – a fast track way to stop you from journaling again!

Tools, Resources & Support

The Counselling Coach – My counselling website. Visit for more information, or pop me an email [email protected] to find out about 1-1 services for both counselling & coaching).

Journal Prompts for Mental Health – Free Download: 75 Journal Prompts.

Canva Pro – Create your own digital products & more

Worry Worksheets – Mindset & Wellbeing Worksheets for Children.

Gratitude Journal – The Daily Calm. See below:

The Daily Calm Gratitude Journal
The Daily Calm Gratitude Journal

50 Journal Prompts for Low Mood

Below are 50 journal prompts for low mood. Use these to guide your writing and reflections. You can also download these prompts so you can print and use inside your journal.

Self-Reflection Prompts

  1. How are you feeling right now? Describe the emotions.
  2. Describe three things you're grateful for today.
  3. What is one thing you've accomplished today? Small or big!
  4. What memory always makes you smile?
  5. What are your strengths? Describe at least three of them.
  6. What do you like about yourself? Explore why these stand out for you.
  7. Identify three personal goals for the next week and explore why they're important to you.
  8. What is something valuable you have learned recently, and how has it influenced you?
  9. What is the best compliment you have ever received?
  10. What do you need to forgive yourself for?

Emotion-Based Prompts

  1. What do you feel most anxious about? Explore Why this is big for you.
  2. What triggers your low mood? Use reflections to identify patterns.
  3. How do you usually cope with stress? Is it effective, or are there alternatives?
  4. What is something you can do to improve your mood when it dips?
  5. How do you feel about asking for help? Why do you think this is?
  6. What are your main fears? How could you address them?
  7. Who can you talk to about your thoughts and feelings? How does it help?
  8. What do you need to let go of? How might this change things for you?
  9. What does happiness look like to you? Describe in depth the feeling and experience.
  10. What negative thoughts do you need to challenge? Give alternative thoughts to each.

Gratitude Prompts

  1. Describe three positive things that happened today, and how they made you feel.
  2. Who are the people you're grateful for in your life? Explain why.
  3. Describe a challenge you overcame recently. What did this show you?
  4. Describe opportunities you've had to learn and grow, and their impact on you.
  5. What is one thing you love about your life? Describe the feelings as you think about it.
  6. How have you helped someone, and how someone has helped you recently?
  7. What is your favourite place, and why?
  8. What are your favourite hobbies, and how can you find more space for these?
  9. What is a simple pleasure you enjoy day to day?
  10. What do you love and appreciate about nature?

Life-Focused Prompts

  1. Describe your dreams for the future, and how these will change your life.
  2. Where do you see yourself in five years? What's different in your life?
  3. What steps can you take right now to work towards these goals?
  4. What is something you've always wanted to learn? How can you make this happen?
  5. Describe your ideal day. How are you feeling and acting? What makes it ideal?
  6. What do you need to do to achieve your dreams and goals?
  7. What is a positive change you can make in your life?
  8. How can you prioritise what you want to be and do?
  9. What does success mean to you? What does this look like personally / professionally?
  10. What legacy do you want to leave behind? What do you want to be known for?

Self-Care Prompts

  1. What are your favourite self-care activities? Big or small!
  2. How do you feel after taking time for yourself?
  3. What can you do to relax and recharge more?
  4. What healthy habits do you want to introduce and how can you begin?
  5. What is one thing you can do to prioritise yourself more?
  6. What does self-love mean to you, and how can you show yourself more love?
  7. How can you prioritise your wellness when working hard?
  8. What makes you feel energised?
  9. What fun activities can you do this week that isn't work related?
  10. How can you show yourself more compassion and kindness?

Final Thoughts

Journaling is a fantastic tool to help you manage your emotions and improve your general sense of wellbeing.

It can feel uncomfortable for some at first, but the key is to build your confidence and be consistent with your writing.

The journal prompts for low mood are great to help you focus your thoughts and writing, and also handy for those days when your mind is just blank!

I would love to hear how your journaling practice has supported your own mental wellbeing, and your favourite journal prompts. Don't forget, you can download the journal prompts for low mood as well!

If this post helped or you enjoyed reading it, please share one of the images below as it really helps my blog – Thank You!

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Meet Lynsey

Lynsey Wall, Coach & Mentor at Coach Writes. About me - A headshot of Lynsey smiling. Wearing a black t-shirt, blue framed glasses. Office walls behind her.

Hey there! I'm Lynsey, a coach, counsellor, and mentor for low energy, introverted or low confident female coaches & small business owners. With over 5 years’ experience of running businesses, and over a decade as a tutor and trainer, I've learned the value of effective time management that energises you through working with your energy.

I've lived with chronic illness – ME/CFS since 2011 and since then I re-trained as a counsellor, and achieved a distinction for my MA in Counselling and Psychotherapy Practice; all while running 4 businesses! I want that for you as well & it is possible with the right support and pathway to success.

Improving your mindset, finding acceptance and developing a solution-focused approach to achieving your goals is my passion. Blending mental health support where needed, as well as a supportive space and methods to manage your work more effectively.

If you'd like to know more about working with me, you can email [email protected] or find me on socials (links in the menu)

Have you seen my online store Shop.QuietlyConquer? Find DFY templates, downloads & more!

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