Journaling Ideas for When You Feel Stuck, Anxious, or Sad

journaling ideas for when you are stuck, anxious or sad

Journaling ideas. If you’ve been around for any amount of time, you know about my love affair with journaling (I’m talking Baby and Johnny status here).

Not only do I cherish its many benefits, but it has become an integral part of my routine.

Now, I know, journaling can seem tough at first; you sit down with your new sparkly pens and… now what?

What if you don’t know what to write?  

Blank-page syndrome is no joke, and it’s easy to get discouraged or try to force it. Let’s slay that beast with some journal ideas and exercises so you can start reaping the goodness and insight!

Everyday Journaling Ideas

If you Google “journal ideas” you will upturn thousands of results, so let me save you some time.

Your ultimate goal here is to get yourself writing and used to the exercise of journaling.

It is not to judge yourself on the answers, or do everything perfectly.

One of my favorite ways to get started is to use writing prompts like:

  • What is your all-time favorite movie and why? What character do you most identify with and why? 
  • Think of a time when you felt genuinely happy. What was going on? Who was there?
  • Describe your perfect day in detail.
  • If you could tell one of your best friends anything, what would it be? How might they react?
  • What do you think about [insert hot topic here]? This prompt is especially powerful because you can develop an opinion on a subject you may never have gotten involved with before.

These prompts eliminate the guesswork and get the insight flowing. Plus, you never know what you’ll discover when you dig in on a seemingly simple question!

Another option is to use a journal with prompts built into it. My favorites are:

Now that you’re armed with some fun journaling ideas, let’s dive into some writing exercises that can help with specific emotions.

Journaling Ideas for Anxiety

This is one of the most powerful journaling ideas because it can be calming when things get crazy.

The idea comes courtesy of one of my business influencers… she calls it the “Worry Dump”. (I promise, it’s not a scary as it sounds.)

To get started you’ll need a journal, pen and a timer.

Anxiety Journaling Exercise:

  • Find a comfortable and quiet area.
  • Take a few deep breaths to center yourself, focusing only on the here and now.
  • Set your timer for 5 minutes.
  • During the next 5 minutes, write down everything that you’re worried about. Yes, everything.
  • Once your timer goes off, review your list. Does anything immediately seem silly? Is there a common theme (money, relationships)? Is there anything you can prevent from happening?
  • After you have reviewed your list, vow to leave these worries in your journal, and out of your mind for the rest of the day. When you catch yourself thinking of them, gently bring yourself back to the present.

Approach this exercise with the intention of flushing your mind of anxieties and fears so you can have a happy and productive day or restful sleep.

A journal is a place where we can be honest about the fears that may be tough to say aloud. Very powerful!


  • Using this exercise first thing in the morning can set the tone for the rest of the day.
  • It’s also a great journaling exercise to do before bed if your mind is overloaded. For an extra calming effect, put some lavender essential oil in your diffuser and go to town writing.

Journaling Ideas for When You’re Sad

Let’s chat about the power of visualization for a second.

I like to put on relaxing music, diffuse some oils, and use my visualization board. As I do, I focus on any doubts or negative feelings I’ve been having about my ideal future and unpack them.

Then, I visualize achieving everything on my board and how I’ll feel once I do. 

You can apply this same process to journaling ideas in order to lighten your mood:

  • Picture a time where you felt truly happy and content, or blissful.
  • Now, dive deep into the picture and focus on the small details: What smells were in the air? What did you hear? What were you and others wearing?
  • Write all of these details down and hold the vision in your mind’s eye.
  • Now, focus just on the feelings you felt: contentment, happiness, peace, love…
  • Imagine how those feelings would feel in your current, day-to-day life.  
  • Next, use your vision as a prompt. Ask yourself: how would my life look if I had more happiness? 
  • Write down everything you feel, allowing yourself to emerge fresh and renewed.


As you’re going through these journaling exercises, remember that not every day will be the same.

Some days, it will be really easy to write, and others will be a little bit tougher. During those more difficult days, it’s important not to force it, and to give yourself grace.

Remember, this space is for you alone; you call the shots.

And don’t worry if you misspell words or your handwriting is illegible to anyone else. Here is where you can let the perfectionism go (or try to at least).

Okay friends. I hope that you put these journaling ideas into action right away.

Next read: 21 Journaling Prompts

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