38 Calming Journal Prompts For Difficult Days

When anxious thoughts or hard times send your stress levels up a few too many notches, one of the positive things you can do is pull out some calming journal prompts and do some personal writing.

Some people use journal writing prompts to deal with their feelings, others use journal prompts for overwhelm or as a way of documenting their life in the present moment. In this blog post, we’ll go over 38 journal prompts for calm that you might find useful in your own personal journey.

Woman in pink t-shirt and gray sweater holding pink journal and white coffee cup.

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What Is A Calming Journal Prompt?

Sometimes difficult experiences can seem endless, but journal prompts can be calming and help with life’s stressors. There are many types of calming journal prompts, so choose what you feel is right for you. 

Examples of calming prompts would be:

  • A simple statement to help you write from the heart about feelings of anxiety or negative thoughts you’re having
  • A letter expressing gratitude for a time of peace or happiness
  • An affirmation that you’re going to feel better and make it through a challenging time
  • Calming quotes, poetry, or calming letters to yourself
  • Questions for reflection that might help you immediately address a stressful situation in your life

Another great way to practice calm journaling is to write calming statements where you guide yourself step by step with gentle ideas. These are sentences like, ‘I can breathe. I’m going to be okay.’ or, ‘I just need a moment to take care of myself right now.’ 

Continuing to expand on these statements can make a positive difference as you work to bring yourself into a better place.

How Do Journal Prompts Help Us Find Calm?

It may sound simple, but journaling is a powerful way to relieve stress in everyday life. Journaling is helpful because it gives you a great place for all of your thoughts and feelings to go on paper, where you can organize and take a closer look at them instead of letting them remain scattered in your head.

When we’re feeling stressed or tired, it can be hard to put those feelings into words. Writing them out on journal pages gives us a chance to think, reflect, and hopefully find a little inner peace along the way.

Making journaling part of a daily routine also gives you the opportunity to reflect on what went right or wrong during the day. You can confront your worst fears or try to understand why you might have had an anxiety attack that day.

Some people may use calming journal prompts to focus only on the positive aspects of a difficult day, such as a difficult situation or past challenge that was resolved or moments with people who made you happy. Usually, this type of ‘silver lining’ journaling is done in a gratitude journal.

Calming journal prompts for difficult days may be just what you need after a long day. These calming exercises will let you get your problems off your chest without being too taxing on you. Stress management is essential to keeping healthy, aware, and resilient when dealing with difficult times.

In addition to calming exercises like meditation, yoga, and music — taking time each day to write down all your thoughts can be a grounding experience. It’s important not only for our mental health but also for our physical health as well because there are studies linking stress with harmful effects on the human body

*Please remember: These journal prompts can be used occasionally or as part of a daily journaling practice. However, they are NOT a substitute for professional help. Do not hesitate to reach out to a professional if you think you may have an anxiety disorder or suffer from chronic anxiety or anxiety attacks.

Calming Journal Prompts For Stress Relief

Before you begin journaling, one important thing to do is take a few minutes to prepare yourself. If possible, find a quiet space to write. Light a stress-relief scented candle if that helps you relax, and take some deep breaths.

Most of us who are constantly stressed or anxious don’t breathe deeply enough — like, ever. Consciously taking time to do that is a good idea any time, and especially when going into a journaling session.

Related: Best Journals for Writing: 6 Top Picks

  • 1. Write about the parts of your life you are most grateful for.

This calming prompt is a way to measure how grateful we are for what we have in our lives. It can help us determine if there might be good things worthy of more focus going forward.

  • 2. What would your ideal life look like?

This journal prompt can help you envision an ideal future. It is often easier to deal with present challenges when we have a vision for the future that inspires us.

  • 3. Draw a picture of three things in nature, or anything else that makes you happy.

This prompt can be a way to document things we find calming or items that make us happy. This might be something you want to cultivate in your life more often if it inspires happiness.

  • 4. Write down three things that made today a great day.

This calming journal prompt is a way to appreciate the good days in our lives. It can also help us name what went well so we know how to repeat these experiences in the future.

  • 5. Write about a time in your life that was difficult but overcame everything and came out stronger than before.

This journal prompt is a way to recognize our own resilience. When we are too focused on the pain, it can be difficult to see these things about ourselves and that might make us feel worse.

  • 6. Write about an experience you had where it was difficult to be yourself.

This prompt can help us work through feelings of being judged for who we are. It also helps to identify people and situations where this happens so that it is easier to avoid these in the future.

  • 7. Write down what is going on in the world that makes you feel anxious.

This calming journal prompt is a way to identify what parts of the world make us feel anxious. It can help us figure out how to cope with feelings about events we cannot control.

  • 8. Fill in the blanks: ‘I feel ____ when I think about/do ___’

This journal prompt is a way to identify what things make us feel sad, angry, or scared. It can help us figure out how we want to respond in the future as well as provide ideas for alternative ways of coping with these feelings.

  • 9. Write a sentence that starts with ‘If only…’ and fill it out.

This prompt is a way to identify what things we wish would happen. It can help us figure out how and why these events might have happened, which may decrease our sense of powerlessness over the situation.

  • 10. What is your favorite thing to do for fun?

This calming journal prompt is a way to identify what things we enjoy doing for fun. It can help us work through feelings of loneliness or boredom.

  • 11. What are five words that describe you?

This journal prompt helps us articulate who we think we are. It can help us identify positive qualities and also negative ones. It is easier to address these things when we have the words to describe them instead of trying to make sense out of what feels like chaos in our lives.

  • 12. What do you think is your greatest achievement?

This prompt helps us recognize our achievements and successes, which may decrease our sense of powerlessness over a current situation or inspire new goals.

  • 13. Write a sentence that starts with ‘I am proud of myself when I…’ and fill it out.

This journal prompt is a way to identify our own strengths and what things we are proud of ourselves for. It can help us feel good about ourselves and create a sense of accomplishment.

  • 14. What makes you feel powerful?

This prompt helps us articulate when we feel in control or powerful. It also can help us identify things that may not make us feel powerful and provide alternative ways to be in control.

  • 15. What is your favorite calming activity?

This calming journal prompt helps us identify what things make us calm and relaxed, like adult coloring books, creative writing, going to a quiet place, making lists, or whatever works for you.

  • 16. What are you looking forward to in the future?

This calming journal prompt is a way to identify what parts of the future we are excited about. It can help us figure out how we see our future self responding to different situations in a positive way.

Woman in pink t-shirt, gray sweater and leggings sitting on bedroom floor while writing calming journal prompts in pink journal.
  • 17. Write a sentence that starts with ‘I am scared of…’ and fill it out.

This journal prompt is a way to identify what things we are scared of. It can also help us identify ways in which we can have more control over these fears and provide ideas for alternative ways of coping.

  • 18. Write about something you have been wanting but can’t get for whatever reason.

This journal prompt is a way to identify what things we want but can’t get. It can help us figure out how and why the situation is happening and whether or not we can do anything about it.

  • 19. Write three memories that you cherish.

This prompt helps us remember the good times with a friend, family member, or simply our younger self.

  • 20. What is one thing on your bucket list?

This calming journal prompt is a way to identify what we want for ourselves in the future.

  • 21. Write about something you would like to get rid of and why.

This journal prompt helps us identify the things that we no longer want or need. 

  • 22. What do you owe yourself for everything you have gone through in life so far?

This prompt helps us think about what it is that we deserve.

  • 23. What are two things you want to forget?

This journal prompt helps us identify what memories we want to forget. (If this is a trigger for you, skip it!)

  • 24. Write about something you do not want people to know about you but feel like they already do?

This journal prompt helps us identify what we are worried other people think about us. Think about whether your inner critic is lying to you.

  • 25. What are some things you would like to change?

This prompt helps us identify what changes we want in life for ourselves.

  • 26. What are some things you would like to stop doing?

This calming journal prompt helps us identify what behaviors we need to stop in order for ourselves to feel better.

  • 27. What are some things you need to do more?

This journal prompt helps us identify what it is that we should be doing to take better care of ourselves or the people and spaces we touch.

  • 28. What is causing stress in your life right now?

This calming journal prompt helps us identify what it is that’s overwhelming and stressful right this minute. What do we need to reduce in order for ourselves to feel better?

  • 29. What are two things you can’t stop thinking about?

This prompt helps us identify what thoughts seem to be on repeat and what ways of coping with these thoughts might work best.

  • 30. Where would you like to be in a year?

This prompt is a way of thinking about the future and what it might look like. It can also help us identify ways in which we want our life to change and how this will affect the things that are causing anxiety.

  • 31. What is one thing you would never do again, no matter the price you might pay?

This prompt helps us identify what it is that we will not do, no matter what.

  • 32. What are some things you would like to do but can’t?

This journal prompt helps us identify what we want to do but are not currently able to. Also, it can help identify ways in which we may be able to learn a new skill or hold space so we can do them in the future.

  • 33. What would you say if someone asked you ‘Why haven’t you done that yet?’

This calming journal prompt helps us identify what we need to get done and why it has been so hard for us.

  • 34. What is your story?

This journal prompt is a way of writing about the life we have lived up until this point in a way that feels good, relieves stress, and gives us a sense of control.

  • 35. What would you do if there was no tomorrow?

This prompt helps us think about what we want for ourselves in the future, but without limits on time or resources. It can also help identify ways in which our life might not change even with these opportunities and why that is.

  • 36. What is the one thing you want to change about tomorrow?

This journal prompt helps us think about what it would be like if we could only make one decision for tomorrow and why that might or might not work out well. It doesn’t have to lead to a perfect day, just… better.

  • 37. Where do you find peace in life?

This calming journal prompt can help map out what calming moments we have in life and how those help us feel more at peace.

  • 38. What are some things you can’t be without?

This journal prompt helps us identify the necessities of life that we need to function properly.

More Journaling and Calm Inspiration

How To Write A Daily Journal Even If You’re A Total Beginner

Get Inspired By These 22 Slow Day Quotes To Press Pause And Recharge

Journal Prompts For Women: 20 Essential Questions

How To Slow Life Down: 5 Essential Beginner Steps

12 Slow Down And Breathe Quotes For Your Busy Mind

Favorite Writing Supplies

JoyNote A5 Classic Notebook with lined pages

PILOT G2 Premium Refillable & Retractable Gel Pens, Fine Point, Assorted Colors

OxAndPine refillable leather journal

OxAndPine Refillable Personalized Premium Leather Journal with Elastic Closure

Prompt Me Again!: Creative Writing Workbook & Journal

Final Thoughts

The journaling prompts in this blog post are a way for us to work through difficult feelings, important things, or events that have happened. They can help us identify what is making us feel anxious and how we want to respond in the future, as well as come up with ideas for ways to cope with feelings that make us feel scattered or uneasy.

I hope these calming journal prompts allow you some peace of mind and help alleviate some stress in your life.

Breathe deeply and take care of yourself today! You’ve got this!

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