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Ten Journal Prompts For When You Are Sad

Today I am sharing Ten Journal Prompts for when you are sad. Life gets hard. No way around it. Even the most successful and happy person you know is struggling somehow. It’s part of being human, this struggle to maintain a balance between the darkness and the light within us. The challenge, to stay at peace while being loving and productive and kind… All the while, managing to stay calm while inside turmoil rolls. And also to be responsible when we are so exhausted from it. Life contains struggles for everyone. Every one!

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Let’s begin by acknowledging that as long as we are alive we will experience both joy and sadness, hope and doubt, elation and depression, peace and instability, calm and anger. I could go on and on. But I won’t because I prefer to focus on an exercise that we can all do which helps us gain balance on the more comfortable side of each of these equations. And you won’t even believe how simple it is.

journaling - ten journaling writing prompts for when you are sad. List of writing prompts to help you feel better.

Journaling. Do you journal? I’m a huge fan. One thing I learned very young was that holding on to pain and emotion is a burden and one that can easily drown even the best swimmers among us. Holding onto things that are so very heavy is bad for us physically, spiritually, and mentally.

So, why do we hold onto our baggage, when it never feels good? We all have our reasons…

A lot of times we don’t release these things because we don’t know who we can trust with them. Other times, we want to spare others from our struggle. We don’t want to bring people down or cause any suffering for anyone else. Other times we may be ashamed of what caused us to carry the weight and so we don’t want to shine any light on it. Even though not a single one of us is perfect, we tend to believe our own darkness to be the thickest and the ugliest of all. It’s not, but it can really feel that way.

So how do we begin journaling our way back to a more positive state of mental, physical, and spiritual health? It’s simple, we just pick up a pen and start spilling. You can write a letter or a prayer, tell a story, make a list, express your concerns, jot down a poem, or just do a full-on brain dump. I’m a fan of all of them. I also like to sketch.

When you are done you can share if you want to. Or, you can tuck your journal into a locked drawer. Or you can throw the pages away. You can even burn them. That’s an okay thing to do too. The important part is the release. I will confess that often the release proves to be a starting point, a turning point, or even an ending point where necessary. But you just let that happen naturally. All you have to do is grab a notebook, a pen, and at least fifteen minutes to get real with yourself.

I’m including a list of Ten Journal Prompts For When You Are Sad in case you want something with some structure. I also have a 30 Days of Gratitude Journal Prompt List you may want to check out. I believe that the secret to maintaining balance is through gratitude but that’s a separate post. For now, here you go.

Ten Journal Prompts For When You Are Sad

  • What are three small things I could do for myself this week, not because I earned them or even deserve them but just because I want to be kind to myself?
  • What was the last thing that made me cry from sadness, and what was the last thing that made me cry out of happiness? How do I feel after I have a long cry?
  • What is a goal I could set that would improve the quality of my life? Here is a list of five ways I can get closer to my goal. What would I gain by achieving this goal?
  • What could I create? Could I bake something, paint something, draw something, write something, sew something, make up a dance or a song? What could I create this week?
  • People have been kind to me. Here are the last three kind things someone did for me that stuck with me. And here are the last three things I did to be kind to others.
  • How can I pay it forward? What act of kindness should I express to someone tomorrow? List three people and three examples of random acts of kindness I can share with them.
  • What is one of the happiest places I have ever been to? What made it special? Where could I plan to visit that would make me happy now? What would it take to make that visit happen?
  • Who is someone who inspires me to be my best self? Why? Who may I have had an influence on and inspired to be their best self and how did I do it?
  • What causes really touch my heart? Hunger, homelessness, victims of domestic abuse, the animal shelter? Decide on one cause I would like to work with and make a list of pros and cons to dedicating one hour a month to my cause. Where might this lead me?
  • In what ways could I help myself have more energy? Working out, sleeping better, eating better, vitamins? Make myself a list and make a plan.

One last thing, when I write from prompts I also include a few minutes to free-write just about how the day has gone, what’s on my mind, or jot down a to-do list so I can get it out of my mind long enough to focus on my journaling prompt. You may want to include this time too. But you do you. Whatever feels most comfortable to you, go with that. I really hope this list inspires and uplifts you as you work your way through it! I truly believe if you stick with it, it will bring transformation into your life. It certainly did mine.

If you need a little more inspiration to get started, check out this article from the University of Rochester Medical Center on How Journaling Is Good For Your Mental Health.

Download and Print These Writing Prompts Inside A Beautifully Designed Printable Journal

Printable inspirational Journal with Writing Prompts

Be blessed,


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1 thought on “Ten Journal Prompts For When You Are Sad

  1. Hi Gwen,

    Thank you ever so much for such a wonderful read.

    I too, much like yourself, love journaling, although it’s only been a part of my life for the past 2 years or so.

    I generally stick to only a few options when I’m journaling, but I tend to be quite negative in times of sadness. I try and get everything that’s on my mind down on paper, but I’m never sure whether this is a good thing or not.

    However, your prompts about people being kind, and even about how to pay-it-forward really struck a chord with me.

    This is something I am definitely looking forward to writing about. I sometimes find that I often take for granted the wonderful things that others do for me, especially when I’m feeling down, and this serves as a great reminder.

    So, thank you for that.

    With that said, one of my most common forms of journaling is writing out a gratitude list, and quite often I go into great detail, and this typically makes me feel quite good.

    Food for thought.

    Anyway, thanks once again, I thoroughly enjoyed this article.


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