Talking with a therapist, seeking the support of friends and family, or even exercising more regularly: There are many helpful tools out there for managing your mental health. If you’re a creative type — or even if you just find it helpful to spill your thoughts out into a journal — it may be time to add writing to your arsenal of mental health resources. Think of journaling as another form of mindfulness, or even a coping strategy for when you’re dealing with difficulties that cause stress or anxiety. By taking time to slow down, get quiet, and sort through your thoughts and feelings, you can learn more about yourself — which is the first real step towards self-acceptance and positive change. Ready to take some time to sift through your thoughts and feelings? Grab your favorite journal or a laptop and try out one (or all!) of these writing prompts. Happy writing!

A woman journals while lying in bed

1. Gratefulness Index: When anxiety strikes, it steals your perspective along with it, causing you to focus on all the things you’re worried about instead of all you have to be thankful for. Recalibrating your mind to remember all the good things in your life can help keep anxiety or discontent at bay by giving you something positive to focus on instead. This one is simple: Just list out every single thing you’re thankful for. Don’t cut any corners, and get as specific as possible to counter how you might be feeling. For example: Feeling lonely? Write out an exhaustive list of people who love you. Feeling unaccomplished or behind? Write out the accomplishments you’re most proud of. Dealing with stress at work? List out everything you’re looking forward to, whether short- or long-term.

2. Taking Your Own Advice: Ever feel like you have decision paralysis? If you’re struggling with anxiety about a big decision or unsure how to navigate a tough dilemma in your life, putting yourself outside of the situation can be an interesting way to find out what you really think or feel about it, then take steps to move forward. Mentally remove yourself from the situation you’re in and write out a few paragraphs of insight as if you’re sharing it with a friend who is in your shoes. What advice would you give her? How would you encourage them? What would you want them to know? Then, put yourself back in the situation and consider how you can take your own advice.

A woman writes in a journal while looking at a tablet

3. Talking Back to Fear: Fear can be a debilitating force in our lives, but that doesn’t mean it’s always telling us the truth. Even though our insecurities and anxieties are often straight-up lying to us about ourselves, our lives, or other people, it’s so easy to listen to them. It’s time to stop the cycle by cutting off the fear that holds us back like it’s a toxic friend. Though there’s such a thing as healthy fear, concerns that keep us insecure and constantly afraid are the opposite. Think of it this way: How would you talk to a friend if they lied to you as much as your fears do? Write a letter to your fear like you’re cutting ties with a friend who doesn’t treat you well. As you tell them off, remind your fears of who you are and all you have to offer.

4. The Other Side of the Coin: Many times, on the other side of our greatest weakness, there’s an amazing strength to take hold of. For example, if you struggle with anxiety, that probably means you pay attention to detail and you care about others; if you’re a perfectionist, you probably value hard work; and if you’re critical, you likely care about others’ well-being. Choose a few parts of your personality that others have criticized in the past or areas you’ve felt insecure about. For each one, write a paragraph on how those things can be strengths or assets in your life — and then come up with a game plan for how you can leverage those strengths in a positive way.

What’s your favorite writing prompt to follow? Tell us how you journal @BritandCo!

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