100+ Journal Prompts for Reflection and Self-Restoration

, Staff Writer
Updated April 20, 2021
woman writing in journal
    woman writing in journal
    Pacific Images LLC / The Image Bank / Getty
    Used under Getty Images license

Journal writing isn’t just an academic tool. Reflective journal prompts for adults are a great way to relax and learn something about yourself. Use these prompts covering self-reflection, spirituality and mindfulness to start your day or end it on the right note.

Journal Writing Prompts for the Morning

Writing in a journal first thing in the morning can be a great way to prepare yourself to have a wonderful day. Use these journaling prompts to get a head start on the day.

  • Write a morning motto that you can use to help get yourself in the right mindset to face a new day head-on.
  • Describe any interesting dreams you had last night. What do you think those dreams might mean?
  • What about the coming day are you most looking forward to?
  • What stressors do you expect to experience today? What actions can you take to minimize any negative impact from them?
  • Visualize the way you want the coming day to progress. Write about what you can do to help it unfold that way.
  • Write down any concerns or fears you have related to your to-do list for the day. Describe how you can cope with or address them to minimize impact.
  • List and describe what you are going to do today to take care of yourself, both physically and psychologically.
  • What did you learn yesterday that can help you have an even better day today?
  • Describe how you will effectively manage your time in the coming day.
  • What steps can you take today to prevent other people's negativity from impacting you?
  • What will you do today that will help you make progress toward an important goal?
  • Did something happen yesterday that you wish hadn't occurred? What can you do to keep it from happening again today?

Mindfulness Journal Prompts

Do you need to check yourself? Want to find out what is important to you? You can use these mindful or emotion-driven adult journal prompts.

  • What is your purpose right now? How has it changed?
  • What are you most grateful for?
  • Name one moment that you are truly proud of. Why are you so proud of it?
  • What about you is the most beautiful piece?
  • Why do your flaws add to your uniqueness?
  • What is your greatest strength?
  • How do your fears limit you?
  • Name one way that you showed courage today.
  • Describe one thing about yourself, your personality or your life that you’ve come to accept and even appreciate.
  • Who inspires you? How can you become more like that person?
  • Focus on what emotions you are feeling at the moment. List those emotions and describe how they are impacting you right now.
  • What steps can you take today to better care for yourself?

Self-Reflection Journal Prompts

It's important to look at your feelings and how situations have affected you. You can use these prompts for some deep self-reflection.

  • What is one feature or personality trait that makes you uniquely you? Why is that feature so important to your sense of self?
  • What is one song that nearly brings you to tears? What memory do you connect with that song?
  • If you could only use 5 words to describe yourself, what would they be? Why do these words hold so much impact on describing you?
  • What do you see as your biggest mistake? If you could change that moment what would you do differently and why?
  • How has your greatest loss changed the way you see the world?
  • What does love look like to you?
  • Name a moment when a mistake wasn’t actually a mistake.
  • Describe what peace looks like to you.
  • If your life were a novel, what genre would it be? What would the title be? Why?
  • How have you grown and changed in the last 10 years? 5 years? Are you who you thought you would be 20 years ago?
  • How would your closest friends describe you?
  • What experience in your life has most changed the way you view your place in the world?

Thought-Provoking Prompts for Journaling

Looking to probe your thoughts? Thought-provoking prompts will do just that!

  • Who are three people in your life that you would like to be more like? Why?
  • How does your favorite song make you feel? Why?
  • Name a book or movie that speaks to you. Why does it affect you so deeply?
  • Would it be better to ignore a situation and be loved or to act and be hated? Does what is happening in the situation make the difference?
  • Is love or money more important? Why?
  • If someone wrote a book about you, what would you want it to say?
  • Is truth or faith more important? Why?
  • Is it more important to be true to yourself, your friends or society? Why?
  • What traits or characteristics do you most value in a true friend?
  • If your friend were to tell you something, do you believe it at face value or check the facts? Why can it be important to check the facts?
  • What is something you secretly desire? Why is it a secret? What would happen if it weren’t a secret?
  • What public figure do you admire most? What is it about that person that leads you to hold them in such high regard?

Spiritual Journal Prompts for Adults

Explore your spiritual side by looking at these thought-provoking journal prompts for adults.

  • What does the word spirituality mean to you? How has that changed since you were a child or teen?
  • What is something you do to make the world a better place? How could you do small things to make more of an impact?
  • What does soul mean to you?
  • What is your purpose or meaning in this life?
  • Is death the end or the beginning of a new journey?
  • What makes you feel connected to your spiritual side? Why?
  • What is one life rule that you should never break?
  • Is there coincidence in life, or does everything have a meaning?
  • Do your choices set your path or is your path already determined for you?
  • How do you explain deja vu?
  • What activities make you feel most connected to your spiritual side?
  • How would you describe or explain spirituality to your child?

Journal Prompts for Mental Health

Journaling can be a therapeutic aspect of coping with mental health challenges. It's also helpful for those seeking to maintain positive mental health.

  • What three things bring you the most happiness? List and describe how they contribute to your happiness.
  • List three situations in which you have felt a high level of anxiety. If you could go back to those situations now, what would you do to cope with the anxiety?
  • What three improvements would you most like to make in your life over the next year. What steps can you take now toward accomplishing them?
  • Think about the last time you were really angry. What caused you to feel that way? How did you respond? What do you wish you had done differently?
  • What is the largest challenge you have faced over the past year? What steps did you take to cope with that challenge?
  • List a coping mechanism you tend to use that actually doesn't help you. What can you use in the future as an alternative to this approach?
  • What song best describes how you feel on a good day? What is it about this tune that you relate to so much?
  • What song best describes how you feel when you are sad or anxious day? What is it about this song that you identify with?
  • Think of a person who you feel has caused you to experience pain. Write a letter letting that individual know you forgive them.
  • What three things are the most frequent sources of stress in your life? What steps can you take to minimize their impact on you?
  • What three things do you really wish other people knew about you? What would happen if you shared this information?

Positive Journal Writing Prompts

Positive thinking can have a powerful impact on a person's life. Incorporate some of these positive reflective writing prompts into your journaling activities.

  • What are five things that tend to impact your mood positively? What can you do to experience them more often?
  • What factors impact the extent to which you feel motivated in a positive way? What can you do to increase the presence of these factors in your life?
  • Describe something you did that had a positive impact on another person. What positive effects did the other person experience as a result of your actions?
  • Visualize yourself in your ideal living space. How does being there make you feel? Are there elements of that space that you can incorporate into your current home?
  • Describe your happy place. What elements of that place have the most positive impact on you?
  • What do you love the most about yourself? How does this feature or characteristic impact you or others in a positive way?
  • How do you feel when you do something nice for another person that is above and beyond what you would be expected to do?
  • List and describe five things that happened throughout the past month for which you are truly grateful.
  • What can you do today that will have a positive impact on another person?
  • Write a positive self-talk letter to yourself. Tell yourself what you need to hear in order to have a more positive outlook.
  • What are your greatest strengths? How do they impact you personally? How do they affect others in your life?

Journal Writing Prompts for Romantic Relationships

For many people, romantic relationships are an important focal part of their life. Journaling can help people build stronger relationships with their spouses or partners. It can also help people recognize when they might be in toxic relationships.

  • What can you do to convey your love to the important people in your life?
  • Think of a time when you felt deeply loved by your partner. What factors contributed to you feeling that way?
  • In what ways does your partner or spouse prioritize your needs above their own?
  • What are the most important qualities for a romantic partner to have?
  • In what ways does your partner bring out the best in you?
  • What sincere compliment first comes to mind when you first try to think of something nice to say to your partner?
  • What does romantic love mean to you?
  • What do you most love about your spouse or partner?
  • In what ways is your life better because of your relationship with your spouse or partner.
  • In what ways do you provide support for your partner's goals?
  • What factors in your life would change the most if you were no longer in a relationship with your partner?
  • In what ways do the opinions of others impact the relationship between you and your spouse or partner?

Journal Writing Prompts for Family and Friend Relationships

Relationships with family members and friends can also be an important factor in a person's life. Journaling about these relationships can help make them grow stronger.

  • What is the role of friendship in your life?
  • Imagine that you could create the ideal friend. Describe what that person would be like.
  • Think of a friend that you trust very much. What is it about that person that leads you to view them as trustworthy?
  • How would you describe the value or worth of a close friendship?
  • Is it easier or more difficult to build close friendships as an adult than it was as a child?
  • What steps can be taken to ensure that the people you love the most don't feel taken for granted?
  • If given a choice at the beginning of your life, would you have chosen to be part of your family? Why or why not?
  • What are some ways you can best express gratitude to your parents?
  • If you are an only child, how do you think your life would be different if you had siblings?
  • If you have siblings, how do you think your life would be different if you were an only child?
  • How can you best stay truly connected with members of your immediate family after reaching adulthood?
  • What is your experience with how family roles evolve over time?

A Good Reflective Journal Prompt

When it comes to reflective journal prompts for adults, look for prompts that are going to allow you to reflect on yourself or others. They allow you to explore positive and negative thoughts about your life and yourself. It’s also a way for you to analyze your life events and what is truly important to you. No matter what the prompt is, the important thing about a reflective journal prompt is that it makes you think. For more on journaling, discover the benefits of emotional journal writing. If there are young people in your life who could benefit from journaling, share some ideas from reflective journal tips for teens and students.