100 Gentle Journal Prompts To Help When You’re Depressed

Last Updated on April 17, 2024

If only life were always a bowl of cherries, but we know that life brings its disappointments, its challenges, and its sorrows. During these difficult times, embracing journaling prompts for depression can provide a path to understanding, healing, and growth.

Misfortunes and difficulties can come upon us at different times in our lives, and often unexpectedly.

Sometimes sadness and sorrow can be overwhelming and, when it is, then depression can come over us like a dark cloud.

Depression is not a moment of sadness that we experience and then manage to move on from, resuming our normal lives.

Depression is sadness that we can’t shake. It keeps us from participating fully in life.

Often people who are depressed will stop going to work and shut themselves off from others.

They may stop caring for themselves, eating little and staying in bed.

When this happens it can be very scary, and it isn’t always easy to identify just what exactly was the trigger.

When the son of a good friend of mine went to college, he was very unhappy and he experienced a week when he could not get out of bed. He actually thought he was going to die.

One of my own children suffers from extreme depression and is medicated for it. Combined with anxiety, as is often the case, he is unable to function fully.

Sometimes thinking about why you are depressed can lead you to take steps to get out of your depressed state.

Journaling can be very helpful in this way. Thinking and writing can give us understanding and a foundation for moving forward.

Journaling Prompts To Reduce Depression Condition

When we are depressed it’s like we get into a rut and we can’t see our way out.

There may be one particular occurrence that has caused us to feel depressed, but often there are a number of things that together have caused it.

A good friend of mine dealt with a number of things over the course of several years which eventually led to his becoming depressed.

He was unable to return to work and he sought counseling. 

He is a person who always seeks to help others and when he had to deal with situations that were ultimately outside of his control he eventually crumbled.

If you are reading this article, then you are already taking the first step toward healing.

The journal prompts in this category encourage you to both examine your depression and also reflect on positives about yourself and about your life.

Write about the earliest episode of depression you can remember.

What is one emotion you would love to feel and why?

Is there an activity or hobby you’d like to try?

Write about five things you are thankful for.

Start small and choose a prompt that speaks to you. Do not feel discouraged if you can’t write too much or maybe even anything on the first go-round.

Just opening this article and reading through some of the prompts is a big step.

Eventually, you may write more and as you experience some positive feelings you will want to read, think about, and write on more ideas.

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22 Journaling Prompts To Reduce Depression Condition

1. “What has your depression taught you?”

2. “Note down three things you love about yourself.”

3. “How would you describe yourself to a stranger?”

4. “Is there an activity or hobby you’d like to try?”

5. “Write about five things you are thankful for.”

6. “How do you make time for self-care?”

7. “What is one emotion you would love to feel and why?”

8. “Describe some skills you have that you would like to develop.”

9. “What is one habit that you would like to stop?”

10. “How does your job affect your mental health?”

11. “What do you need more of in life? What do you need less of?”

12. “Write down three tasks that you completed this week.”

13. “What did you accomplish today that you’re proud of?”

14. “Make a list of songs, movies and books that uplift you when you feel depressed.”

15. “Write about the earliest episode of depression you can remember.”

16. “What small change could you make to your daily routine to improve your life?”

17. “Write a letter to future you.”

18. “What is your greatest achievement?”

19. “List three of your triggers and the techniques you use to deal with them.”

"List three of your triggers and the techniques you use to deal with them."-Journaling Prompts For Depression

20. “How would you describe depression to someone who hasn’t experienced it?”

21. “What qualities do you love in other people?”

22. “Write down a positive affirmation that you can recite each morning.”

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Depression Journal Prompts For Mindfulness

Mindfulness is being completely present and aware in the moment. Being mindful means we are fully invested in whatever it is we are doing.

To be mindful we have to be conscious of what our mind is thinking, of how we are acting and reacting.

Mindfulness gives us a greater sense of ourselves and our presence in this life and in this world.

Depression makes us feel like we want to shut ourselves away from that world and not play a part in it.

Our hurt and sorrow make us feel like we simply can’t handle life right now. We want to stay on the couch or lie in our bed and forget about the world.

So, how do we get from a depressed state to one of mindfulness?

A helpful tool is to respond to journal prompts about mindfulness. Journaling is an activity that is done by yourself so you don’t feel pressure from others.

There is no need to join a group, or meet with family members to read, reflect, and write.

Plus, journaling is personal. The prompts you select to write about are the ones that you connect with, not anyone else.

This non-threatening aspect is important for those who are feeling depressed.

You might wish to begin by considering what makes you feel loved and safe. Perhaps you are drawn to think about the short-term goals you have  for yourself.

What you choose really depends on you.

Responding to some of these prompts will get you thinking about life, not hiding from it.

Becoming more aware of yourself, your good qualities, and your interests will gently help you to become active again.

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25 Depression Journal Prompts For Mindfulness

23. “What makes you feel loved and safe?”

24. “What is your biggest source of stress or worry at the moment?”

25. “What would you do if you weren’t afraid?”

26. “If depression was a person what would you say to it?”

27. “List 10 things you love about life.”

28. “What is your happiest memory and why?”

29. “What would bring you peace?”

30. “How can you show yourself more love?”

31. “Name some healthy ways to deal with depression.”

32. “What does the word happiness mean to you?”

33. “What is your greatest accomplishment and why?”

34. “What are you afraid of?”

35. “Who do you aspire to be like and why?”

36. “How do you add value to the world?”

37. “How do you cope with stress?”

38. “Name 5 of your long-term goals.”

39. “How do you think depression holds you back in life?”

"How do you think depression holds you back in life?"

40. “Name 5 of your short-term goals.”

41. “What cheers you up immensely?”

42. “What are three things you can do to enhance your mental health?”

43. “Who else do you need to forgive?”

44. “What advice would you give to someone also dealing with depression?”

45. “What do you need to forgive yourself for?”

46. “Why is mental health so important?”

47. “What secrets are you still carrying? What are you still holding onto from the past?”

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Impressive Journal Prompts For Depression

The final category contains 52 journal prompts for depression that may inspire you and get you feeling better.

The following three prompts give you an idea of some of the prompts available here:

When was the last time you did something nice for yourself?

What are 3 new hobbies you would like to try?

What is your favorite inspirational quote?

Getting your mind thinking of activities you would like to try, or reflecting on taking care of yourself takes your mind to a positive place.

Once you are writing about positive things then the next step is to get up and actually do.

Action is especially important when dealing with depression. When we are active our brain releases endorphins – feel good hormones – which make us want to continue to be active.

Begin with even the smallest of things like move to a desk or a chair on the porch and do a word search, or get out the scarf you were knitting and do a few rows.

This is a big step that will lead to other steps.

Read through these journal prompts to see what you are drawn to respond to. Let the prompt encourage you to take that step by visualizing and writing about your feelings.

Before you know it you will be putting those words into action.

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53 Impressive Journaling Prompts For Depression

48. “Write about the happiest time in your life.”

49. “How can you make more time for those interests?”

50. “Write 3 things you are thankful for.”

51. “Name 1 event that troubles you and you want to work on letting go of.”

52. “When is the last time you did something nice for yourself?”

53. “What are 3 new hobbies you would like to try?”

54. “What is your favourite inspirational quote?”

55. “Write down 3 things you achieved today.”

56. “Who is someone who is negative and you would like to spend less time with?”

57. “What is a part of yourself you are unhappy with – how can you work on improving this?”

58. “What area of your life are you most unhappy with? (friends, career, relationship, financial)”

59. “What is something that you are looking forward to?”

60. “When were you last not depressed? What is different in your life then and now?”

61. “How would your perfect life look?”

"How would your perfect life look?"-Journaling Prompts For Depression

62. “What is 1 habit you would like to start?”

63. “What are you doing to work towards that goal?”

64. “How can you start making changes to improve this area?”

65. “What is your favourite uplifting song?”

66. “Who are people that have a positive effect on your life and you would like to spend more time with?”

67. “What is a goal you are working towards?”

68. “What is 1 habit you would like to stop?”

69. “Who inspires you?”

70. “Talk about a time you helped someone.”

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71. “What is 1 way in which you can reward yourself when you accomplish something?”

72. “Name something you need to forgive your younger self for.”

73. “What are your interests?”

74. “What is something you can plan, so you will look forward to it?”

75. “What are your favourite things to do when you feel depressed?”

76. “How do you think your life would be different if you were not depressed?”

77. “What are 5 things in your life you are thankful for?”

78. “What motivates you?”

79. “Do you have any secret quirky talents?”

80. “What are your favourite techniques to de-stress yourself?”

81. “What is your perfect career?”

82. “What is 1 self care idea you are going to do for yourself every day?”

"What is 1 self care idea you are going to do for yourself every day?"

83. “What have you learned through having depression?”

84. “Name 3 techniques you can try next time you feel depressed.”

85. “How would your best friend describe you?”

86. “Where do you want to be in 10 years time.”

87. “Who can you talk to about your depression?”

88. “Is there any way you could change your life to live more in line with those morals?”

89. “How can you make changes in your life to achieve this?”

90. “What would you say to a friend who is suffering with depression?”

91. “Write about your values and morals.”

92. “Which of these depression quotes resonated mostly with you?”

93. “What are 3 Mental Health apps you want to try?”

94. “Do you think that depression can be overcome?”

95. “What are things that trigger your depression?”

96. “Make a list of 10 TED talks for mental health that you would like to watch.”

97. “Do you think that people should talk more about their Mental Health?”

98. “What is 1 change you can make in your life to avoid depression in the future?”

99. “Make a list of 3 Mental Health books you would like to read this year.”

100. “How can you minimise or avoid these triggers?”

"What is 1 self care idea you are going to do for yourself every day?"-Journaling Prompts For Depression

Frequently Asked Questions

What Are Journaling Prompts For Depression And How Can They Help?

Journaling prompts for depression are thoughtful questions designed to guide individuals through their thoughts and emotions. They offer a safe space for self-expression, self-awareness, and potential healing during challenging times.

How Can Journaling With Prompts Aid In Managing Depression Symptoms?

Journaling provides an outlet for processing emotions, identifying triggers, and tracking mood patterns. Prompts encourage self-reflection and can promote a sense of release and understanding.

What Types Of Prompts Are Effective For Individuals Dealing With Depression?

Effective prompts might include those that focus on gratitude, self-compassion, identifying negative thought patterns, setting small goals, and exploring sources of joy.

Can Journaling With Prompts Replace Professional Help For Depression?

Journaling can be a valuable complementary tool to therapy or counseling, but it’s not a substitute for professional help. If you’re struggling with depression, it’s essential to seek guidance from a mental health professional.

How Often Should I Journal Using Prompts When Dealing With Depression?

The frequency depends on your comfort level. You can journal daily or as needed to help manage your emotions. Consistency can aid in tracking progress and identifying patterns.

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