8 Things You Were Scolded For as a Child That Have Hurt Your Self-Esteem as an Adult

8 Things You Were Scolded For as a Child That Have Hurt Your Self-Esteem as an Adult

I think it’s safe to say that everyone struggles with their self-esteem at some point or another. It’s just human nature.

But although we may think that low self-esteem is just “our own issue”, most of the time it actually comes about because of things we were taught (that is, things were were scolded for) in our childhood!

When we were growing up, we learned from our parents, our teachers, our peers, and – of course – the media, that we should feel self-conscious and that we should feel as though we aren’t enough just the way we are. These feelings of inadequacy then became embedded in our mind, and as we grew up, it manifested in low self-esteem. And the more complicated life got, the worse our self-esteem seemed to get!

So for this blog post, I thought I’d take a look at some common things that we were scolded for in our childhood that have led to us being self-conscious as adults. And at the end of the article, I’ll explore some practical tools that will help reverse these effects! 

Not getting good grades

If you were scolded for not getting good grades as a child, then you might have started to associate your self-worth with your accomplishments in life.

This is something that so many of us do. But in reality, we should never get our sense of worth based on the things we accomplish (in school, in our career, or otherwise). Things like this will come and go – and our self-worth will fluctuate with it!

Instead, we should aim to feel worthy based on who we are as a person.

Saying something “stupid” 

If you’ve been made fun of or gotten into trouble for saying something that others deem as “stupid” when you were a child, then later in life, you may constantly feel like you’re saying something stupid.

The truth is, everyone at some point says something stupid. And honestly, it’s not even stupid – it’s just that you might have interpreted something differently or you didn’t quite understand what someone meant. Or it could have just been a total brain fart – it happens to the best of us!

We all have such different backgrounds and such different experiences – you can’t expect to know everything and be able to respond “perfectly” to everything people say.

Doing something wrong  

Children don’t have the same knowledge about what’s ‘right’ and ‘wrong’ as adults do. This is just biology. 

While it’s important to learn right/wrong when we’re growing up, we can’t be expected to become morality masters when we’re 5 years old (or even 10, 12, or 15 years old!). If you were constantly scolded for doing something “wrong” when you were a child, you may become anxious about not doing the right thing when you’re older.

This is problematic, because humans aren’t perfect creatures, and we will all do something wrong at some point. This doesn’t make us bad, and it shoudln’t be something we’re self-conscious about. 

Getting angry or emotional

Think about the last time you were sad. What about angry? Frustrated? I’m willing to bet you can remember. Why? Because we have these emotions ALL the time!

Being angry and emotional is a totally natural part of life. The thing is, while we don’t shame adults for being emotional, we do shame kids for it!

For some reason, a lot of people get really mad at children for showing emotion. Not everybody does this of course, but you may have had experiences as a child where you were scolded for just feeling your feelings. I just want to tell you that it’s not your fault, and that it’s okay to feel these things.

If more children were allowed to express their emotions freely, then maybe we wouldn’t have as many adults who are unable to express their emotions or who bottle them all up and then have other, more serious problems as a result.

Eating something that you weren’t supposed to

Many of our parents grew up in a diet culture, so when you were growing up, you may have experienced them telling you things like “that’s not healthy!” or “that’ll make you gain weight!”.

Even if you were never “scolded” for it, there’s a lot of subtle language that can make us feel bad about our food choices (and maybe even our bodies) that can cause us to have major food issues and body image issues as adults. 

Doing something that wasn’t your fault

Sometimes when we were kids, we got into trouble for things that someone else did. When this happened to us, we didnt understand why, and we didn’t know how to process it. It just seemed so unfair.

If this happened to you a lot, you may later in life start to worry that people won’t beleive you or that people are “out to get you”. This is a dangerous thing to think, as it can cause major trust issues

Speaking your mind

How many of you remeber being told as a kid “don’t say that!”. I’m betting a lot of you!

The thing is, many children were taught that they had to behave the same way as adults. We had to say what adults wanted us to say and do what adults wanted us to do. And if we ever were to speak our minds or disagree with our “elders”, they’d get angry at us, and we’d begin to think that it’s not okay to speak our minds.

Later in life, this could lead to you feeling insecure or uncomfortable about speaking your mind for fear of being rejected or shut down. 

Not wanting to do something

When I was young, I honestly felt so bad for the kids who never got to have a say in what they wanted to do. Nowadays, there are a lot of kids who get to do whatever they want (this is a different problem!), but there are still a lot of kids who literally don’t get to do what they want – at all.

Alternatively, if they don’t want to do something that really upsets them for some reason (that reason might be hard for adults to understand, but it’s valid nonetheless) and they were pushed to do it anyway, then that would lead them believing that their opinions aren’t valid later in life. And if that happened to you as a child you may have some unconscious beliefs that people don’t care about your opinion.

How to reverse these ideas

Damaged self-esteem from childhood can be difficult to heal, but don’t worry – it’s not impossible! It just takes some practice. Over time, your beliefs can change – as long as you take active steps towards changing them. And that’s what I’m here to help for!

 Some good first steps include:

  • Journaling
  • Bringing awareness to your self-talk in situations that make you feel self-conscious
  • Actively working on self-love
  • Working on healing your inner-child
  • Therapy or counselling

Here are some helpful blog posts I’ve written about changing your limiting beliefs, fostering self-love through journaling, and healing your inner child. These will be a great help in starting you on you self-esteem journey:

30 Days of Self-Love Journal Challenge

How to Heal Your Inner Child When Your Criticize Her Every Day

Learning About Limiting Beliefs and How to Heal Them 

I also have some FREE worksheets you can have sent straight to your inbox – all you have to do is sign up below! 

And lastly – here’s a great online therapy platform I HIGHLY recommend that will help you – it’s a bit cheaper than traditional therapy and doesn’t require meeting face-to-face (perfect for social distancing!).

 

Sagesse ("Say Jess")

Sagesse ("Say Jess")

Owner of Mindaya

Hey guys, it’s Sagesse – the face behind website! I’m dedicated to helping you find freedom your anxiety and overcome the mental obstacles that are standing in the way of your best life!
12 Ways to Make Progress on Your Goals When You Feel Completely Stuck

12 Ways to Make Progress on Your Goals When You Feel Completely Stuck

Sometimes it can be really hard working towards a goal. You have all of these great plans, but then there comes various roadblocks, self-doubt, a change in circumstances, COVID!!, lack of motivation, and whatever else life throws at you.

I’ve always had tons of pretty hefty goals (some that I’ve reached, some I haven’t, and some I’m still working on) and I KNOW the struggle!

That’s why I’ve compiled a great list of things that I find always help me to find my motivation again and bust down those roadblocks! And you can do them super quickly to get back on track!

So here we go!

Ways to progress on your goals when you feel STUCK!

1. Make a list of everything you need to do. 

Just putting pen to paper can help create a flow of ideas. Make a list of everything that is making you feel stuck. Then you can go over it and see if there are ways that you can get unstuck with that. Basically just have a brainstorm session and it can help reset you and get new ideas that you might not have thought of.

2. Do some research. 

Take an hour or two to research common roadblocks that people commonly have with your type of goal. See if you can find any insight into how to overcome those roadblocks. You can even reach out to people who have had the same struggles as you and ask them about what they did to get out of those blocks. This will give you a lot of motivation and ideas to start overcoming your own roadblocks.

3. Take a break

Reset yourself for a bit. Give your brain a chance to relax a little bit. While it’s resting, you might actually get some new ideas or a new viewpoint of the whole situation.

4. Reprioritize

You might be feeling stuck because you’re not actually working on the right things and they might actually be slowing you down. 

Take a look at the things that are actually working for you and actually making your life and your work better and try to put those on the top of your to do list. You can even use a priority matrix which can help you figure out the most important things for you to be doing right now.

5. Listen to some inspirational podcasts or read some inspirational blogs

 I always find that getting some outside motivation can help you to re-jig your brain and make you feel way more motivated.

6. Watch a movie that relates to your life right now

I find that movies, tv shows, and other creative media can help me spark creative ideas. Even if they aren’t fully related to what you’re doing, they actually just have a way of sparking something in your brain and making you think differently and possibly lead to some new ideas and motivation.

7. Reach out to someone who is currently doing what you would like to do

 Not only will you get some really good advice, but this will also help build your network and maybe bring you new opportunities in the future.

8. Join a Facebook group in your niche

There are so many awesome Facebook groups out there and so many people who just want to help you or who are going through the same things as you. 

I’m in a couple of groups and the women in the groups are so supportive and so engaged that it really does bring you motivation. And people tend to ask a lot of questions which might help you with problems you have been wondering about.

9. Forgive yourself and get out of the shame spiral that’s causing you to get down on yourself

Sometimes we get caught in these negative thinking patterns that cause us to feel unmotivated and unengaged in our goals. We get down on ourselves, lose our confidence, and then it becomes a downwards spiral.

So to fix this, you need to acknowledge that everyone makes mistakes, can be lazy sometimes, and can feel stuck – and you’re no different! Don’t let your past mistakes stop you from continuing NOW.

 

10. Get an accountability buddy

Even if they aren’t doing the same things as you, you guys can keep each other accountable on your own goals. 

This is a great way to fuel your motivation and help you to take action! I almost always need some external motivation to do the work that I need to do to reach my goals.

11. Remind yourself of why you want to reach your goal

You might realize that the reason you feel stuck is because you’re actually not as excited about your goals anymore, so maybe you need to shift your goals a bit. 

Or you just need to be reminded of the end goal, So that you can just give your motivation a little boost.

12. Find ways to enjoy the process. 

You don’t want to only focus on the end goal, you need to find a way to make the process enjoyable or else it’s just not worth it.

Now if you want a little bit of extra help with this, I have an awesome free goal planner that helps you figure out all of this stuff, like motivation, prioritizing, and other uncommon but crucial things that go into planning your goals. (By signing up, you’ll also get access to TONS more free resources!)

Sagesse ("Say Jess")

Sagesse ("Say Jess")

Owner of Mindaya

Hey guys, it’s Sagesse – the face behind website! I’m dedicated to helping you find freedom your anxiety and overcome the mental obstacles that are standing in the way of your best life!
8 Essential Ways to Protect Your Emotions as an Empath

8 Essential Ways to Protect Your Emotions as an Empath

Lately I’ve been feeling VERY emotional. Is it because my life is difficult right now? No. Is it because life is difficult for some people I care about? Yes!

I’ve realized that I am a TOTAL empath!

I’ve always been aware that I’m generally empathetic, but lately it’s been much more prominent in my life and more difficult to deal with. And I bet many of you can relate!

That’s why I started thinking of ways we empaths can protect ourselves so we don’t get too drained and overwhelmed. 

If you’re here, you probably already know that you’re an empath, but in case you’re not sure, here are some ways to tell.

  • You can feel just as sad when something bad happens to someone you know as you would if it happened to you
  • You frequently feel emotional and don’t really know why
  • You may feel anxiety over jobs or tasks that will impact someone else
  • You get really sad during emotional movies
  • You generally feel a desire to help people and love the idea of improving the lives of others

So when you are an empath and exhibit some of these qualities, it can be very easy to get either emotionally drained or emotionally overwhelmed. 

So here are 8 ways to protect your emotions as an empath

#1 Reflect on who or what causes you to feel drained or overwhelmed

Do you feel drained after watching the news? Do you feel overwhelmed when reading about problems happening in the world?

Does the same happen when someone you know is having a bad day?

Or do you have someone in your life who uses you as an emotional crutch? (Either intentionally or not)

These things can be very draining for an empath and it’s the first step to recognize them.

#2 Recognize that you can’t fight people’s battles for them

As an empath, you probably want to solve everyone’s problems because you will feel so affected by them. 

Whether it’s wanting to save the world or fix all the problems of those close to you, you can’t do it all.

That isn’t to say that you can’t do your part to help the world or your loved ones, but recognize that you can only do so much – and that you do need to take care of your mental wellness first.

#3 Give what is within your comfortable range

So we already know that you would do anything for the people you care about, but let’s be real – you have limits. You can’t do it all. 

Figure out what is reasonable for you that you can help with and do that. 

You’ll feel good about contributing, but you won’t feel overwhelmed or drained. 

Related Article:  100 Self-Care Activities

#4 Determine your boundaries and stick to them

You can take #3 a step further and really figure out what you are able to give to others while still protecting your own emotional health.

A little exercise I like to do is think about about what “fills my cup” and what “empties my cup”.

There’s a popular saying, “you can’t pour from an empty cup”, meaning that you can’t help or give to others if you aren’t at your best (or at least at a good emotional level).

Make sure you stay away from the things that empty your cup.

If you are constantly doing things for people that empty your cup, you will burn out. 

If you’re getting drained by trying to please everyone, here are some tips:

-in any area of life, whether it’s at work or in your personal life, know that it’s ok to say no to things!

-be genuine and express that you just don’t have the emotional capacity right now

-if you do want to help people but you just find they drain you a bit too much, set a limit. Let them know you are there for them, but tell them in advance that you can only give so much time

-recognize that each person is in charge of their own lives and, whether they realize it or not, it will benefit them to work through their problems on their own.

#5 COMMUNICATE!!!!!

If there are people who continuously draining your energy and causing you negative emotions, you MUST communicate with them clearly. 

Let them know how they can affect you in a calm and nice way. 

Tell them that there are certain things you can’t help with and suggest someone that can help them (therapist, professional advisor, etc.)

If you let people know that you care, and that you actually might care too much, they will be more understanding.

Let them know that you are still there to listen, but that sometimes you need a break. Again, suggest therapy or counselling (or even a helpline) if you feel like they need more help or if you are worried that they are in a crisis. 

If it’s a co-worker or boss that is draining your energy by being demanding, callous, mean, or anything else that makes you feel upset – communication is key.

As an empath, you will take on that energy so strongly and it will not be a good environment for you.

And although it might seem scary to confront someone you work with (especially one who might be a little bit scary to you), it will be much better for you in the long run to at least try to make things better for yourself.

#6 Make time for self-care!!!

You need a you day! You NEED self-care in order to re-charge your mental energy.

Remember how we talked about filling your cup? Well in my mind, self-care is the best way to fill your cup.

Make sure that you do the things that fill your cup!

You can check out my post on 100 self-care ideas or sign up to get TONS of self-care worksheets, journal exercises, and tips on happy and healthy living! 

#7 Journal

Journaling is an incredible way to release your emotions if you are feeling bogged down by them. 

You can use stream of consciousness journaling to let go and release all of your thoughts onto paper. 

You can also use guided exercises like the 5 why’s and a thought dissection exercise. You can get them by following the links or you can download my free self-care worksheets above, so you can get beautiful printable worksheets (you can also fill them in my editing the pdfs). 

Just write down how you feel and that can help you get your thoughts and feelings out of your mind and body. 

#8 Consider therapy, counselling, or coaching

Sometimes these empathetic feelings can really affect you, and that’s ok.

Sometimes there are toxic people that are hard to escape from. (And if you do think you’re in a toxic or even abusive relationship, there are resources to help, like this website)

Therapy or counselling is an excellent way to deal with your emotions. Whether you feel anxious, overwhelmed, or just need advice on how to deal with different people and situations in your life! 

You can also consider online therapy, which is a great way to get counselling and therapy from the comfort of your own home!

Protecting your emotions as an empath is ESSENTIAL

If you need any extra help with self-care and your mental health I have tons of free resources that you can use below! 

It comes with 100+ journal prompts (and many more resources) that can help you to manage your emotions and live a balanced and healthy life!

Sagesse ("Say Jess")

Sagesse ("Say Jess")

Owner of Mindaya

Hey guys, it’s Sagesse – the face behind website! I’m dedicated to helping you find freedom your anxiety and overcome the mental obstacles that are standing in the way of your best life!
30 Days of Self-Love for a More Confident You! | Self-Love Challenge

30 Days of Self-Love for a More Confident You! | Self-Love Challenge

“I’m not good enough for that”

“They’re not going to like me”

“There’s no way I could ever do that” 

“Ugh I wish I was skinnier”

“I can’t believe I said that. Why did I say that???”

These are just a few examples of things that we say to ourselves that can be completely unfair and definitely not self-loving. 

If you find yourself saying any of these things to yourself or anything similar, you can definitely benefit from a 30-day self-love reset.

You can definitely go through these exercises in less or more time than the 30 days, but I feel that 30 days is a good length of time to create a habit of self-love. 

I have outlined everything in this post, but if you would like a beautiful printable copy to follow along with, you can sign up below for free!

You’ll also get tons of other printable sheets to help you with self-care, mental health, productivity, and really everything that contributes towards a happy and healthy life!

Why I created 30 Days of Self-Love

I used to be one of those people who did not have much self-love at all.

I was constantly beating myself up about every little thing I did wrong, I would be up all night if I said anything I thought was “stupid”, I was constantly sad if I wasn’t doing as well as other people in school or in my career, and I was unfair to my body because I didn’t look the way I thought I should. 

The list goes on.

I didn’t realize that these unhelpful sayings were actually way more toxic than I thought.

These were signs of a severe lack of self-love.

To love someone is to love them for not only for their good qualities but for their flaws as well. 

Think about how you give love to others: 

You still love your parents even though they’re not perfect.

You still love your friends even though they’re not perfect.

You still love your partner even though they’re not perfect.

You still love your dog even though… wait… nevermind, dogs are perfect! 

But you get my point! 

You need to love yourself like you love others!

You need to learn to love yourself FOR your flaws and for the amazing strength you have for surviving the things that have made you feel like you are not good enough.

But now, it’s time to change how you think about those things that made you have love for yourself less and start using them as your strengths. 

My Biggest Self-Love Breakthrough

When I FINALLY started to truly love myself was when I forgave myself for my mistakes and showed myself compassion for all the things I had been through.

Life is unfair, and there are a lot of great people who get a lot of crap thrown at them that they don’t deserve. 

That includes you. 

And you have to realize that it’s not your fault that these things happened to you. 

People are mean to you because they have problems.

People expect you to be skinny/pretty (or any other annoying standard) because society has problems.

You have unrealistic success standards for yourself because you are comparing yourself to unrealistic standards that don’t reflect reality.

What to Expect for the next 30 Days of Self-Love 

So for the next 30 days, we’re going to focus on retraining your brain on how you see yourself, your successes, and your failures.

Each day will build off of the previous day to slowly bring you to having more love for yourself. 

Try to do these in the morning so that you can keep the positivity flowing throughout the day!

Day 1: Write an intention that you can use every day.

Here are some examples. 

A daily intention will help you start your day with purpose. You can write the intention (or a new intention) at the top of your journal page every morning so that you can remind yourself every day. 

Day 2: Write five positive affirmations about yourself. 

Think about different aspects of your personality and why they make you truly unique.

Try to incorporate saying these into your daily routine.

Hint: try things like writing them on your mirror (or on a piece of paper and tape it to your mirror) or saying them when you wake up (along with your daily intention).

Day 3: List all of the toxic things you say about yourself

(I know that you know you’re being toxic to yourself, don’t say that you don’t know which habits are toxic)

But if you don’t know, some toxic habits include:

-beating yourself up over tiny mistakes

-calling yourself stupid

-believing everything is your fault and that you are somehow responsible for how others are feeling

This is going to be a great way to identify when you are being unfair to yourself.

Day 4: Re-wiring thought patterns

This is an exercise that you should do every time you have a negative thought.

Look back at your toxic habits from yesterday’s exercise. 

For every bad thought about yourself, write something positive.

For every fear or insecurity you have, write a strength that you have that could help you deal with the fear or insecurity.

Think about why you feel you say those things to yourself. What could be the cause?

Day 5: Write a letter to your childhood self. 

What were your insecurities? 

How do you feel about them now? 

What have you learned since then? 

How can you apply that now? 

Day 6: Write a letter to your teenage self.

What were your insecurities? 

How do you feel about them now? 

What have you learned since then? 

How can you apply that now? 

Day 7: Write yourself a pep talk for when you feel sad or full of doubt. 

Sometimes we get caught up in our minds, and our emotions, like fear, doubt, and sadness can cause us to lose sight of all the positive things about us and in our lives. It’s important to have something to look back on when you’re feeling down.

Day 8: What kind of words would your closest friend, sibling, or parent say about you? 

And don’t say that they don’t have anything good to say about you, because they definitely do have kind words to say about you, even if you don’t think so.

Day 9: For every “weakness” you think you have, write a strength that you have. Or even better, write ways in which your weakness is actually a strength.

This is another way to rewire your thinking patterns.

Day 10: Write a list of inspirational quotes to look back on. 

Here are some of my favourites:

“You’ve been criticizing yourself for years, try approving of yourself and see what happens” – Louise Hay

“In order to love who you are, you cannot hate the experiences that shaped you” – Andrea Dykstra

“Your greatest responsibility is to love yourself and to know that you are enough” – Unknown

Day 12: Write five things you can do right now that can help you feel better. 

This is important because it gives you the power. This is going to help show your brain that you are in control.

Day 13: Think back to the times where you have felt uncomfortable receiving a compliment. 

Why do you think that is?

This is a great time to do the “5 why’s exercise”. Where you ask yourself “Why?” 5 times, each time diving deeper and getting to the original root cause of your fear or insecurity.

Day 14: When was the last time you felt empowered and like a true badass? 

What were you doing? 

Do you remember what you were thinking about yourself? 

Try to use these feelings and situations in the future to start feeling like this more often!

Day 15: Write a letter to your insecurities and tell them why they absolutely don’t define you. 

What defines you is your character and your will to improve if you’ve done something wrong.

Nothing else really matters.

Day 16: Write as if: how would you act if you were the most confident person in the world? 

What would you do? What would you wear? How would you approach people? How would you handle arguments? How would you handle your mistakes?

Day 17: Write down a list of people you admire.

In what ways are you similar to them?  

Day 18: What do you need to forgive yourself for?

Stop beating yourself up for every little thing. We are all human and certainly cannot be perfect. It is perfectly ok that you have made mistakes, as long as you can own them and strive to be better next. It’s really all that you can do. 

Day 19: Write yourself a letter giving yourself forgiveness.

The act of writing this and letting go of the things that bring you guilt and shame can be very freeing.

This is something you can come back to when you are feeling guilty or shameful.

Day 20: What are your core values? Why do they make you special?

We all have unique ways of adding value to the world and that can make us very special.

Core values include: being kind, supporting the environment, being honest, being loyal, defending others, helping others by giving constructive criticism, and many other things.

Day 21: Write a list of your greatest accomplishments.

Even if they are super small, they are an accomplishment. 

Even if it was as simple as getting out of bed

Day 22: Write a list of ways that you add value to the world. 

Remember that there are many things that you do that people appreciate about you, but you just don’t realize that they do. 

Think about even the smallest things: do you smile at people? Do you make people feel included? Do you hold the door open for people? Do you make a killer lasagna? Whatever it is, know that you add a unique value to the world and that is something to be proud of.

Day 23: What are some things you can work on to be the person that you want to be. 

Attention: This does not mean changing yourself or any of your core values! It also does not mean that you are not incredible the way you are. It just means that you can make some adjustments to start working towards your personal goals. 

Day 24: Write why it’s OK that you are not there yet.

It’s perfectly ok to not quite be there (or to be far from that “ideal” version of yourself). You are amazing the way you are.

Also, there are things in your life that you have gone through that have caused mental or emotional blocks for you, or maybe have caused

Day 25: Why is it important to you to be this “ideal person”? 

Do you feel pressured?

Does it align with your core values? 

Day 26: What are your true dreams? 

What is standing in your way? Why? Write why it’s ok that you are not there yet. Write actions tips that you can start doing to get closer to that dream.

Day 27: Write something positive about each of your body parts, face, and even your “problem areas”. 

Body shame is another huge reason for a lack of self-love, but why should it matter? 

Don’t like the look of your legs? They help you walk, dance, run, play sports, you name it! You should be grateful to them, not being ashamed and trying to change them.

Day 28: List your biggest triumphs. 

What have you overcome to get where you are today? There have probably been many obstacles you have overcome that you should be so proud of!

Day 29: Imagine you had a friend with all of your exact characteristics.

What positive things would you say to them? What would you tell them if they had a bad day? And what would you say to them if they failed at something? 

Trying to see things from a different perspective can help you to go easier on yourself. You wouldn’t judge someone else (especially a friend) nearly as much as you judge yourself.

Day 30: Write 5 positive affirmations about yourself

Yes, you did do this on day two, but I want you to do this again (without looking back to day two) and then compare to see how far you have come on your self-love journey.

***

Feel free to look back on any of these exercises when you need a little extra love! Your whole idea of yourself might not change in just 30 days, but it’s definitely worth it to start!

If you want a gorgeous, printable version of this you can sign up below to get access for free!

Sagesse ("Say Jess")

Sagesse ("Say Jess")

Owner of Mindaya

Hey guys, it’s Sagesse – the face behind website! I’m dedicated to helping you find freedom your anxiety and overcome the mental obstacles that are standing in the way of your best life!
100+ Journal Prompts for Your Mental Health

100+ Journal Prompts for Your Mental Health

As someone who has struggled with mental health for a long time, without ever going to therapy, I have found that journaling has been a bit of a saving grace for me.

It’s free, it’s easy when you have the right prompts, and it’s something that you can do again and again. 

If you have read any of my blogs or are a member of my free wellness and self-care portal, you’ll know that I love worksheets and journal exercises, and I like to use them as a way to re-train problematic thinking that can lead to anxiety, procrastination, low self-esteem and really anything else that inhibits you from living your best life. 

That’s why I have compiled a list of the best journal prompts to help reset your brain, get you out of a negative thinking pattern, and dig a little deeper into your psyche.

If you want a printable version of these prompts plus way more self-care resources, you can sign up to get them below for free!

Here are my top 100 journal prompts for your mental health!

I’ve organized them by category so you can go with what suits your mood!

Gratitude Journal Prompts

What do you appreciate most about your life right now?

What do you appreciate most about your parents?

What do you appreciate most about your friends?

What do you appreciate most about your occupation?

What do you appreciate most about your home?

Digging deep

Write about the worst day you have had? (if you are willing to go there, don’t worry if you don’t feel like writing about it)

Why was it so bad?

How did you feel about yourself that day?

How can you give yourself love for that day? 

Can you give yourself forgiveness? 

Write about how it makes you feel. And feel free to let yourself express those emotions out loud as well (cry, scream, punch a pillow – whatever you need to help release those emotions)

Digging in to recent emotions

What was the last thing that made you happy?

What was the last thing that made you cry?

What was the last thing that made you feel confident?

What was the last thing that made you angry?

What was the last thing that made you feel lonely?

Self-image and self-love journal prompts

Write about a protagonist character you admire and write 3 ways that they are similar to you

What would your best friend say was your best quality?

What do you think your best quality is?

Write a love letter to you body (even the parts you “don’t like”)

Name 3 cool skills you have

What is one thing that makes you unique?

Physical Feelings

Often times, our physical health is very connected to our mental health. These prompts can help you find the connections between your physical feelings and your emotions.

When was the last time you felt exhausted?

When was the last time you felt sick to your stomach?

What situations, activities make you feel shaky or dizzy?

What situation made your heart race (in a good way)? 

What situation made your heart race (in a bad way)?

The top 5s (good)

This exercise is just a good way to think about the good things that are in your life! It’s ok if you can only think of 3 or so!

So think about the top 5…

– songs that make you feel good

– activities that make you feel good

– smells that make you feel good

– foods that make you feel good

– foods that make you feel energized

– people you have fun with

– people that make you feel good about yourself

After going through those, write 5 ways you can incorporate more of these things into your life.

The top 5s (not-so-good)

It’s also a good idea to reflect on the things in your life that may not be so good for you.

So write down the top 5…

– foods that make you tired

– behaviours that make you tired 

– things that make you anxious

– things that make you sad/depressed

– people that make you feel bad

– comments about you that make you feel bad

Now write 5 ways that you can decrease how often these things appear in your life.

Exercises For Specific Fears and Anxieties

The 5 why’s Journal Exercise

I love this exercise and I always recommend it when you might be unsure of the cause of your emotions. This is one of the exercises from my 10 minute journal exercises to reduce fear.

Write down the anxious thought, fear, on mental hold-back that is causing you pain, uncertainty, or that is just negatively impacting your life.

Then, ask yourself “Why am I having this thought or why do I feel this way?”

Based on your answer above, ask yourself why you feel that way again.

Ask yourself why again 3 more times, each time trying to dig deeper and further into your thoughts and feelings.

Based on those answers, you should hopefully have an idea about the root cause/trauma/reason behind your fearful/negative thought or feeling, which you can then write down,

Now, based on this root cause, ask yourself the following 3 questions:

Is this how I should feel about this now?

Can I reframe the way I think about this past event? i.e. stop blaming yourself or others, forgive and accept it for what it was.

If/when I have this thought again, is there a better way that I can frame it?

Anxious Thought Analysis

Write down all the fears and anxieties you have right now. Don’t hold anything back. Write about how your fears make you feel.

Ask yourself if you are amplifying your fears with the following cognitive distortions:

Catastrophizing – irrationally assuming the worst-case scenario

Overgeneralizing – assuming that since something bad happened once, it will happen again under similar circumstances

Magical thinking – assuming that a specific, unlikely, and unrelated negative consequence will result – even with no evidence to support it

If you believe you are distorting reality, ask yourself what the most likely outcome of your feared event is

How likely is your fear to happen?

Take a moment and write down the likelihood of your fear. If it is most likely not going to happen, the fear is probably more of an irrational fear (and I’ll give you some prompts to deal with irrational fears shortly).

First, take a look at the fears that could actually happen.

Brainstorm some ways that you could lessen the impact if they happened. Think about what you could do even if the worst-case scenario happened. Chances are, there is a solution that will work.

Now write down a list of your strengths to handle the situation.

We often forget that we are very capable of handling tough situations.

Now, to deal with your more irrational thoughts and the thoughts from above that might still be worrying you, you can implement a Thought Safe Room. 

The Thought Safe Room will help you determine thoughts that are not helpful and turn them into thoughts that are helpful.

Thoughts like negative self-talk, what-if scenarios, catastrophic thinking are NOT allowed in your safe room. The thoughts might knock on your door and you can acknowledge them, but don’t let them in!

Thoughts like positive self-talk, aspirations, confident thoughts in your abilities (i.e. “I can handle this”), gratitude are always allowed in your safe room!

For other thoughts, like constructive criticism, fear about things that could actually harm you or affect your life, you can greet them at the door of your safe room and choose to allow them in sometimes if you feel like they will improve your life and you won’t get anxious about them.

Some final questions about these fears:

In what ways are you missing out on life by being afraid? 

How would your life be better if you didn’t have these fears?

Thought on Trial Journal Exercise

The purpose of this exercise is to analyze an anxious thought from a logical perspective, as if it were on trial. The idea is to find evidence that supports or rejects your thought.

Write down the anxious thought

Is there evidence that supports this thought?

Make sure that this evidence is not based on random information you find from misinformed people on the internet or based off of what you think the situation is –these things are not actual representations of the truth.

Now ask yourself, is this based on facts or feelings?

Is there someone you could ask that could clarify the situation or give you insight?

How would a friend see this situation?

Based on what you wrote above, what is a more rational way to think about this thought?

Writing Letters to Help With Healing

Writing letters that you can’t actually send is a great way to get out some emotions! Here are some people you can write letters to:

Your past self (you can forgive you past self for things you regret and talk about how far you have come since then)

Your future self

Someone who has hurt you (and express your anger about that)

Someone who has hurt you (and express forgiveness)

Someone who inspires you

Your inner child

Journal Prompts for Digging Deep and Getting Unstuck

Write a list of regrets + forgive yourself for each one

Write a list of improvements you could make to your life

Write a list of fears – are they rational?

How do your fears and anxieties hold you back? 

Are there small steps you could take to lessen how much they hold you back?

When have you felt loved?

When have you not felt loved?

List 3 small ways you can you love yourself the way you want to be loved?

Do you express love in the way you would like to be loved? If not, why?

Is there anything you need to say to people in your life that would make you feel better?

What do you feel like you are holding back from the world?

Analyzing your behaviours

Do you ever behave badly towards people? 

If so, why?

 And how can you change that? 

And how could that help you?

Are there any behaviours you do that increase your anxiety?

How could you modify those to decrease your anxiety?

Journal Prompts to foster Optimism

Write about your…

Dream life

Dream house

Dream partner

Dream friends

What can you do to bring yourself closer to those things?

What are some small things that you typically do throughout the day that make you happier?

Are there any fun things you would like to add into your life that you haven’t yet?

Is there anything you would really like to accomplish in life (i.e. your passion), but haven’t started or are too scared to start?

If you are too scared to start, why? (This answer can be used with any of the fear worksheets so that you can start to overcome this fear and go after what you really want)

How do you think these things can improve your current happiness level?

Is there anything else that could improve your current happiness level?

And although these things are fun to talk and dream about, write 3 ways that you can enjoy your life more right now.

***

So I hope that these journal prompts give you some extra help with your mental health and some inspiration for finding a deeper understanding of yourself.

And again, you can download a printable version of all of these journal prompts plus more by signing up below!

Sagesse ("Say Jess")

Sagesse ("Say Jess")

Owner of Mindaya

Hey guys, it’s Sagesse – the face behind website! I’m dedicated to helping you find freedom your anxiety and overcome the mental obstacles that are standing in the way of your best life!