Journal prompts can be a helpful tool for anyone suffering from depression, and truth be told quite a few of us do: Data from 2020 found that an estimated 21 million adults in the United States deal with major depression. And it's no secret that our collective mental health isn't exactly stellar right now: After the pandemic, so many people are dealing with mental health issues that anxiety screenings are now recommended for all adults and kids ages eight an up.
If you're struggling with depression, it's important to seek the help of a mental health expert. Therapists and psychiatrists are trained to help people living with depression, so that should always be the first place you turn.
That being said, your therapist will likely recommend journaling as a practice to help you cope, since journaling has tremendous mental health benefits—it helps us move through depression and get a clearer sense of ourselves and our situation. Journaling can also help you heal and is proven to boost feelings of wellbeing.
Get started with these 50 prompts.
Journal Prompts for Depression
1. List 10 things you're thankful for.
2. When you feel depressed, how do you typically respond?
3. When was the last time you felt really sad? What did you feel sad about?
4. When you're down, what typically makes you feel better?
5. Does feeling stressed tend to make you feel depressed, too?
6. What situations make you feel good?
7. Think about the last time you got really, really down. How long did it take to start feeling better?
8. Describe your perfect day.
9. What does your current morning routine look like? Are you happy with it, or do you think it could use a change or upgrade?
10. What's one thing you can do to feel happy today?
11. What stress management tool do you have that actually works? How often do you use it?
12. What advice do you wish you could give to your younger self?
13. What does self-care mean to you?
14. When was the last time someone did something nice for you? What was it, and how did it make you feel?
15. What do you wish others knew about you?
16. Describe a very difficult time in your life. How did you get through it?
17. How would you describe your current emotional state?
18. What's one thing you're looking forward to?
19. What's one thing you can let go of?
20. Think about an embarrassing moment that felt like the end of the world at the time. Does it still feel like that to you? If not, think about how you can apply that sentiment to something else in your life.
21. What's the best compliment you've ever received?
22. Write about a happy memory from you childhood, describing it in as much detail as possible.
23. Write a love letter to yourself.
24. When do you feel like the best version of yourself?
25. Write about whatever you want. Nothing is off limits.
26. In your mind, what does the "perfect relationship" look like?
27. What's something you can do that will have a positive impact on others?
28. What is your inner critic telling you right now, and do you think anything they're saying is actually helpful?
29. What do you consider to be your biggest failure?
30. What do you consider to be your biggest accomplishment?
31. What does having a positive mindset mean to you?
32. What's one thing you've always wanted to try, but haven't gotten around to?
33. What do you believe your purpose in the world is?
34. What do you consider to be healthy approaches to depression?
35. What would you do if you had more energy?
36. What would you do if you knew you could not fail?
37. What times of year do you tend to feel your best and worst?
38. Do you consider yourself to be a resilient person?
39. Do you remember experiencing feelings of depression as a kid? If so, write about how that manifested for you.
40. What do you think your life would be like without depression symptoms?
41. Talk about a person you aspire to be like, and why.
42. If you knew you could not fail, what would you do with your life?
43. How would you describe yourself to a stranger?
44. Talk about the most meaningful friendship in your life.
45. What trait do you admire in others?
46. If your best friend came to you for advice about depression, what would you say?
47. What are three things that scare you, and why?
48. When you exercise, do you find that it helps with your depression symptoms?
49. What is your most commonly felt negative emotion?
50. Write out five things you did well this week.
51. If depression is a messenger, what is it trying to tell me at this moment?
52. What are some positive things going on in your life at the moment?
53. How can you better incorporate self-care into your morning routine?
54. What times of day do you typically feel your best and worst?
55. Do certain foods tend to make you feel more depressed than others?
56. Write about a happy moment you had recently.
57. Do you feel you're getting enough sleep? If not, what's stopping you?
58. What made you upset today?
59. Think about the last time you went through a period of depression. What helped you get out of it?
60. Can you identify certain things that trigger your depression?
Want more great journaling prompts? Give these ones a read: