Daily journal questions

Daily Journaling: Prompts, Ideas, Questions, and Topics

Daily Journaling: Prompts, Ideas, Questions, and Topics

By Tchiki Davis, MA, PhD

What is journaling and how do you start a daily journaling practice? Learn here about the science of journaling, and get prompts, ideas, questions, and topics to write about.

*This page may include affiliate links; that means I earn from qualifying purchases of products.

What Is Journaling? (A Definition)

Journaling refers to writing down your thoughts or observations in a journal or notebook. It could focus on positive or negative thoughts. It could be about the past, present, or future. It can really be anything, as long as you're getting the thoughts from your mind onto the page.

Daily journaling techniques
One of the most common journaling techniques is freewriting (or free-flow writing). Freewriting involves writing whatever comes to our mind by just letting the thoughts come and putting them onto the page without any filters or concern about grammar, spelling, or storyline.  This may include both conscious thoughts and thoughts that bubble up from the unconscious.

Another journaling technique is called bullet journaling. This is more about making lists and organizing information in creative and helpful ways.

Still other journaling techniques can be more visual and may involve collage, drawings, or other creative additions. When it comes to journaling, the definition, design, and technique can really be up to you.

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What Are the Benefits of Daily Journaling?

We may have the assumption that all journaling is good for us, but the last few decades of research has shown us that the extent to which journaling—or expressive writing—is good for us depends a lot on what, exactly, we write about.

One leader in this research field has been James Pennebaker. His primary findings are that writing about emotional experiences tends to result in improvements in mental and physical health. More specifically, these benefits can come from 15-30 minutes of daily journaling for 3-5 days (Pennebaker, 1997). That's it. That means that daily journaling for just one week can result in benefits.

The reason why expressive writing works is thought to be because inhibiting our thoughts and emotions is bad for our health. By self-disclosing the things we haven't told anyone, we help release that burden of keeping it all inside ourselves (Pennebaker, 1997). And because a journal is private, we can freely and comfortably share thoughts and feelings that we might not feel comfortable sharing with others, maybe not even a therapist.

Does daily journaling always have benefits?
Before we get too carried away, more recent research has pointed to some important caveats. First, strong evidence suggests that the benefits of short-term daily journalling may be small (Travagin, Margola, & Revenson, 2015). And another study suggests the benefits may be greater for physical health than mental health (Frisina, Borod, & Lepore, 2004).

Most importantly, those with the most severe emotional challenges may benefit the least from journaling. In fact, those with the most severe distress may do harm to themselves by journaling about emotional events because they may not have the social or emotional resources to process these events and emotions. So, daily journaling may be the most effective and appropriate for those who have mild to moderate levels of distress (Manier & Olivares, 2005).

Daily Journaling Instructions

To try a science-based approach to daily journaling, use these instructions:

Write about your very deepest thoughts and feelings about an important issue that has affected your life. You might tie your experience to your relationships, past experiences, or anything else that seems relevant. 

Try to write daily for 5 days in a row or weekly for 1 month—both approaches appear to be effective (Pennebaker, 1997).

Daily Journaling Ideas

In addition to Pennebaker's research on expressive writing, a variety of other journalling approaches have been studied. These other journaling approaches may be a bit easier and more approachable for most of us. Let's talk about some of them now.

Gratitude journaling
In a gratitude journal, we aim to cultivate appreciative feelings (Kaczmarek et al., 2015). So we might write about experiences we're grateful for, create gratitude lists, or even paste in pictures of things to create a sort of gratitude collage.

Reflective journaling
Reflective journaling is thought to aid experiential learning—or learning from our real-life experiences. You might start by first reflecting on the details of an experience. Then, aim to interpret the event to try to understand what happened and find meaning or value in it (Hubbs & Brand, 2005). 

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) journaling
In CBT journaling, you learn about different CBT skills and write about times when you've used them in your real life. You may also want to think about how to apply the strategy to your current life situation (Fritson, 2008). This type of journaling may help you learn CBT, which is widely thought to be the gold standard of mental health treatments.

Health journaling
Some studies have looked at the impact of journaling on current health issues like cancer. Like other forms of expressive writing about emotional experiences, this type of journaling appears to result in reductions in mental health issues like depression and anxiety for those with health issues. Specifically, it appears that writing about negative emotions is largely responsible for these positive impacts (Smith, Anderson‐Hanley, Langrock, & Compas, 2005).

Goal journaling
Another popular form of journaling is goal journaling. This may involve less freewriting and may be more structured to help you set goals, plan, and track activities. Given goal-setting research supports all of these types of goal reflections, this type of journaling can indeed be beneficial and help you reach your goals.

Daily Journaling Questions

To start your daily journaling practice, it can be helpful to have some questions to think about. You might want to focus on one or two per day. That way, you'll be able to explore the concept deeply and hopefully uncover new insights that you were previously unaware of. Here are some daily journaling questions to ponder while exploring different types of journaling.

Expressive and emotional journaling questions

  • Is there someone that you have not fully forgiven? How might you fully forgive them?
  • What was the hardest thing you've gone through in your life and how did you get through it?
  • What experience made you feel sad in the past? What meaning can you make from this experience?
  • What makes you feel angry? How can you use this anger to make a positive impact in your life or the world?
  • What makes you feel anxious? How might you talk back to these anxious thoughts in ways that help you feel calmer?

Gratitude and positive journaling questions

  • Is there someone you never properly thanked? How might you express your gratitude?
  • What are all the things you're grateful for today?
  • What was something positive you experienced recently? Elaborate.
  • What is your favorite activity? Elaborate.
  • What are some things that give your life meaning?
  • What are three good things about today?
  • What are your positive personality traits?
  • Who would you like to have a stronger relationship with and what might you do to grow that relationship?
  • What are some random acts of kindness that you could do in the next year?
  • How do you manage your emotions, and how might you manage them more effectively?

Reflective journaling questions

  • What are the beliefs or principles that you live your life by?
  • What are your values and why are they important to you?
  • What are your strengths and weaknesses?
  • Who are you at the core?
  • How do you relate to others? How might you relate to others in ways that better serve you and them?

Health journaling questions

  • How healthy are you and how could you be healthier?
  • If you have an illness, how do you feel about that illness? 
  • In what ways does your health impact your life?
  • How can your health issues teach you something new or build character?

Goal journaling questions

  • What are your short-term and long-term goals?
  • What would you like to have accomplished by the end of your life?
  • What are the things you could do today to start moving towards your goals?
  • What big dreams do you want to manifest?

​Daily Journaling Prompts

In addition to daily journaling questions, you might find it easier to start writing with some prompts—or jumping-off points to get your writing going. Here are some daily journaling prompts to help get your mind churning.

Daily journaling prompts for mental health

  • I am an awesome person because...
  • When I feel angry, I tend to...
  • When I feel sad, I tend to...
  • I would describe my relationships with other people as being...
  • A recent challenge I had was...
  • When I am struggling, I tend to work through the difficulty by...
  • My favorite things to do to calm myself are...
  • If I'm having a rough day, some healthy things I can do to feel better are...
  • I want to forgive...
  • I feel ashamed when...

Daily journaling prompts for physical health

  • I tend to eat more junk food when I'm feeling...
  • The foods that make me feel the most energized and happy are...
  • After exercising I feel...
  • When I get a good night's sleep I feel...
  • I feel most physically healthy when I. ..

Video: Journal prompts for anxiety and depression

​Daily Journaling Topics

Have you already done a lot of self-reflection and inner exploration? Then you might be in need of some additional topics to dive deeper. These can help you fill in gaps when you feel like you've already processed that big stuff. So what other topics might you want to write about in your daily journal? Here are some more ideas:

Journaling topics to explore emotions

  • List all the emotions you've felt in your life.
  • List all the things you can do to improve your emotions.
  • Explain how your emotions change over time.
  • Define emotional support.
  • Describe what it feels like to be overwhelmed.
  • Describe how it feels to be rejected.
  • Explain the difference between feeling calm and feeling anxious.

Journaling topics to explore your true self

  • Do you ever deceive yourself?
  • Are you a reliable person? Why and why not? (Explore both sides)
  • What do you love and hate about yourself? Why?
  • What makes you you?
  • What do you want in life?

Journaling topics to explore your well-being

  • What does it mean to you to have well-being?
  • List some examples of when you have been vulnerable in the past. When are some times you could be more vulnerable in the future?
  • What are the good habits you would like to build in the next 5 years?
  • How do you build rapport with another person?

Video: What can be learned from daily journaling

Daily Journaling Tips

Hopefully, you now have a better idea of what to write about in your journal. So how do you stick to journaling every day (or every week if that's a better fit for you)? Here are some tips that might help.

1. First, get a journal and a pen that you like.
If you have a journal with pages that are the right size, with lines spaced how you like them, and with a cover that is appealing, you're more likely to pick it up and use it. If you want to use a regular spiral-bound notebook, that's fine. But getting a nice journal can help you feel like writing is a treat, which can help you do it more often.

Here are some of the best journals for daily journaling:

  • Lined Journal Notebook
  • Leather Journal with Refillable Lined Paper
  • Dotted Hardcover Notebook
  • Bullet Dotted Journal Kit with Colored Pens, Stencils, & Stickers
  • Fabric Notebook Cover (I use one like this)

2. Keep your journal somewhere where you'll see it.
One of the tried and true strategies for building a new habit is to make that habit super easy to do and use cues in your environment to remind you. So keeping your journal somewhere accessible is key. You could keep it on your nightstand, desk, kitchen table, or somewhere else where you'll remember to write in it.

3. Attach your daily journaling habit to another habit.
If you want to make sure you do your journaling every day, try attaching journaling to an existing habit—something like brushing your teeth, eating dinner, showering, waking up, or ending your workday. All you do is plan to journal right after the other habit. That way you'll always know when to do it and be reminded by your other habit.

Daily Journaling Templates

Sometimes it's helpful to just have a template to help you write a bit each day. Here are a couple of daily journaling templates to give you ideas.

More Daily Journaling Practices

If you want more ideas for other science-based writing practices to do in your journal, check out some of our activities. You can write your responses to the prompts in these activities in your journal to gain deeper insight into them.  

  • Reappraisal exercise. Practice reappraising by using this exercise and examples.
  • Self-compassion letter. Write a letter to yourself that shows self-kindness.
  • Values exercise. Explore your values to how to live a value-driven life.
  • Prioritizing positivity. Create a long list of all the things you enjoy doing.

    How to Start Daily Journaling

    The best way to develop a new habit is to 1.) set a small, achievable goal, 2.) commit to your goal in writing, and 3.) create implementation intentions, or a "plan B", to stay on track with your goals. The tool below will aid you with this process while simultaneously helping us learn more about journaling.

    Which type of journaling do you plan to do? *

    Do you commit to doing this daily? *

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    How will you get back on track if you struggle to make this a habit? *

    How helpful was this article? *

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    Note.  Submitting your responses enables us to better understand how people use journaling. If you want to keep your responses, you'll have to save to PDF or print this page. Thanks!


Articles Related to Daily Journaling

  • Gratitude Journal: Examples, Ideas, and Strategies
  • Manifestation Journaling: A Complete Guide (+ Prompts)
  • Journaling Ideas: Topics, Tips, and Ideas
  • Vision Boarding: Ideas, Examples, Supplies, and More
  • ​Journal Prompts: For Mental Health, Gratitude, Anxiety, & More

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  • ​​​​Frisina, P. G., Borod, J. C., & Lepore, S. J. (2004). A meta-analysis of the effects of written emotional disclosure on the health outcomes of clinical populations. The Journal of nervous and mental disease192(9), 629-634.
  • ​Fritson, K. K. (2008). Impact of Journaling on Students' Self-Efficacy and Locus of Control. Insight: A journal of scholarly teaching3, 75-83.
  • ​Hubbs, D. L., & Brand, C. F. (2005). The paper mirror: Understanding reflective journaling. Journal of Experiential Education28(1), 60-71.
  • ​Kaczmarek, L. D., Kashdan, T. B., Drążkowski, D., Enko, J., Kosakowski, M., Szäefer, A., & Bujacz, A. (2015). Why do people prefer gratitude journaling over gratitude letters? The influence of individual differences in motivation and personality on web-based interventions. Personality and Individual Differences75, 1-6.
  • ​Manier, D., & Olivares, A. (2005). Who Benefits from Expressive Writing? Moderator Variables Affecting Outcomes of Emotional Disclosure Interventions. Counseling & Clinical Psychology Journal2(1).
  • Pennebaker, J. W. (1997). Writing about emotional experiences as a therapeutic process.  Psychological science8(3), 162-166.​
  • ​Smith, S., Anderson‐Hanley, C., Langrock, A., & Compas, B. (2005). The effects of journaling for women with newly diagnosed breast cancer. Psycho‐Oncology: Journal of the Psychological, Social and Behavioral Dimensions of Cancer14(12), 1075-1082.
  • ​Travagin, G., Margola, D., & Revenson, T. A. (2015). How effective are expressive writing interventions for adolescents? A meta-analytic review. Clinical psychology review36, 42-55.​

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52 Simple Daily Journal Prompts


    Boy writing journal using prompt


    South_agency / iStock / Getty Images Plus

Journaling is a wonderfully meditative practice. It helps you reflect on your day, plan for the future, and get creative juices flowing for more directed writing. If you need specific topics to inspire you, keep reading for a collection of daily journal prompts.

Reflective Journal Prompts

Sometimes it feels like we had a bad day, but we can’t figure out why. Reflective journaling at the end of the day can help you make sense of what went wrong – and what went right! Try out these prompts to finish your day reflectively.

  • What was the most peaceful moment during the day?
  • Describe something you learned today that you didn’t know before.
  • Would you change any of the decisions you made today?
  • How were your meals today? Do you feel nourished?
  • What frightened you today?
  • Who do you wish you had talked to today? How do they improve your life?
  • Describe the moments of frustration you felt today. How would your day have changed if those moments were different?
  • If you’d had another hour during the day, how would you have spent it?
  • Did something (or someone) empower you today?
  • Did you stop yourself from doing something you enjoy today? Why or why not?
  • Reflect on how your body feels. Where are you storing your stress? What put it there?
  • Who helped you the most today? Who did you help the most?
  • Describe your day from another person’s perspective. Is it different from yours?


Aspirational Journal Prompts

Putting your dreams and wishes on paper probably won’t make them real. But using them as journal prompts can help you learn more about yourself, and help get your pencil moving. Check out these ideas for aspirational journal prompts:

  • If you were in charge, what would you forbid immediately?
  • What needs to change in your job for you to feel fulfilled?
  • Write about a hobby that you’d like to pick up.
  • If you could relive any day of your life and change nothing, what day would you choose?
  • How would you like your life to be different in a year? How would you like it to be the same?
  • If you had to live in another country, where would you live?
  • How could you change your life to become a hero to someone else?
  • What was something you desperately wanted as a child? What do you desperately want now?
  • If you could take any college course you wanted, what would you take?
  • Describe your ideal weekend. What would it include? What wouldn’t it include?
  • Rewrite a conversation you’ve had in the way you wish it had gone.


What Would You Do? Journal Prompts

It may seem like you can respond to these questions in one sentence. But if you really think about each answer, and what happens next, you’ll find that the answers aren’t quite so simple. Put some hypotheticals into your writing with these prompts that ask you “What would you do?”

  • What would you do if you found a puppy in the street?
  • What would you do with a million dollars if you had to spend it in one hour?
  • What would you do if you needed to change your career or major?
  • What would you do if you could suddenly read minds?
  • What would you do if you were locked out of your house?
  • What would you do if your loved one were accused of a crime?
  • What would you do if you were stranded on a desert island with someone you dislike?
  • What would do if you lost all your possessions? What would you replace? What wouldn’t you replace?
  • What would you do if you lost one of your senses? Which would be the most difficult one to lose?


Letter Journal Prompts

Have you ever wanted to tell someone what you really thought? Use these journaling prompts to write letters to people who know, people you’ve never met – and even yourself. When you’re done, you can keep them safe in your journal, or send them to their intended recipients.

  • Write a note to a teacher who inspired you. How have you used their lessons in your current life?
  • What would you say to a childhood bully if you could?
  • Write a letter to your teenage self.
  • Put yourself 20 years in the future. Write a letter to your future self with questions and predictions.
  • Write a thank you letter to someone after they gave you a terrible gift.
  • Craft a breakup letter to a bad habit.
  • Think about your first crush or love. Write them the letter you wish you’d sent.
  • Write a letter from someone else to you. What do you need to hear from them?
  • Look at your last few text messages. Rewrite one of them into a longer letter as if you were in the eighteenth century.
  • Write a letter to someone you’ve lost.


Memory Journal Prompts

Memories can be fun to write about. Other memories can be more painful. But when we write about our memories, we can process moments in a very concrete way. Try out these prompts to write about your warm, exciting, or difficult memories.

  • What was your best age so far?
  • Do you have a memory that should be happy, but instead makes you sad? What about the other way around?
  • When is a time in your life that you felt successful?
  • Think about your best friend in childhood. What did you like to do together?
  • Write about a trip you took where something (or everything!) didn’t go according to plan.
  • Think about a lesson your parents taught you either by doing something well or not doing it well.
  • When in your life have you felt brave?
  • What book made you fall in love with reading?
  • How old were you when you first felt like an adult?


The Power of Journaling

These 52 prompts are a great place to start if you’re in the mood to write. You can adapt any of them into personal essays, or keep them as a type of literary time capsule. To bring journaling into the classroom, check out an article with tips for teaching students how to journal.

Rules for the daily morning admission of children to the kindergarten group

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Rules for the daily morning admission of children to the kindergarten group

Kindergarten is open from 7.00 to 19.00

Reception of children is carried out from 7.15 to 8.00

Children go home in period from 17.00 to 18.45.

In the morning, the parent comes to the group with the child and hands the child over to the caregiver or person replacing him personally.

In accordance with SanPiN "Sanitary and epidemiological requirements for the arrangement, maintenance and organization of the working hours of preschool educational organizations" dated May 15, 2013, clause 11. 2. daily morning reception of children by educators who interview parents about the state of health, according to indications conduct thermometry (temperature measurement) in the presence of parents .

Data on the child's condition are recorded in a special journal, in which parents put their signature if they agree with the results of a visual examination of their children.

Identified sick children or children with suspected illness in preschool education organization are not accepted .

During the day, sick children are isolated from healthy children (temporarily placed in the premises of the medical unit) until the arrival of parents (within one hour) or their hospitalization in a medical organization with informing parents. nine0003

Sending a child to a kindergarten alone, leaving a child in a locker room without adult supervision or with unauthorized persons is prohibited.

Bringing a child to kindergarten late disrupts the group's work schedule and makes the educational process difficult. In exceptional cases, parents must inform the teacher about being late before 08.30.

Admission of children after an absence of more than 5 days.

After a disease, as well as an absence of more than 5 days (excluding weekends and holidays), children are admitted to preschool educational organizations only if they have a certificate indicating the diagnosis, duration of the disease, information about the absence of contact with infectious patients. nine0003

These rules are drawn up in accordance with SanPiN "Sanitary and epidemiological requirements for the device, content and organization of the working hours of preschool educational organizations."

In connection with the change in the work schedules of staff during the summer period, it is allowed to unite groups of adjacent age groups. At the same time, the mode and work plan is observed.
Parents need to personally get acquainted with new caregivers, introduce all trusted persons who will bring and pick up the child. nine0003

It is forbidden to enter the territory of the kindergarten by car

These rules and regulations are aimed at protecting the health of children in the implementation of activities for their upbringing, education, development and rehabilitation in preschool organizations.


Reception of pupils

to group No. 1 "Fry"

and home care

nine0126 nine0128

No. p/n

F.I. baby






Reasons for leaving nursery early (time)






































Daily conversations with AI can help recognize early signs of Alzheimer's / Sudo Null IT News

Another IBM study provides empirical evidence for the effectiveness of automated patient assessment based on speech analysis using a tablet to detect mild cognitive impairment.

There is no cure for Alzheimer's disease. But the sooner it is diagnosed, the more likely it is to slow down the progression. nine0003

A team of researchers from IBM and the University of Tsukuba, Japan, has developed an AI model that helps detect the onset of mild cognitive impairment (MCD, the transition between natural aging and dementia) by asking elderly people everyday questions. An article published in the journal Frontiers in Digital Health provides the first empirical evidence for the effectiveness of automated patient assessment based on speech analysis using tablets. nine0003

Unlike previous studies, this AI-based model analyzes speech responses to everyday questions using an app on a smartphone or tablet. For example, patients may be asked questions about their mood, plans for the day, how they feel, or about their dinner yesterday. Earlier studies have mainly analyzed speech responses during cognitive tests. For example, patients were asked to count down from 925 in increments of three, or to describe the image shown to them in as much detail as possible. nine0003

The researchers found that the accuracy of identifying early signs of LCR in tests with answers to such simple questions was almost 90%. This is comparable to the results of more complex cognitive tests. Thus, for health monitoring, this AI algorithm can be integrated into smart speakers or home devices so that during their operation signs of LCR can be monitored.

The results of this study are promising because cognitive tests are challenging for patients. They are forced to follow complex instructions and are subjected to high mental stress. Therefore, such assessments are not carried out as often, which can interfere with the detection of early signs of Alzheimer's disease. Analysis of everyday speech data allows assessments to be carried out much more frequently, while requiring fewer resources. nine0003

For the purposes of the study, the speech responses of 76 elderly Japanese, including those with LCR, were collected. The scientists then analyzed the characteristics of their speech: voice pitch, frequency of pauses during conversation, etc.

The research team knew that it was not easy to detect subtle cognitive differences in everyday speech at a low level of cognitive load. Under such conditions, differences in the speech of healthy people and those with LCR are less noticeable than when conducting cognitive tests.

Researchers at IBM and Tsukuba University addressed this challenge by using a combination of multiple question responses to detect changes in the ability to remember information and perform goal-directed actions, as well as changes in speech function itself, indicative of LCR and dementia. For example, an AI application asks the question, “What did you have for dinner yesterday?” An older person with LCR will respond, “Japanese tempura noodles—a tempura made from shrimp, radishes, and mushrooms.” nine0003

At first glance, the answer is all right. But AI detects differences in voice pitch, pauses in speech, and other acoustic characteristics. The researchers found that, compared to cognitive tests, questions from everyday life helped to identify less obvious but statistically significant differences in speech patterns that indicate mild LCR.

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