It would be pretty great to feel like you’re smooth sailing through life at all times, but that’s just not realistic for most people (though if you do, please teach us your ways). It’s entirely fine (normal, even!) to feel stuck sometimes—whether you’re stuck in your thoughts, your work situation, your relationships, where you live…you’re not alone in that. You’re (shocker!) human.
The next time you’re feeling particularly stuck on something in your life, give these journal prompts a shot. Journaling can help you get unstuck because it slows you down and helps you challenge those sticky thought spirals (“everyone hates me,” for example), says therapist Alo Johnston, LMFT. “Our brains move very quickly. They get really stuck in certain patterns,” he explains. It can be hard to see those patterns when you’re just going about your day, which is why making time to reflect (à la journaling) can be so helpful. Sometimes the simple act of slowing down and putting pen to paper can allow us to see solutions or strategies that we might have otherwise missed. The next time you’re feeling particularly stuck on something in your life, give these journal prompts a shot.
In general, letting things out of your brain feels nice when you’re overloaded, adds Johnston. And clearing your head may even help you find a way out of a seemingly hopelessness situation—especially if it feels like you’re just going in circles. Journaling specifically about this feeling of “stuckness” and reflecting on some bigger-picture goals can also give you the space and permission to safely dream and dig up emotions you may be low-key avoiding.
Ahead, check out some thought-starters that encourage you to get to the bottom of why you’re stuck, reassess your wants and needs, and unclutter your mind.
Try these journal prompts the next time you’re feeling stuck:
1. When you feel stuck, what does it feel like in your body? How does your body react?
2. What do you want your life to look like? How do you want to feel about your life? How does this compare with your life and how you feel about it right now?
3. Describe your dream job. Does it match what you’re doing right now? If not, how do you feel about that? What are some small, realistic steps you can take to get you closer to where you want to be?
4. If you could live anywhere in the world, where would that be? Could you realistically live there? If not, are you happy where you live now, or is there somewhere you can move that you think will make you happy? Or is there anything you can do to make where you live now better?
5. Take a second to reflect on your relationships with friends, family, romantic partners, etc. Do you feel happy and fulfilled by these bonds? Why or why not?
6. What are your hobbies? Do you feel like you need a few new ones or want to pick up old ones you haven’t done in a while?
7. List out a few goals that are important to you. Is there anything in the way of those goals right now? What would help you address some of those blockers?
8. Think about your perfect day. What would you do (or not do)? Who would you see (or not see)?
9. What’s been bothering you lately? What are some things within your control that might help the situation?
10. What’s been making you happy or calm lately? How can you bring more of that into your life?
11. How do you talk to yourself regularly? Are you kind? Are you always hyping yourself up? Are you mean to yourself? Write out what your inner dialogue has sounded like recently.
12. When do you feel most like yourself? Are you with certain people or doing certain things?
13. When was the last time you felt stuck (in your feelings, in your relationships, etc.)? Describe the situation and what other emotions might have surfaced. Did you do anything to feel better during that time?
14. What is one thing you can add to your daily routine that will make you feel good?
15. What is one thing you can take away from your daily routine that will remove some stress?
16. Write out a to-do list for the day (if you’re journaling in the morning or afternoon) or tomorrow (if you’re journaling at night). Then, cross out at least two things that can actually be pushed off to a later date.
17. Is there anything you currently need to let go of? What would letting go look like to you, and how would you achieve it?
18. When do you feel most free? What are you doing? Are you with certain people or at a specific place?
19. How do you really feel right now? Free write about every emotion you can think of. Be as open and honest with yourself as possible.
20. What are you most grateful for lately, and why?
21. How do you define success? Has that definition changed over the years? Are you happy with how you define it?
22. How often do you compare yourself and your life to other people? How does that make you feel?
23. If a stranger saw you on the street, what do you think they might assume about you? What might they think you were feeling? Does it match with what you’re actually feeling?
24. Describe the last time you were really proud of yourself. Can you find that sense of pride again? Are there other things you can do—or expectations you can shift around—to get that sense of pride?
25. When was the last time you created or built something? (It could be a drawing, a bookshelf, a feel-good playlist…anything that you’ve made.) Did you enjoy the process? If you’re in the mood to do more creating, write out five things you want to create/make/build in the near future.
Wondermind does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Any information published on this website or by this brand is not intended as a replacement for medical advice. Always consult a qualified health or mental health professional with any questions or concerns about your mental health.