Journal prompts can be a great tool to help improve your mindset and increase overall happiness.
Journaling in general has numerous benefits related to boosting your mood, including stress relief, improved mental health, and emotional intelligence.
Journaling prompts then help you further by encouraging you to be intentional with your practise.
They basically prompt and gently point you in the right direction with what to write, which can be especially helpful when you’re just starting out and not used to sharing your feelings on paper.
Journaling prompts for happiness help you vent, practise gratitude, and process emotions, which helps improve your mindset and mood overall.
What is true ‘happiness’?
While being ‘happy’ is subjective and different for everyone as everyone has different priorities and goals in life, a lot of people seem to find it difficult because they see it as a destination. A place they have to reach.
And when they get there, they’re convinced that everything will be rosy and nothing will ever go wrong.
The problem with this is, it’s not realistic, and this is why people can never reach true ‘happiness’ – it doesn’t exist. It’s not a place.
No matter how good your life is going, nothing is ever going to go 100% your way, 100% of the time. That’s just not how life works. Life is there to throw problems at us that we can overcome, learn, and grow from. This is how we become better people.
What’s more, if nothing bad ever happened, we wouldn’t have anything to measure positive feelings against. We need the rough so we can appreciate the smooth.
In my opinion, happiness is about making the most of your journey to where you want to be in life.
It’s about practising gratitude, embracing who you are at your core, cultivating positive relationships that help you grow, and hopefully ending up where you want to end up.
When we take the focus off happiness as an absolute state that we’re all desperately reaching for – and often harming our own mental health in the process because we’re sad we haven’t reached it yet – we begin to relax, feel content, and just enjoy the ride.
We acknowledge that life isn’t always sunshine and rainbows, and that bumps in the road don’t have to completely derail us. We can’t ignore them, but we can certainly move past them.
Therefore, happiness for me is being positive, content, and optimistic about the future, while making the most of the present, and learning from the past.
Journal prompts to increase happiness
Some journal prompts for happiness that I personally find useful are:
- What are five things you’re really grateful for this morning
- What’s one thing you can do today to make yourself feel content
- What are two self-care activities you can do today
- What are three mini-goals that you can smash today
- Write about something you’re excited about.
- Write about something great that’s happened to you recently.
- List 10 things you like about yourself.
- Write about someone in your life who you love.
- What are three songs that make you smile?
- What’s one movie or TV show that always makes you happy?
- What are 10 things that make you happy?
- How can you show yourself love today?
- What’s one positive affirmation you can focus on today?
- Write about one of the best days of your life so far.
- What does your dream life look like?
- What’s a goal that you’re really proud to have already achieved?
- What are three things you’re really good at?
- What are five things people like about you?
- What type of movement/exercise feels really good for your body?
- What’s your favourite food?
- What positive habit can you incorporate into your life this month?
- Where/what’s your happy place?
- Write about a time that you were really proud of yourself.
- What’s your favourite smell or scent?
- What’s your favourite season and why?
- Describe your perfect day.
- What does the word ‘happy’ mean to you?
- What’s your biggest long-term goal?
- What’s the kindest thing someone else has ever done for you?
- What act of kindness can you carry out today?
(Check out my Journal Prompt Library for 750+ journal prompts to help you transform your mindset all in one place.)
How to increase happiness with journaling
As well as using journal prompts for happiness, there are others ways to improve your mood with journaling.
These are the steps I personally used to improve my mindset through journaling and get to a positive place.
(This is why I teach them in my Master Your Mindset With Journaling workbook.)
Keep a gratitude journal
Studies show that practising gratitude just once a weeks improve happiness.
Being grateful means focusing on what you do have and keeping that at the forefront of your mind, instead of dwelling on what you don’t have.
This doesn’t mean to say you can’t have goals or wish for more, it just keeps your mind in a positive place while you’re on the journey.
You can practise gratitude in your journal by simply writing a gratitude list (a list of things you’re thankful for).
Writing your list in the morning helps get your day off to a positive start, although of course you can write it whenever works for you.
It doesn’t have to be long and the things you’re grateful for can be as major or minor as you like.
For example, smaller things you might be grateful might include:
- Your morning cup of coffee
- Petting your dog
- Scented candles
- Hearing the birds sing
(These are a few of my personal favourites.)
While bigger things you’re thankful for may be:
- Having a roof over your head
- Food in the cupboard
- A warm bed to sleep in
When you write your gratitude list, I invite you to really think about how these things make you feel and hold that in your heart as you write.
If you only have time to practise one journaling technique to improve happiness in the mornings, gratitude is the most important one, in my opinion.
Set daily goals and intentions
Goal-setting – even if they’re just small daily goals – has been shown to improve motivation, which helps boost happiness.
By giving yourself a goal for the day, you give yourself a purpose to get out of bed in the morning. When your mood is low, this can help give you the little boost you need.
What’s more, by completing these goals, you get a dopamine boost. Dopamine in the neurotransmitter responsible for learning and pleasure; it makes you feel content and rewarded.
Obviously, this has a huge affect on your happiness. A lack of dopamine is one of the reasons many people experience low mood and even depression.
By smashing your goals, you feel rewarded and as if you’ve achieved something with your day.
If you’re in a bad place mentally, these goals might be as small as brushing your teeth. It doesn’t matter. It’s still a valid goal and you should be proud of yourself for achieving it.
Other small goals for when you’re feeling down might include:
- Making your bed
- Getting dressed
- Drinking some water
- Eating a meal
You might also have bigger, long-term goals in mind, which motivate you to be productive and reach for your dreams. This gives you hope – another huge factor in our happiness. Mark Manson talks about this in his best-selling book, Everything is F***** (2019), which you can find on Amazon.
Standard small daily goals you might set could include:
- Zero-ing out your email inbox
- Tidying your home
- Getting a work task completed
- Calling your mum for a chat
I invite you to set a couple of goals each morning, no matter how big or small, and commit to achieving them that day.
Setting intentions is similar to goal-setting. However, intentions are directions for how you want to go about your day, rather than actual things you want to achieve.
For example, some daily intentions you might want to set for yourself could include:
- Be kind to yourself and others
- Practise self-love and self-care
- Be gentle with yourself
- Listen to your body and intuition
Schedule self-care in your journal or planner
Practising daily self-care is crucial for our mental, physical, and emotional well-being, as well as happiness.
It means looking after your needs as a human being.
However, so often, we find ourselves too busy to practise it, we push it aside, or we just plain forget to make the time.
This is why scheduling in a couple of self-care activities, along with using journal prompts for happiness, that you can commit to doing each day can really help improve our mood.
Write positive affirmations
Repeating positive affirmations is a great way to boost your confidence, which can help improve your outlook life in general, leading to a generally happier mood.
By repeating positive statements about ourselves and the world, we can convince ourselves that they’re true, and you’ll finally see that these affirmations were true all along, you just didn’t believe them yet.
By writing out your affirmations (as well as saying them out loud, if you feel comfortable), you can give yourself a boost of mental strength to go about your day.
Some positive affirmations that may help boost happiness include:
- I’m so grateful for what I have
- I can’t stop smiling
- I’ve got this – I can overcome anything
- I’m so happy I get to [insert task]
- I love my life
- I embrace the journey
This will help improve self-esteem, confidence, and your mindset in general.
Affirmations have been a huge part of transforming my mindset and discovering what real happiness feels like, which is why I go into it in my workbook: Master Your Mindset With Journaling.
A witchy ray of sunshine who loves to help others on their journal journey. I’ve been journaling since childhood and have since gone on to earn a degree in English and a diploma in Shadow Work. I love my plant babies, yoga, and anything spooky. Find out more on my about me page.