Morning journal prompts are a really effective way to get your started on a positive, intentional note.
If you struggle with feeling anything remotely close to ‘positive’ in the mornings, don’t worry. I’m right there with you.
For years, I dreaded the morning.
In fact, my morning anxiety used to be so bad that it polluted the evening before, giving me evening anxiety as well!
Incorporating journaling into a solid, positive morning routine has been nothing short of transformative for my mindset.
What are the benefits of journaling in the morning?
Journaling in general has plenty of benefits. It helps:
- Improve self-awareness
- Boost our mood
- Promote self-expression
- Vent our emotions in a healthy way
It basically improves our mindset overall.
But what’s so good about journaling in the morning specifically?
Most of us are no stranger to morning anxiety and depression. In fact, it’s really common.
We wake up with a pit in our stomach, dread in our heart, and a general feeling of fogginess.
Sometimes, it’s so bad that we even start dreading the morning, the night before. We find it hard to sleep because we know that means waking up and having to face another day.
Having a positive morning routine in place has been life-changing for my mindset and the way I approach mornings. Now – no joke – my mornings are one of the favourite parts of the day and they’re almost sacred to me.
Journaling is a huge part of that morning routine.
The benefits of morning journaling include:
- Relieves anxiety
- Motivates me to face the day
- Encourages me to set aside just five minutes to myself as soon as I get up
- Improves self-awareness and mindfulness
- Helps me focus on the positives, rather than on what I’m dreading
- Improves my mindset and mental health
- Gives my morning clear structure
- Gives me a small goal that I can achieve within minutes of waking up
- Helps me deal with stress in a healthy way
- Prevents me from bottling up emotion
- Improves confidence and self-esteem
Ultimately, morning journaling helps give my morning a bit of structure and intention, as well as start my day on a positive, motivating note.
If you’re anything like me, you’ll find that if you start your day in a bad mood, it tends to continue unless you can really change things around.
On the other hand, if you start your day in a positive way, this is likely to spread into the rest of your day too.
You step out of your house and the world seems to shine a little brighter, you smile at people (who often smile back), feel more inclined to be proactive, and put a positive spin on situations that might cause you to fall into a negative spiral on your worse days.
Morning journal prompts to get your day off to the best start
Morning journal prompts are a great tool to use whether you’re new to journaling or a seasoned veteran like me.
If you struggle with knowing what to journal about in the morning, prompts fill in the gaps and encourage you in the right direction.
They put intention behind your journal practise and save you time because all you have to do is pick one and write, rather than just staring at the wall for 20 minutes.
Here are some great prompts to write about about when you wake up in the morning.
- How are you feeling this morning? How would you describe your mood in a word? How are you feeling on a scale from one-to-10?
- How different do you feel compared to yesterday, if at all?
- How do you generally feel about mornings?
- What are five things you’re grateful for this morning?
- What are you looking forward to today?
- What are two self-care activities you can carry out today?
- What’s your main goal for today?
- What’s your intention for today?
- What’s one way you can move your body today that will make you feel good?
- How do you plan to experience nature today?
- What are three things you can do this morning to ensure you have a good day?
- What are two things that bring you comfort?
- What are five things that make you smile?
- What does your current morning routine look like? How do you want to change it, if at all?
- What does your dream morning look like?
- What’s one thing you love about the morning?
- Write about one of the best mornings of your life.
- How does journaling in the morning make you feel?
- What’s something that’s causing you stress this morning? How do you plan to tackle it? Write a plan of action.
- How are you feeling about the day ahead?
- What’s your favourite song to listen to in the morning? Why not put it on now?
- What’s one way you can show yourself compassion and kindness today?
- How does practising gratitude make you feel?
- What affirmation do you plan to focus on today?
- How does the weather look outside today? What’s your favourite thing about this type of weather?
- Write about a time you overcame a problem or hurdle.
- Write about something positive that happened yesterday that you want to carry forward into today.
- What made you laugh yesterday?
- What’s one long-term goal that you’re working towards? How can you work towards it today?
- What’s one good habit that you want to incorporate into your day?
- What’s one bad habit that you want to try and break? How do you plan to work towards that today?
- Write about something that happened yesterday that you can’t stop thinking about. How do you plan to deal with this today?
- How do you plan to make time for yourself today?
- Write about a person in your life that makes you feel positive and inspired.
- How do you plan to “eat that frog” today?
- What’s your favourite breakfast?
- What are five things you like about yourself, right in this moment?
- What do you dislike about mornings? How can you minimise this?
- What were mornings like for you growing up? Do you think this had an impact on how you feel about mornings now? If so, how?
- What are three words to describe the type of mornings you want to have? For example, calm, chilled, and peaceful. How do you plan to make your mornings?
(Check out my Journal Prompt Library for 750+ journal prompts to help you transform your mindset all in one place.)
What else should I write in my morning journal?
While prompts are useful for your journal practise, there are a couple of other techniques you can incorporate into your morning routine.
These are the journaling techniques I’ve personally used and continue to use when I’m journaling in the morning.
(They’re also the techniques I teach in my Master Your Mindset with Journaling course.)
Practising gratitude means focusing on what you’re feeling grateful for in your life, rather than on what you’re unhappy about.
It’s about focusing on what you do have, rather than on what you don’t.
Simply writing a gratitude list three times a week has been proven to help improve your outlook on life, boost happiness, and relieve stress.
Practising gratitude in your morning journal is the perfect way to get your day off to a positive start, as it encourages your mind to focus on positive things as soon as it’s had a chance to even think.
This sends a ripple affect through your day.
I still write a gratitude list every single morning and recommend it to anyone who’s just getting into the habit of journaling.
Repeating positive affirmations either out loud or in your journal each morning is an effective way to boost your confidence (and manifest your desires, if that’s your thing).
How do affirmations work?
Well, by repeating something – in this case, a positive self-affirming statement – we ‘trick’ our brains into believing what we’re saying to be true.
In many cases, we already possess these qualities we’re affirming, we just don’t believe them to be true yet, and repeating affirmations helps with this as well.
Repeating affirmations in the morning helps give you a boost of confidence going into your day and, again, sets you off on the right foot.
Some positive morning affirmations that you might want to write out during your morning journaling practise are:
- I’m having a great day
- I’m feeling happy and positive
- I’m going to smash my goals today
- I’m so grateful I get to experience life
- I’m excited to see what today brings
An affirmation I often find myself writing in my journal and repeating in my head when I wake up in the morning and feel particularly anxious is: “I’ve got this.”
Short and simple, but fills me with motivation and confidence.
It does the job.
Setting small goals each morning is an amazing habit to get incorporate into your routine.
Goal-setting first thing, and setting intentions for how you plan to go about your day, doesn’t just boost motivation in the moment, it also gives you a feeling of satisfaction and pride when you achieve one of them.
While long-term goal-setting is also good for this, when you’re morning journaling, setting smaller, manageable goals is easier and often more effective in the moment.
If your mental health isn’t in a good place, your goals can be as simple as brushing your teeth, making your bed, and going for a walk.
If you’re already feeling motivated and ready to kick the day in the behind, setting slightly more ambitious goals – such as writing an entire essay, cleaning your entire bedroom, or doing your grocery shopping – is great for productivity.
Three examples of small goals I set on a bad mental health day are:
- Put on clean clothes
- Make my bed
- Eat a warm meal
Whereas some examples of small goals that I might set on a ‘normal’ day include:
- Finally make that dentist appointment I’ve been putting off
- Zero out my email inbox
- Write a blog post (like this one)
What goals are important to you depends on your priorities and what you’re feeling capable of dealing with on any given day. However, goal-setting in the morning is definitely something that can benefit most people.
If you’re anything like me, you probably love the idea of practising regular self-care and understand the benefits that come with it. However, finding the time or even just remembering to take care of yourself can be difficult, especially if your mental health is in a bad place.
The ironic thing is that practising daily self-care can help prevent poor mental health and, when you do have a bad mental health day, make it easier to deal with.
This is why I’ve made it a habit to schedule in self-care when I’m struggling to keep it at the forefront of my mind.
I’ll do this in my journal in the morning, which encourages me to not only remember it because I’ve written it down, but to actually follow through with it.
Writing it down also means you can look forward to it.
I invite you to write down one self-care goal during your morning journaling session and commit to making time to actually carry it out.
Self-care can be as basic as making sure you’re drinking water throughout the day.
Some of my favourite self-care activities include:
- Taking a walk in nature
- Making a fancy coffee
- Taking time out of the day to just exist in peace
- Watching one of my comfort movies or TV shows
- Lighting a scented candle
- Taking a nap
- Listening to music
I try to make sure I pick at least one self-care activity each day to practise alongside my basic self-care, like taking a shower and eating.
It really makes a difference to your mindset and mental health.
Scheduling your self-care first thing in the morning also means that one of the first things you’ve done that day is put yourself first and prioritise your own well-being, which is one of the most productive uses of our time.
Tips for morning journaling
While some people do prefer to journal in the evening so that they can reflect on their day, I’ve always preferred morning journaling. It feels like it gives me a positive, productive start to the day.
Plus, journaling as soon as I get up makes me less likely to forget to do it later on.
As someone who has journaled in the mornings for years, here are my biggest tips:
- Just start: It might sound simple to some, but one of the biggest hurdles people seem to have with starting a journal is just putting pen to paper. One of my best pieces of advice would ne to not overthink it and just write. You don’t even have to have a goal or any idea what you want to write, just get into the habit of writing in the morning. I have a whole blog post on how to start a journal, if you want a little extra guidance.
- Set a reminder on your alarm: If you have a hard time remember to journal, most smart phones allow you to add a label to your alarm in the morning as a reminder. You can also set reminders on your phone or even keep physical reminders, like sticky notes, around your home.
- Write in your journal first thing: I write in my journal as soon as I’ve made my morning cup of tea. However, if you’re just starting, you might want to write in your journal literally as soon as you wake up. This means you’re less likely to forget to do it later and means your first cohesive thoughts of the day are positive, productive ones. It’s also particularly helpful if you’re keeping a dream journal, as your dreams will be fresher in your mind.
- Set a timer: If you’re strapped for time or worried about getting lost in your journal practise, simply set a timer for five-to-10 minutes to keep you on track.
- Keep your journal next to your bed: Keeping your journal somewhere you’ll see it in the morning – like your nightstand – makes you more likely to remember to journal.
- Don’t worry: Journaling should be a positive experience that makes your mornings feel lighter, not one that brings you stress or dread. Write what feels natural and don’t worry about forcing yourself to practise techniques that don’t feel right for you. For example, if you don’t like writing your affirmations, you don’t have to. Over time, you’ll learn what works for you and what doesn’t. Don’t sweat it.
- Buy a journal you want to pick up: Buying a cute journal that you feel called to pick up makes a huge difference. If you love the look and feel of your journal, you’re more likely to want to write in it. The same goes for journaling stationary. I have a whole journaling gift guide, if you want to take a look at the multitude of journals available.
- Meditate: Meditating before or after journaling helps clear your mind and improve mindfulness.
- Practise self-care: Making sure you practise self-care before, during, and after journaling is important for maintaining good mental health.
Journaling is what you make of it.
It’s not a test or something you can do wrong.
Don’t beat yourself up for missing a day, or put pressure on yourself to be “perfect” – there’s no such thing.
Simply pick up your journal and write something – anything.
How long should I journal for?
There is no ideal amount of time to journal for.
Ultimately, it comes down to how much time you have available in the mornings and what you want to achieve.
If you’re doing deep, soul-searching shadow work, you might want to take a little longer with your practise. This may take you between 10 – 20 minutes.
However, if you’re simply writing a gratitude list, this could only take five minutes or less.
The best amount of time you should journal for comes entirely down to how much time you can fit into your morning routine and stick to consistently in order to get the most out of morning journaling.
There’s no need to burn yourself by journaling for an hour every morning. This can be emotionally draining, off-putting, and difficult to keep up with.
It’s also entirely unnecessary.
Just five-to-10 minutes is plenty of time to fit journaling into your morning.
I have a whole post on my five-minute journaling routine, if this sounds like something that would be helpful to you.
What does a positive morning routine look like?
While using morning journal prompts is great for a lot of people, in general, a positive morning routine looks different for everyone.
I invite you to think about what makes you feel happy, productive, and positive and incorporate those things into your routine.
What makes you dread mornings that bit less?
What makes you feel energised?
What helps you feel motivated to face the day?
My personal morning routine, which I’ve kept consistent for a long time now, and I find prevents me from wanting to just lay in bed all day is as follows:
- Set an alarm for 6:30am (I set it with a twinkly, chill alarm tone so that I don’t want to launch my phone across the room)
- Make my bed
- Light a scented candle
- Get dressed into something clean and comfy
- Make a cup of tea
- Write in my journal, often using morning journal prompts
- Brush my teeth and do my morning skincare routine
- Sit at my desk and get to work
I deliberately start my mornings in a calm, gentle way with candles, fluffy socks and hoodies. It makes the time of day that I used to hate most much more bearable, which I never thought was possible.
Now my quiet, chilled mornings are sacred to me and are a key part of my self-care routine.
We’re all different though. Perhaps you prefer to get up, drink a large glass of cold water and head straight out for a run.
Perhaps you find doing yoga first thing in the morning helps you destress.
Perhaps you like to get outside in nature and feel your bare feet on the ground as soon as you’ve rolled out of bed.
Why not make a list of things you can do to make yourself feel good in the mornings? Then, try to incorporate some, if not all, of these things into your morning routine.
Whatever you need to do to make dreading mornings a thing of the past.
My Master Your Mindset with Journaling course is currently open for enrolment and comes with a complementary workbook, as well as other bonuses and goodies.
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.