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Self-Awareness | Journal Prompts To Help Improve Your Self-Awareness

[Disclaimer: The aim of this blog post is to tell my experience with honesty. Therefore, some content may trigger an adverse reaction. If this post is beginning to upset you, I advise that you please stop reading it immediately and talk to your support team. Content and Trigger Warning: Depression & Anxiety]


In my last post (which you'll find here) I mentioned that one way you can improve your self-awareness is to start journaling daily.


Personally, I love journaling and kept a diary through most of my teen years. I grew out of the habit of doing this though, and found that I bottled up a lot of my emotions as a result of no creative outlet. I have only started journaling again in recent years.


It can be quite daunting to start a new diary or journal and you might ask yourself "What do I write about?" or "Where do I even start?".


I do. I have so many notebooks that are untouched because I get "first page" nervousness and fear I will ruin the notebook somehow! Once you get started though, a journal is invaluable for emotional release.


So I decided to put together some writing prompts that may prove useful in your journaling endeavours! And not only that... I'll even fill them in myself as we go down the list for your own personal entertainment.


It's about to get real personal... so strap in.

 

If you want to skip my ramblings and head straight for prompts list, you'll find it at the bottom of this post. Otherwise, stick around for the good stuff!

 

When do you feel most at ease?

Firstly, when I'm walking in a woodland. I feel very calm and peaceful in a forest setting, especially if it is Autumn time and with someone that I care about. This type of environment inspires, relaxes, nourishes and enriches my soul.


Secondly, when I'm in a hot bath. I'll get a nice smelling candle, face mask, hair mask, a book, some bubbles and a bath bomb and just soak for an hour or two.


I try to take a bath when I'm feeling low as this helps a lot, but I should try to get out the house more too on days that allow me to.


What do I need to forgive myself for?

Mistakes I made when I wasn't informed. Sometimes you don't have the information, education or life experience and say or do things as a result that will upset others. I need to forgive myself for those times and recognise that I'm trying to learn and become better.


I also need to forgive myself for my bad days. I'm hanging onto a lot of guilt regarding times when I was struggling, but didn't know how to (or that I had the power to) help myself.


If you wrote a letter of forgiveness to yourself, what would it say?

Dear Emma,


You don't need to beat yourself for things you have said or done in the past, because you are putting the work in to ensure that doesn't happen again. You will probably still make mistakes along the road but that's okay because you are trying.


There are so many people that will say or do things that upset others and then BLAME it on their ignorance without taking any steps to become less ignorant afterwards. You need to give yourself credit for continuing to educate yourself.


Also, I forgive you for everything you did before you sought recovery for your depression and anxiety. You were ill-informed, did not understand your illness, did not have the support you needed and, most of all, you were scared. You were POORLY. You were not well and were suffering. The illness was out of your control, but your recovery was not. And although you could have sought treatment sooner, the reality is that the treatment that helped you most was out of reach at the time. You could not afford it and access to universal services are drastically underfunded. You did the best you could with what you had.


It's okay. You can move on now. I forgive you.


Emma


What am I most proud of?

Completing my degree (despite the struggle my mental health caused) and going through therapy.


I'm proud of how far I've come and the work I've put into get here.


When do I feel most confident?

When someone likes my creative work, when I feel pretty, when I'm listening to my favourite music.


After a long day, the kindest thing I can do for myself is...?

Give myself space to decompress (and make a yummy, healthy meal without feeling guilty about it).


What do I feel I am sacrificing right now for the sake of others?

Potential creative and academic growth.


What does unconditional love look like to you?

Love no matter your perceived "flaws". Love that encompasses your entire being, as you are, all you were and all you could be.


Write about the thing you most want to let go of.

How I obsessively compare myself to others. It is toxic, it is insidious and it has repeatedly destroyed my confidence for over a decade.


Write about a past struggle that you have overcome. Did it make you stronger and what did you learn from it?

Pretty much 2015-2017 was a huge struggle for me. I'd just moved to a new town, away from my family and friends and was staying with my now ex and his family. I was also starting my first job. Anxiety was high. It didn't work out with me and my ex (obviously) and was almost homeless as a result. I had to scramble to find a new place to rent with barely any savings for a deposit as my wage was pitiful, and at the end of it was alone and miserable in a job that didn't pay for your skills or respect you.


So I got a new job and new boyfriend, but hadn't healed. This wasn't fair on them; I wasn't eating right, my moods were erratic, I was paranoid, and was still in a job that didn't look after it's people. I kept moving about and didn't have a place to call a home.


After I started therapy I started to heal, even some wounds I wasn't able to heal that I'd had since secondary school. This helped massively and gave me the courage to seek out better things that would make my life better.


The relationship I was in became toxic over time because of the illness and associated baggage and therapy helped me see that. I got a better job at a company that really does care about it's workers. I now have a house of my own and I'm engaged.


This experience made me weaker before I could make me stronger. Trauma and experiences don't make us stronger. They force us to make ourselves stronger in order to overcome... but it would be far better to NOT experience trauma in the first place.


I learnt that it doesn't take much to throw off your plans and plunge you into a dark place of struggle. You cannot take anything for granted because you never know what will happen next. However, as human beings we are adaptable, and we can survive.


What can you do today to make yourself feel better tomorrow?

Eat a delicious healthy meal, read and get a good night's sleep.


What are 3 things you would like to tell your past self?

Everything will be alright in the end.


You don't need their approval.


If they really cared they wouldn't treat you this way. Have the courage to sack them off and move on.


What are 3 things you would like to tell your future self?

Keep going. You're doing great.


Don't forget to look back and see how far you've come.


You still don't need their approval.


Are there any thought patterns that are holding me back right now?

My evening patterns. I feel that time could be put to better use and I get stuck in a routine of "eat, tv, sleep".


I want to make the most of my evenings by spending more quality time with Lewis, go for walks and read more.


What drains most of my energy?

Monotonous work that requires no creativity, and arguments.


Am I happy with the relationships I have with my partner, friends and family?

I think I need to nurture my relationships a little more. I know there is more I can do to keep strong bonds and make my loved ones feel appreciated.


What are 3 things you need to remind yourself of when you are struggling?

You will get through it without resorting to unhealthy coping mechanisms.


There are people around you who care, asking for help is not a weakness.


Even on your bad days you are still worthy.


What situations trigger the most anxiety? And how can you make them more comfortable?

I get very anxious when meeting new people, during arguments (or when people start to show signs of anger) and I do not like presenting in a work environment as I feel very vulnerable in all of these situations.


More confidence would solve 2 of these issues, and whilst I cannot manufacture confidence I can remind myself that I am not other people's opinions of me.


When it comes to arguments, I think it is fair that my anxiety is triggered, especially when you mix past trauma into the mix. So to make this situation more comfortable, communication has to take centre stage. A lot of arguments can be solved or de-escalated using effective communication and this is something I continually try to work on.


Is there anybody in your life that is negatively affecting your mental health?

Generally no, as I try to distance myself from people who have a negative impact on my mental health.


Sometimes people will cause you to spiral unintentionally and when this happens it's best to tackle this with communication and space where you need it. Most people don't go out of their way to make you feel crap, but those that do don't deserve to be a part of your life.


Make a list of things that make you smile.

My fiancé

My family

My friends

Autumn

Foxes

Chai Lattes

Heavy metal loud through headphones

Taylor Swift's entire discography

Halloween

Plus so many more things that I could go on and on.


What scares you most about the future?

The idea that I will not be able to achieve what I set out to do.


This could result in me not trying through fear of failure and then look back in regret that I did not even give it a go. I have so many things I want to do and the thought of not being able to do them fills me with sadness.


Going forward I refuse to let fear of failure stop me from trying. Failure is still scary, but I would rather fail than spend the rest of my life wondering what could have been.


What excites you most about the future?

All the things I could do!


I want to get a some sort of qualification in mental health (I haven't decided what qualification exactly yet). I want to travel. There's is so much I want to learn and so much I will love that I haven't found yet! What's not to be excited about?!*


*Says the person who once dreaded the future because everything seemed so bleak thanks to depression... trust me, it gets better.


What would you do in your life if you were not afraid?

Be more myself. I always worry I'll be too much, too weird, too... I don't know! I've had so many situations where I'm afraid to take up space in other people's lives. If I were not afraid, I would be unapologetically me! (I'm working on it).


I'd probably also be a dabbler in extreme sports like bungee jumping, skydiving etc.!



So there you have it! It's amazing what a few insightful questions can make you realise about yourself. Use the answers that you give here to help form a plan of how you can nurture yourself going forward.


For example, try to implement evening routines to set you up for a better tomorrow, or engage in things that make you happy on days where you are struggling. You deserve to feel good and if these little things help push you towards then grasp them with both hands!


Feel free to download and share the prompt list below and let me know if you find them helpful. Enjoy!




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