Why use daily journal prompts? Do I have to journal? I just don’t know what to write, it seems pointless. These are common questions! Hopefully this blog will help us work through some of these questions.
If you have ever sat down to start journalling and then had no idea what to write about, then having some general prompts can help. In eating disorder recovery this practice of journalling can seem hard work to start with (I hear you!) but it can really help you process the ED thoughts and move through recovery. So let’s get started.
The benefits of daily journalling and daily journal prompts:
Journalling can be a really helpful way to help process and make sense of your thoughts by putting them to paper. For some people journalling comes just like second nature. Quite often I find in eating disorders that this isn’t the case. So if you are in that group of people, you are not alone!
Journalling is becoming increasingly popular way to help in mental health and wellness. Which means there are so many social media posts talking about this and lots of beautiful journals around. We know that in eating disorders, it can be an especially helpful tool. Why? Journalling can help to make sense of eating disorder thoughts and behaviours in a creative way. This can be a bit like slowly unravelling a thread. Bit by bit, journalling can help you unravel your thoughts and emotions.
Sound like it could be useful? Then keep reading. It can be hard to just dive into starting to journal regularly. Which is why having a list of daily journal prompts can be a great way to build up a journalling habit.
If you work with a eating disorder team then you may find it useful to bring your journal with you to discuss what you’ve written. If you found a journalling session difficult or emotional, this may also be helpful to bring up. Your eating disorder dietitian or therapist may also be able to support you in choosing journal prompts to try out.
What are daily journal prompts?
A journal prompt is a way to give your notes a starting place. A journal prompt will suggest a situation or ask you a question to answer. There’s no right or wrong way to answer a prompt, or set amount you should write. The prompt is just there to get you started.
Journal prompts can be as simple as a few words or sentences. However, you may also find a series of questions that build on one another a helpful way to build and develop your thoughts as you journal.
Why use daily journal prompts
Starting a journal can feel daunting. Whilst some forms of journalling encourage a free-flow, running stream of consciousness writing style, this doesn’t necessarily work for everyone. It’s okay if it doesn’t work for you! Staring at a blank piece of paper (or empty notes app on your phone) whilst trying to come up with something to write about can feel tough.
Using a journal prompt means you already have a topic or question to focus on to give your journalling a direction. Once you’ve started, it is often comparatively easy to keep going.
Moreover, journal prompts can help you to delve deeper into a topic, or can be used as a form of positivity journalling. For example, here, you might specifically focus on positive thoughts in your journal.
On a similar vein, gratitude journal prompts might ask you to write down 5 things you are grateful to your body for, or types of food you enjoy eating.
These journal prompts can be used in a deliberate way to help understand your eating disorder and support recovery.
How to start with journalling:
Think about the type of person you are. Do you like putting pen to paper? Do you love a new notebook? Are you more likely to type your thoughts? Or draw it?
You can journal in a variety of ways. Why not try a couple out and see what helps for you.
- Grab a new notebook and some coloured pens that you love.
- Buy a specific Eating Disorder Journal that has the prompts in it. I personally like this one by Cara Lisette.
- Try using a journal app on your phone, there are some that you can password protect too.
- You could write a private blog and not publish it.
- Use sheets of paper and art materials, then store these in a folder.
- Voice note this into your phone or into the notes section of your phone which can transcribe it for you.
Examples of daily journal prompts :
Journal prompts for eating disorders:
What lies or limiting beliefs is your eating disorder telling you? Where do you think they’ve come from? Can you come up with a counter argument against them? What alternative statements could be true?
Create a list of some safe foods that you can eat when you’re feeling restrictive about eating. What are some foods you’d like to feel safe eating?
How can you be nicer to your body today?
Do you remember a time where you had a neutral relationship with food? If so, what did your relationship look like then versus now? Do you remember what began to change your relationship with food?
What type of relationship with food do you wish to have? Describe the steps you are taking to achieve that better relationship with food?
What does recovery mean to you right now? Do you believe that full recovery is possible?
What are your dreams for the next year? How will your ED help or hinder this?
How do you feel about your body today? Can you name your bodies strengths.
Write about your most recent slip-up with your eating. What happened beforehand? Write down the emotions were you feeling that day. What can you do next time to prevent this?
If you woke up tomorrow without your eating disorder, how would you spend your day? Walk through your entire day from the moment you wake up, to the moment you go to bed. How would your meals look? Would you feel less concerned about your body? Would you see friends, family, or do something you enjoy? What would you do with the extra time you reclaim from your eating disorder? What differences do you see between your life lately and this day you write about?
Write out the pros and cons to your eating disorder. Do you feel depressed and/or anxious? Have you withdrawn from your friends and social circle? Are there days when you feel tired of your eating disorder? Is it impacting how you perform in school, at work, or how you show up in life in general? Now think about the ways your eating disorder serves you. Does it bring you comfort in moments of loneliness? Does it help you feel less stressed or anxious? Or in control? Do these perceived pros have any consequences?
Journal prompts for disordered eating:
Make a list of the common negative thoughts you have about your body that you repeat to yourself often. Next to it, write out how you would respond to your best friend or a loved one saying these things about themselves. Then, compare the differences between the two statements. Why is there such a big difference between the way you speak to yourself and those you care about? In what ways could you begin changing the way you speak to yourself about your body? What do you need to work on to improve your body image?
Think of a food you currently limit or feel concerned around due to how healthy or unhealthy you perceive it to be. Without using words that refer to its nutritional, health or calorific content, describe the food and how it feels to eat it. What is its smell, texture, mouth feel, taste? Is it crunchy, chewy, smooth? Sweet, sour, salty, Unami? Is it rich or light to eat? What memories do you associate with it?
Imagine your perfect day if your food, drink and exercise choices had no impact on your health. What is the season and weather? Do you wake early or lay in? What, when and where do you have breakfast? What activities do you do throughout the day? Who would you spend your day with? What would you have for the rest of your meals?
Gratitude journal prompts:
These can be so lovely to include at the end of a journalling session. Sometimes journalling can go quite deep and bring up negatives, so always aim to end on a positive note. You can also try a seperate gratitude journal or why not try a gratitude jar? Write down 3 things you are grateful for each day on a small piece of paper, fold it up and pop it in a jar. When you need to remember there are positives to life, take some out and read them. Or save them up all year then have a fun New Years Eve reading those out!
List five things you are grateful for today
Can you think of three positive things that happened in your day today?
How could you make someone else smile tomorrow? Can you pick out three people who you might make smile?