50 Empowering Journal Prompts for Stress and Anxiety to Help Caregivers Cope.

50 Journal prompts for stress and anxiety specifically chosen for the caregivers helping someone they love fight cancer.

Stress comes from everywhere during a cancer situation. Fear, stress, and anxiety are just part of the gig.  And when you also have to worry about work, your family, and your paycheck it all becomes pretty overwhelming. 

You need time to escape from this situation. Easier said than done, I know.  But you need it.   

One of the most effective ways to cope with your feelings and dump a huge amount of stress is journaling. 

Open journal with creative writing and doodling sitting on a table next to a cup of coffee. Text overlay says- 50 empowering journal prompts to help caregivers cope.

Journaling works because it…

  • Helps your mind focus on your thoughts
  • Is a creative outlet for stress and anxiety
  • Gets your feelings and thoughts out of your head and onto paper
  • Gives you an opportunity to solve problems 

And journaling before bed is a great way reduce your stress level and tackle all those thoughts that are running through your mind.  So you can fall asleep easier.  

Journaling before bed

Caregivers need a lot more sleep than they usually get because of the incredible amount of stress they are dealing with.  And after dragging through a long day, so exhausted that you can barely keep your eyes open, IT SUCKS to finally lay down and not be able to sleep.

Emptying those anxious thoughts from your mind makes it easier to fall asleep.

Journaling before bed can help rid your mind of stress and leave your psyche feeling calm. This can help your mind shut down more easily and drift into REM sleep where the mind and body can repair and heal. Practice writing before bedtime to help your mind release the worries of the day and prepare for a great night’s rest.    

Dumping stress

Woman sitting at a desk with candles and a cup of coffee dumping her stress into a journal.

Journaling helps you get a handle on your thoughts, and more importantly, helps you get all this stuff (your worries, fears, things that need to be done, etc.) out of your head onto paper.  And find some stress relief

Instead of ruminating on the things you’re worried about and stressing about things you can’t control, writing it down helps you organize your thoughts and process them. It makes it easier to identify, understand and find solutions to stress because you are focusing on your thoughts rather than continuously running them over in your mind. 

Coping with stressful experiences

Journaling is a phenomenal coping strategy.  It helps ease depression and anxiety.  Journaling doesn’t have to be limited to writing. It can be as creative as you’d like including, coloring, doodling, writing poetry, or any other form of expression. 

Who doesn’t need something creative to focus on in the middle of a cancer situation?   

Note: If you’re a family dealing with cancer, we can help. We can help you manage some of the craziness that comes with this disease. You can grab our free Cancer Combat Plan here…

Writing things down tricks your brain into dumping them and leaving them on the page. Journaling can help you get thoughts out of your head so your mind can wander on to something else. Psychologically, your brain believes that the thoughts are categorized on the page and don’t need as much intense focus anymore so your mind can begin to relax. 

Finding solutions to your challenges

Journaling also triggers problem solving, in the same way clearing your mind in the shower leads to epiphanies, journaling can trigger problem solving. Worrying about stress in your mind clutters it with negative thoughts and anxiety. The process of journaling triggers our natural problem-solving skills and makes it easier to find solutions. 

Explore the possibilities

Journaling creates a safe space to ponder any and every idea that comes to mind. A healthy way to manage an out of control situation, or even just the overwhelm of life is to empty your head of the thoughts, ideas, and information running through your mind. Writing it down, frees you up to let it go. Your brain feels like is no longer required to manage so much information.

Even if you don’t consider yourself a writer, journaling can be a very therapeutic activity. Jotting down what you’re grateful for has been proven to be beneficial to well-being. It can also be energizing to simply do a brain dump in which you write down all the things that are floating around in your head. 

Give it a try. 

Express yourself

Just as art, music, and dance are forms of expression, journaling is a fundamental way that people express themselves. Whether you’re doing Bible journaling, bullet journaling, or writing long hand in a leather bound book filled with empty pages, you are expressing yourself with positive things in a very profound way. No two journals are alike and there is great power in having an outlet to share whatever is on the forefront of your mind.

Expressing yourself gives you an outlet to manage the emotions of a difficult time in life.

The activity of writing in a journal can be a way to recharge your batteries and do some self-care. Journaling can give a pathway to a passion to write about, draw, or capture your biggest ideas when they have your full attention.

Remember what happened

Life is fleeting. What you are experiencing today is going to be a memory in a very short amount of time. What you feel about life, happiness, sadness, elation, or confusion won’t always be the case. You won’t always be a caregiver.  

Life won’t always be this exhausting and overwhelming and someday you’ll actually miss all of this craziness.  (I know that sounds crazy, but it’s true.)

Journaling creates a timeline where you can live in the moment and reflect back in the future. Nothing is better than going back to revisit who you were and what was happening back then and then seeing how far you’ve come.

It’s also incredibly powerful to see that things really did work out for the best.  Journals give you clear evidence of how you worked through issues and solved them.  

The benefits of journal writing come alive when you move the thoughts and ideas from your head to a journal. There are undeniable advantages to dumping your stress and worries, exploring possible solutions, expressing your feelings, and finding a new perspective on a difficult situation.    

There are So Many Different Ways To Journal 

sky blue journal and a pen sitting on a bedroom floor.

But there is no wrong way to do it.

Not every journal has to be a blank paged book that you write in for hours sharing your innermost thoughts. Some journals take minutes to update. Others use no words at all.

Journaling isn’t so much about how you do it as it is that you do it with frequency and consistency.

Because the outcome you’re looking for is personal, you can design a journal practice that accommodates your needs. 

  • You can keep track of a goal
  • Work through difficult times
  • Express yourself creatively
  • Engage in self-care

Whatever you need, there is a way to journal it. Traditional journals are great for people who love expressive writing and spend time laying out their thoughts and ideas with minimal prompting or influence from the outside. For those more comfortable with the keyboard, an electronic journal may be ideal.  Some have writing prompts, others a blank, and some are designed to be creative.

Some traditional journal ideas are…

●     Gorgeous hardcover journal

●      Electronic notebook

●      A writer’s pad

●      Prompting journal

●      Gratitude journal

Unique journal styles usually appeal to people who prefer alternatives to longhand or traditional journaling. Busy people who don’t have spare time may find bullet journaling an effective way to stay on track with their creativity without sacrificing too much energy.

Artists may love expressing their thoughts, ideas, and dreams in a doodle journal or through a series of painted pieces in a collection. Sometimes the mere activity of making the art opens the mind to new thoughts while it is distracted by the art activity.

Some unique style journals are…

●      Video journals

●      Bible Art journals

●      Art journals

●     Mind mapping notebooks

   For those who prefer no-nonsense and practical methods of journaling, a mind map may be just the ticket. Mind mapping takes ideas and thoughts and creates compartmentalized areas for each thought. Then the ideas that match that thought are neatly assigned to the thought. This is a very unique way to organize anything from starting a new business to writing a book.

 The most effective way to start journaling

Do what comes naturally

The best way to begin journaling is by doing what already comes naturally. If you love to write, start writing. Are you are a list maker, start listing your thoughts down in nice neat rows. If you are an artist start drawing and doodling out your feelings in a sketchbook or a gorgeous notebook. 

Have a why

Anytime there is a solid why to what you do, you are more likely to stick with it. Knowing why you are journaling helps get you going and keeps you going. If you are trying to manage a health issue like cancer, knowing that you are journaling information that will be necessary will keep you motivated.

Journaling For Mental Calm and Clarity

Young woman in her pajama's and fuzzy socks journalling on the bed.

Life gets overwhelming and emotions run high when you are battling cancer.  You often feel stuck trying to solve a problem that feels unsolvable. 

 Journaling is a great tool that can create more clarity in your situation, which can lead to a positive change in your mental health.

One of the most-used tools of therapists or mental health professionals is journaling. Because it is one of the most effective ways to create clarity and calm out of chaos and confusion.

Giving a voice to your feelings

The journaling process is a judgement free activity that doesn’t talk back. Journals are there to receive your information. Unlike your best friend or mother, a journal is there to listen and not offer unsolicited advice. 

A journal doesn’t meddle or get bored. A journal simply provides a safe space for you to process your thoughts and feelings. Whether good, bad, or socially inappropriate, a journal is an excellent way to free yourself from your feelings of anxiety and reduce chaos.

Working your mind to solve problems

 Studies prove that our minds are designed to solve problems. Our psyche wants to figure out how to do whatever needs to be done. This is exactly how innovation and technology have changed the world. By solving problems. The best way to solve a problem is to work through it. Sort of like a Rubik’s cube, imagine your mind twisting and turning those colors until you get the pattern that unlocks the door and fixes the dilemma.

Defining the next steps

 As you journal and express yourself and work on the issues at hand, your mind experiences the release of dopamine and starts to feel calm and competent. Ideas start to form so you know what your next steps are and all of a sudden you have an epiphany that changes the game. Your sleep improves, your confidence improves and you are focused. 

There is something magical about releasing your chaos and confusion into a journal and discovering that there is calm and clarity available to you. Especially during a stressful situation like cancer.

Just allowing yourself to work through the worst fears, by journaling is a powerful tool that lets you experience the satisfaction of figuring out how to solve your own problems. And it’s way cheaper than professional help.

The Habit Of Journaling Daily Reaps The Biggest Rewards

Open journal, timer, cellphone, paperclips push pins, and sticky notes scattered on a desk. Close pin fastened to journal says DO IT.

There is an adage that says how you do anything is how you do everything. Translated this means that habits are the surest indicator of outcomes. The generally accepted truth about habits is they take 21 days to develop. 

Doing something over and over again in your daily life for 21 days accounts for the mindset shift that needs to happen to integrate the behavior into our everyday lives. Little by little what once was foreign becomes daily routine.

 Here are 21 tips to develop your journaling habit:

  1. Don’t rush it

2. Have great tools

3. Be present when you journal

4. Be consistent with the time you journal

5. Commit to the practice of journaling

6. Get inspiration from nature

7. Share your enthusiasm for journaling with others

8. Find a community that loves to journal

9. Find a favorite place to journal

10. Enjoy your favorite drink when you journal

11. Use a special seat for journaling

12. Set aside time with your child to journal together

13. Eliminate outside distractions

14. Diffuse essential oils while you journal

15. Burn scented candles when you journal

16. Leave your journal out so you can be reminded to engage with it

17. Schedule journaling time into your calendar

18. Always have a supply of journals and tools on hand

19. Treat yourself to a reward for reaching a goal you journaled

20. Forgive yourself when you don’t journal

21. Place no limits on yourself about journaling. Just do it

 As with all things you have to want to develop the habit in order to create it. Ask yourself why you want to journal and how you believe life will be enriched for having done it. Discover what motivates you and make that motivation part of your routine.

The first time you try something new it will likely be awkward. It will take longer than it ought to and it will probably feel unnatural. Stick with it.  Keep working at journaling and you will find the effort becomes easy and the outcomes are better than ever.

Take The Time To Look Back Through Your Journals

Once you’ve committed to journaling and you have found yourself with a nice stack of completed journals that took time and energy to finish. Your blood, sweat, and tears have been poured into these journals and you have wrestled with demons, dreamed things you’ve never told anyone about, and tracked the most important parts of your journey.  

Time has gone by and now you have a record of your triumphs and your tribulations sitting there on a shelf.

Now what?

The act of creating journals is one form of self-care. The act of reviewing them is another. There is so much to be gained from reviewing your journals as time goes by.

 Consider this-

 Those journals are a true and accurate view into your life at that present moment. Whether you were in stressful times over something you couldn’t control or singing from the rooftops about reaching a big audacious goal, that was you…then. 

Re-reading or reviewing your journal can give you a new perspective that you didn’t have back then. You can see yourself more objectively because you aren’t in that space any longer.

 Reviewing your journals can give you insight into a path you were too close to in the moment. Being able to read through a previous experience can help you create some cliff notes about your coping strategies for stress management.

Giving yourself the time to review your journals can help you forgive others and recall with gratitude how far you have come. You can literally see your resilience and the way that things played out. This can be a healing and encouraging process that shows you that all things do work out for the best.

Evaluating a past challenge by reviewing your journal entries can give you HUGE insight on how to proceed in the right direction and develop an action plan for a situation you’re dealing with right now.

Family and friends can learn from you

 If you’re inclined to share, your family can have the opportunity to know you better. This could be your opportunity to share with your family the thoughts you have had over time. They can share in your growth, your most difficult moments, and your success. You can show your children how you overcame some of the most difficult parts of your life. You can leave a legacy that impacts those you love the most.

 Reviewing your journals sparks old ideas. Perhaps you forgot about that idea you released into your journal eight years prior. Seeing it again could be the catalyst to taking action now. Nothing is ever wasted when it is recorded and reviewed. Now may be the perfect time to take action when you didn’t have the resources before.

Review your journals with grace. Be gentle to the person you were on the way to becoming who you are. Be kind and open minded to where you were back then.  

This list of journal prompts were hand-picked for caregivers who are helping someone they love fight cancer. Starting a daily journal practice will help tremendously with your stress levels and is a SIMPLE but powerful way to take better care of yourself.

 Journaling Prompts for Stress and Anxiety

old fashioned journal, decorated with hearts written in a foreign laungage.
  1. What are your biggest assets during times of stress? 
  2. What are your strengths and weaknesses?
  3. What makes you feel sad and depressed?
  4. What makes you feel happy and calm?
  5. What are the things you feel grateful for in life?
  6. What’s my favorite way to recharge?
  7. What am I sacrificing right now because of this situation?
  8. What are 3 things I wish I had known a year ago?
  9. What are 3 things I never want to forget?
  10. What (specifically) is draining my energy right now?
  11. What are the parts of this situation that you absolutely hate?
  12. What are the parts of this situation that you like?
  13. What are you most worried about right now?
  14. What are you scared of right now?
  15. What are the coping skills you’re using right now?
  16. What is the best thing that could happen in this situation?
  17. What is the worst thing that could happen in this situation?
  18. What do you think is actually going to happen in this situation?
  19. What makes you feel confident in this situation?
  20. What makes you feel helpless in this situation?
  21. What are my best qualities and how will they help me through this?
  22. What are my worst qualities and how will they affect me in this situation?
  23. What is bothering you the most about this situation?
  24. What scares you about this situation?
  25. What is one change that would make this situation easier?
  26. What is your ONE biggest struggle right now?
  27. What would make your biggest struggle more manageable?
  28. If you had a friend in your situation?  What’s the best advice could you give them?
  29. How is this situation affecting your stress level?  
  30. What is one thing that could help you reduce that stress?
  31. What is an issue you encountered this week?  How did you handle it?
  32. What is one thing you could learn to help you navigate this situation?
  33. What areas of your life are most affected by this situation?  
  34. What could you do to lessen the impact on one area of your life? 
  35. How are you sleeping?
  36. What’s one thing you could do that would help you sleep better?
  37. What are you telling yourself every day to get through this?
  38. Write down 10 things you could do in 20 minutes or less that would help you feel less stressed.
  39. What are you doing to take care of yourself during this situation?
  40. Who are the people who are supporting you right now as you go through this?  How are they supporting you?
  41. Who is not supporting you right now that you thought would?
  42. Write a letter to your future self.  Paint an accurate picture of where you are now and how you’re feeling. 
  43. What is an expectation you have of yourself that you’re struggling with? How can you let this go?
  44. If you could be doing anything right now, what would you be doing?
  45. What are you thankful for right now?
  46. How are coping with this situation right now?
  47. What are the things in your schedule that can’t be missed?  These have to be done.
  48. What are the things in your schedule that could be skipped, given to someone else, or eliminated?
  49. How am I reacting to this situation?  Is that helping me or making things more difficult for me?
  50. What has been your biggest challenge in the last week?  And what is one thing you could do that could help you manage it better?

 P.S.  If you’re drowning in all this cancer business, and you have no idea where to start…  

The Cancer Combat Plan is a step-by-step guide from someone who has struggled through this and found ways to manage the chaos, the stress, and the overwhelm.   

Things feel better, and more in control when you have a plan.  So if you’re looking for action steps, resources, and strategies that will help you manage this crisis, we’ve got you covered. And it’s totally free… 

You can get the Cancer Combat Plan for free here…

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