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Five Journaling Prompts That Will Change Your Life

Five Journaling Prompts That Will Change Your Life

Why you should pick up a pen and paper today

Journaling (also known as “expressive writing”) offers a multitude of psychological benefits such as the chance to release anger, to make sense of difficult or traumatic events by setting them down, and granting yourself a degree of psychological distance from personal problems.

It also gives you the chance to engage in some deep self-reflection, which can help you clarify your values, goals and overall life direction. Journaling has the power to be truly transformative if you take the time to analyze yourself. As the saying goes, knowledge is power!

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Why use prompts?

However, facing a blank page can be an intimidating prospect. What should you write about? Start with the following five prompts. They have all been designed to get you thinking about some of life’s deeper questions and to kickstart some serious self-reflection.

1. If I were given a year off work, I would…

This prompt will help you bring your most cherished dreams into focus. What would you do if you had a year in which you could do anything? Would you study, do some volunteer work, start your own business, or undertake some self-development? Writing out your answer to this question can help you redirect your attention to long-forgotten or deeply-held dreams and ambitions.

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2. If I had a time machine, I would…

This prompt can help bring any regrets you are carrying to the surface. Although you might not want to dwell further on what has gone wrong in the past, writing about what has happened can be a good step in working to overcome rumination. Use your journal as a place to examine where you have gone wrong but also what you can learn from your mistakes.

3. If I could give my younger self a piece of advice, I would say…

Making mistakes is a painful but inevitable part of life. On the plus side, making mistakes is one of the most effective ways of learning about ourselves, how best to relate to others, and the world in general. This prompt will help you realize that your experiences have made you into a wiser person. Furthermore, you will come to appreciate that even if you could go back and deliver advice to your younger self, they would still learn much more in making their own mistakes!

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4. The seven things I could never do without are…

This prompt forces you to examine your relationship to material possessions. What do you truly need to lead a “good life”? Do you suspect that you might be overly attached to certain items? Does the thought of choosing only seven things make you panic, or do you feel as though you will always be fine as long as you have friends and family around you? Answering this question can highlight dependency on money or status symbols.

5. If I could ask an omniscient being one question, I would ask…

If you believe in God, what question would you ask him or her? If you are an atheist, imagine that you have an audience with an entity who knows everything about the universe and those within it. Either way, this prompt will help you realize your most pressing concern about life in general and how best you can direct your energy.

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For instance, if your question would be “Will I ever find love again?” then this is a valuable indicator that you should consider investing more time and energy into refining your relationship skills and meeting new people.

How to make the most of these prompts

Take your time when answering these questions. Your answers are for you alone, so be honest. Allow yourself an hour for each. Quite often, when you grant yourself permission to write fully and honestly, you will be surprised by how much you have to say. If you are embarking on a journey of personal development, why not re-answer these questions every few weeks or months? This will allow you to track your progress as you move towards a more authentic, fulfilled life.

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Jay Hill

Freelance Writer

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Last Updated on February 21, 2019

The Secret to Effective Conflict Resolution: The IBR Approach

The Secret to Effective Conflict Resolution: The IBR Approach

In business, in social relationships, in family… In whatever context conflict is always inevitable, especially when you are in the leader role. This role equals “make decisions for the best of majority” and the remaining are not amused. Conflicts arise.

Conflicts arise when we want to push for a better quality work but some members want to take a break from work.

Conflicts arise when we as citizens want more recreational facilities but the Government has to balance the needs to maintain tourism growth.

Conflicts are literally everywhere.

Avoiding Conflicts a No-No and Resolving Conflicts a Win-Win

Avoiding conflicts seem to be a viable option for us. The cruel fact is, it isn’t. Conflicts won’t walk away by themselves. They will, instead, escalate and haunt you back even more when we finally realize that’s no way we can let it be.

Moreover, avoiding conflicts will eventually intensify the misunderstanding among the involved parties. And the misunderstanding severely hinders open communication which later on the parties tend to keep things secret. This is obviously detrimental to teamwork.

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Some may view conflicts as the last step before arguments. And they thus leave it aside as if they never happen. This is not true.

Conflicts are the intersect point between different individuals with different opinions. And this does not necessarily lead to argument.

Instead, proper handling of conflicts can actually result in a win-win situation – both parties are pleased and allies are gained. A better understanding between each other and future conflicts are less likely to happen.

The IBR Approach to Resolve Conflicts

Here, we introduce to you an effective approach to resolve conflicts – the Interest-Based Relational (IBR) approach. The IBR approach was developed by Roger Fisher and William Ury in their 1981 book Getting to Yes. It stresses the importance of the separation between people and their emotions from the problem. Another focus of the approach is to build mutual understanding and respect as they strengthen bonds among parties and can ultimately help resolve conflicts in a harmonious way. The approach suggests a 6-step procedure for conflict resolution:

Step 1: Prioritize Good Relationships

How? Before addressing the problem or even starting the discussion, make it clear the conflict can result in a mutual trouble and through subsequent respectful negotiation the conflict can be resolved peacefully. And that brings the best outcome to the whole team by working together.

Why? It is easy to overlook own cause of the conflict and point the finger to the members with different opinions. With such a mindset, it is likely to blame rather than to listen to the others and fail to acknowledge the problem completely. Such a discussion manner will undermine the good relationships among the members and aggravate the problem.

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Example: Before discussion, stress that the problem is never one’s complete fault. Everyone is responsible for it. Then, it is important to point out our own involvement in the problem and state clearly we are here to listen to everyone’s opinions rather than accusing others.

Step 2: People Are NOT the Cause of Problem

How? State clearly the problem is never one-sided. Collaborative effort is needed. More importantly, note the problem should not be taken personally. We are not making accusations on persons but addressing the problem itself.

Why? Once things taken personally, everything will go out of control. People will become irrational and neglect others’ opinions. We are then unable to address the problem properly because we cannot grasp a fuller and clearer picture of the problem due to presumption.

Example: In spite of the confronting opinions, we have to emphasize that the problem is not a result of the persons but probably the different perspectives to view it. So, if we try to look at the problem from the other’s perspective, we may understand why there are varied opinions.

Step 3: Listen From ALL Stances

How? Do NOT blame others. It is of utmost importance. Ask for everyone’s opinions. It is important to let everyone feel that they contribute to the discussion. Tell them their involvement is essential to solve the problem and their effort is very much appreciated.

Why? None wants to be ignored. If one feels neglected, it is very likely for he/she to be aggressive. It is definitely not what we hope to see in a discussion. Acknowledging and being acknowledged are equally important. So, make sure everyone has equal opportunity to express their views. Also, realizing their opinions are not neglected, they will be more receptive to other opinions.

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Example: A little trick can played here: Invite others to talk first. It is an easy way to let others feel involved and ,more importantly, know their voices are heard. Also, we can show that we are actively listening to them by giving direct eye-contact and nodding. One important to note is that never interrupt anyone. Always let them finish first beforeanother one begins.

Step 4: Listen Comes First, Talk Follows

How? Ensure everyone has listened to one another points of view. It can be done by taking turn to speak and leaving the discussion part at last. State once again the problem is nothing personal and no accusation should be made.

Why? By turn-taking, everyone can finish talking and voices of all sides can be heard indiscriminantly. This can promote willingness to listen to opposing opinions.

Example: We can prepare pieces of paper with different numbers written on them. Then, ask different members to pick one and talk according to the sequence of the number. After everyone’s finished, advise everyone to use “I” more than “You” in the discussion period to avoid others thinking that it is an accusation.

Step 5: Understand the Facts, Then Address the Problem

How? List out ALL the facts first. Ask everyone to tell what they know about the problems.

Why? Sometimes your facts are unknown to the others while they may know something we don’t. Missing out on these facts could possibly lead to inaccurate capture of the problem. Also, different known facts can lead to different perception of the matter. It also helps everyone better understand the problem and can eventually help reach a solution.

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Example: While everyone is expressing their own views, ask them to write down everything they know that is true to the problem. As soon as everyone has finished, all facts can be noted and everyone’s understanding of the problem is raised.

Step 6: Solve the Problem Together

How? Knowing what everyone’s thinking, it is now time to resolve the conflict. Up to this point, everyone should have understood the problem better. So, it is everyone’s time to suggest some solutions. It is important not to have one giving all the solutions.

Why? Having everyone suggesting their solutions is important as they will not feel excluded and their opinions are considered. Besides, it may also generate more solutions that can better resolve the conflicts. Everyone will more likely be satisfied with the result.

Example: After discussion, ask all members to suggest any possible solutions and stress that all solutions are welcomed. State clearly that we are looking for the best outcomes for everyone’s sake rather than battling to win over one another. Then, evaluate all the solutions and pick the one that is in favor of everyone.

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