Use These Art Journal Prompts to Release Your Anxiety
Have you heard of an art journal? I hadn’t either. It’s kind of like a bullet journal, only you aren’t using it as a planner but rather as way to express yourself through art. Given that art therapy is used for anxiety, I thought it would be useful to come up with some art journal prompts for social anxiety.
Art journal prompts are becoming quite popular. What this means is that you have a blank page in your journal and you use a prompt to write, draw, doodle, color… whatever you feel inspired to do based on the prompt.
This isn’t a contest to make the best art or even something where you have to be concerned about making it look nice. The point is to express yourself through a creative medium.
Below is a list of art journal prompts that I created specifically to work through feelings related to social anxiety. Each one centers around a particular word, with additional instructions where it seems appropriate.
You can use these prompts as inspiration for what to draw, to find related quotes that inspire you, to write out your thoughts and feelings, and use color to express the mood of the word.
Prompts to Start Your Journal
1. Inside. Journal about who you are on the inside. What parts of you do you keep hidden that nobody knows about?
2. Outside. How do you think other people perceive you? Create a page centered around outside appearances and your feelings around them.
3. Friendship. How do you feel about the friendships in your life? Do you wish you had less or more? Do they make you happy?
4. Relax. What do you like to do to relax? How do you feel when you are relaxed?
5. Breathe. Think about your breath and what it looks like to be breathing in a way that helps reduce your anxiety. Journal your feelings related to your breathing and how it hurts you or supports you.
6. Silence. How do you feel about silence? Does it make you uncomfortable or do you like it? Do you feel pressured to talk to avoid silence? Explore your feelings through images and words.
7. Motivation. What motivates you? Explore your motivation to overcome social anxiety and what might be holding you back.
8. Loneliness. What role does loneliness play in your life? If loneliness is a problem for you, what could you do to solve that?
9. Maybe. Explore the word maybe and all of its connotations. Maybe suggests possibility; are there any possibilities your are ignoring in your life?
10. Hope. Journal about hope that you have for the future or how you feel about hope. Have you lost hope? How could you have more hope?
11. Anxiety. This word will probably bring up a lot of emotions. Just let your feelings flow onto the paper through imagery and words.
12. Shy. Not everyone will relate to this word. You might have social anxiety but not really be shy. What does this word mean to you?
13. Speak. This could be a tough one. Imagine what the word speak brings up for you and then let your emotions out on the paper. Do you feel like you want to speak but can’t? Or that people expect you to speak but you want to stay quiet?
14. Overcome. We can all overcome. What will it take for you to overcome social anxiety? Get clear on the imagery of what that would look like in your life and then journal it out.
15. Choice. What choices are you making in your life right now? How do you feel about those choices?
16. Lighthouse. A lighthouse can be very symbolic. Use the image of the lighthouse as a guide to explore your feelings of being anchored or finding a guide off in the distance that can help you.
17. Dreams. What are your dreams and aspirations? Sometimes people with social anxiety let these go because everything seems to hard. Instead, I want you to unleash your wildest dreams on the paper. Don’t hold back.
18. Values. What values do you hold in life? What is most imporant to you to stay true to? Journal about your values by creating images and words that come up for you on the page.
19. Goals. Goals are what move us all forward. Think about some big audacious goals for yourself and then create images that inspire you that are related to those goals.
20. Mindfulness. What does mindfulness mean to you? How can you be more mindful in your daily life? Journal our your emotions related to mindfulness and what place it has in your life.
21. Thoughts. What relation do you have to your thoughts? Can you seem them as leaves on a river floating by? Not get stuck on them? Create imagery related to this idea of not becoming stuck on your thoughts.
22. Calm. When do you feel most calm? Let out your feelings related to feeling calm on the paper.
23. Waterfall. I love the image of a waterfall. What does a waterfall mean to you? Is there a point where all of your energy reaches a peak and then overflows? Explore that thought and journal out your feelings.
24. Social. What does it mean to you to be social? Explore your feelings, both positive and negative, about social parts of life.
25. Money. Money is on all of our minds. Think about what role money plays in your life and express it through your images and words.
26. Crowd. How do you feel about crowds? Explore those feelings in your journal.
27. Eyes. What do you feel when you look in someone’s eyes? This can be a hot button issue if you have social anxiety. Try journaling out your feelings about eye contact.
28. Hands. Sometimes your hands might shake or you might hide them so people won’t see. How do you feel about your hands?
29. Whispers. Do you feel like people talk about you or make fun of you? When you hear whispering, what do you think? Explore this in images.
30. Confidence. Finally, what would it mean to you to feel confident? Create images and words that help you feel that way.
I love the idea of an art journal, because nobody has to know the meaning behind your imagery but you. It’s a very private form of expression and not something you every plan to share.
What is your favorite prompt? Let me know in the comments.