The journey to self-discovery is intimate but life-changing, and it often requiring us to delve into the quieter parts of our inner worlds. Shadow work is a concept popularized by psychologist Carl Jung, and involves digging into the hidden and unconscious parts of our personalities — parts we often suppress or ignore.

It can be uncomfortable, but shadow work can uncover hidden insights about our deepest desires, fears, and even self-identity. Exploring our “dark side” and confronting it with shadow work is incredibly effective, and is really step one on the path to personal growth and healing.

Whether you’ve just heard of shadow work journaling, are seeking deeper fulfilment in life, or just want to get to know yourself better, we’ve curated over 100 shadow work journal prompts, all organized and categorized for you to get started. Let’s jump in!

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Table of Contents

Beginner Shadow Work Prompts

Completely new to shadow work? Let’s start with these before digging into the more specific prompts:

  1. What makes you feel happy and why?
  2. What’s a simple pleasure you love, and why does it mean so much?
  3. What are three things you are grateful for today?
  4. What is one small thing you can do today to improve your mood or health?
  5. What’s a compliment you received that made you feel good?
  6. Write about a time you helped someone. How did it make you feel?
  7. What are some small ways you can express kindness daily?
  8. What is a recent discovery you made about yourself?
  9. How do you feel at the end of a productive day?
  10. What is a goal you recently achieved and how did you celebrate it?

Self-Reflection & Growth Prompts

  1. Reflect on a past mistake — what lesson did it teach you?
  2. What’s a personal limitation that frustrates you?
  3. What does forgiveness mean to you? Is there anyone you need to forgive?
  4. Reflect on your attitudes toward money and financial security.
  5. What do you feel excessively responsible for?
  6. What are your coping strategies for stress?
  7. What do you need to feel valued and understood?
  8. How do you handle disappointment in yourself?
  9. What personal qualities do you want to develop?
  10. What are the unspoken rules you live by?
  11. What does ‘growth’ mean to you, and how do you pursue it?
  12. Reflect on your experiences with joy and sadness.

Emotional Awareness Prompts

  1. What emotion do you most often try to avoid, and why?
  2. Reflect on a time you felt jealous. What was at the root of these feelings?
  3. Write about a time you felt misunderstood. What would you have liked to communicate?
  4. Describe a situation where you reacted angrily or defensively but wished you hadn’t.
  5. What feelings do you suppress the most, and in what situations?
  6. How do you typically deal with criticism?
  7. When do you feel the need to control situations or people?
  8. What triggers your anxiety or stress the most?
  9. How do you react when you don’t get what you want?
  10. Discuss how you deal with feelings of envy or comparison.

Relationships Prompts

  1. Reflect on a relationship where you feel you can’t be your true self.
  2. Describe a relationship dynamic that repeatedly causes you stress.
  3. What are the conditions under which you feel you need to prove your worth?
  4. How do you typically handle conflict?
  5. How do you feel when you are alone with your thoughts?
  6. What do you find hardest to communicate in your relationships?
  7. What part of your life do you find hard to accept?
  8. How do you express love, and how do you like to receive it?
  9. Discuss how you deal with feelings of loneliness.
  10. How do you feel about your current romantic relationship(s) or lack thereof?

Self-Identity Prompts

  1. What parts of yourself are you most afraid of others seeing?
  2. What are your insecurities about your personal appearance, and how do they affect you?
  3. When do you feel most at peace with yourself?
  4. What parts of your life do you keep most private and why?
  5. Describe your relationship with your body.
  6. How do you feel about your cultural or familial heritage?
  7. What does ‘home’ mean to you?
  8. What do you pretend to like but actually don’t?
  9. What are your defensive mechanisms?
  10. How do you feel about aging and time passing?

Coping Mechanisms & Resilience Prompts

  1. What are your strategies for handling emotional pain?
  2. Discuss how you feel about change, especially unexpected or unwanted change.
  3. How do you deal with grief and loss?
  4. How do you deal with feelings of overwhelm?
  5. What coping mechanisms have you developed from your upbringing?
  6. How do you maintain your mental health?
  7. What do you do to stay balanced in stressful situations?
  8. How do you respond to being out of your comfort zone?
  9. What habits do you engage in that you know are unhealthy? Why do you think you continue them?
  10. Discuss your experiences with giving and receiving help.

Values & Beliefs Prompts

  1. Explore the impact of your upbringing on your personal beliefs.
  2. Discuss a value or belief you once held strongly but have now questioned.
  3. What societal pressures do you feel most acutely?
  4. What are your thoughts on spirituality or religion in your life?
  5. What beliefs about success and failure influence your behavior?
  6. How do your values guide your daily interactions?
  7. What do you believe is the nature of people — good or bad?
  8. What are your thoughts on personal freedom?
  9. What does ‘being strong’ mean to you?
  10. What are your views on commitment in relationships?

Fears & Insecurities Prompts

  1. What are your biggest fears about being vulnerable with others?
  2. What are the things you feel most guilty about?
  3. What do you admire in others but feel you lack?
  4. What aspects of your personality do you think holds you back the most?
  5. What do you struggle to forgive in yourself?
  6. When have you felt let down by someone you trusted?
  7. What are your anxieties about the future?
  8. How do you handle feelings of inadequacy?
  9. What makes you feel insecure in social settings?
  10. Reflect on a time you felt you were not good enough.

Past Experiences Prompts

  1. Write about an event from your past that still causes you pain when you think about it.
  2. Reflect on a time you felt you failed. How has this impacted your self-esteem?
  3. Describe a personal conflict and how you resolved it — or didn’t.
  4. Write about a fear you’ve overcome and how you did it.
  5. Reflect on a time you were betrayed. How did you handle it?
  6. Describe a time you felt abandoned or alone.
  7. Reflect on your experiences with trust and mistrust.
  8. Discuss a personal victory — what did it mean to you?
  9. Write about a moment that profoundly changed your perspective.
  10. Discuss a time you had to adapt to a major change.

Communication & Expression Prompts

  1. How do you typically deal with feelings of inadequacy?
  2. When do you find it hard to be honest, and why?
  3. How do you express love, and how do you like to receive it?
  4. Discuss how you feel about your responsibilities.
  5. What challenges have you faced with your mental health?
  6. How do you express frustration?
  7. What do you find hardest to understand about others?
  8. How do you feel when you must speak in public or express controversial opinions?
  9. Discuss how you feel about your voice being heard or not.
  10. How do you handle communication in stressful situations?

Life Goals & Aspirations Prompts

  1. How do you feel about your current life path?
  2. What do you think are your most significant strengths and weaknesses?
  3. What are your thoughts on your future?
  4. What does being successful mean to you?
  5. What do you need more of in your life?
  6. What skills do you wish to develop for your career advancement?
  7. What makes you feel empowered?
  8. What are your personal aspirations outside of work?
  9. How do you approach making significant decisions?

Work & Career Shadow Work Prompts

  1. How do you feel about your career path right now?
  2. Do you feel fulfilled in your current role?
  3. What are your professional goals and how do you plan to achieve them?
  4. What’s a professional challenge you faced and how did you overcome it?
  5. What skills do you wish to develop for your career advancement?
  6. How do you handle work-related stress?
  7. How do you feel about the balance between work and personal life?
  8. What do you find most rewarding about your career?
  9. How do you respond to setbacks in your professional life?
  10. What are your long-term career aspirations?
  11. How do you stay motivated and engaged at work?

Student Shadow Work Prompts

  1. How does the pressure of academic performance affect your mental health?
  2. Discuss how you balance social life and studies.
  3. What are your main concerns about your future after graduation?
  4. How do you cope with peer pressure and competition?
  5. What aspects of your educational experience do you find most challenging?
  6. How do you handle stress during exam periods?
  7. What motivates you to keep studying when you feel overwhelmed?
  8. How has your view of education changed since starting college?
  9. What role do extracurricular activities play in your life?
  10. How do you plan to use your education in your future career?

There you have it! We hope these shadow work journal prompts were a helpful start on your journey to growth and healing. Are there any in particular that stuck with you? Or other prompts we should add to the list? Let us know in the comments below!

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