50 Shadow Work Prompts To Help Healing and Self-Growth
There are so many ways that each of us can learn, heal and grow and one of our favorite ways to make this happen is with shadow work prompts. Shadow work prompts are a series of questions that are designed to get beneath the surface of our conscious selves to see what lies beneath our outward persona. We like to call this part the unconscious shadow or shadow self.
As hypnotherapists, we use hypnosis as a way of relaxing our client’s minds to allow them to access the thoughts and feelings that they have repressed. When our clients are in a trance state the barrier between the conscious and subconscious self is removed and we are allowed unique access into our client’s minds. Using this self-discovery journey to gain conscious knowledge of your shadow side can be powerful.
When we start to understand this shadow self and what our clients have repressed or hidden inside themselves it becomes easier to target therapy at their problems. It also allows our clients to rationalize and understand their negative thoughts and emotions and enables them to rationalise why they are the way they are. With that knowledge, they can heal their inner child, take action for positive change, and move forward with a better understanding of themselves. This can have a profoundly positive impact on their mental health.
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What are Shadow Work Prompts?
Whilst hypnosis is still a great way of finding out this information and accessing the shadow self there are other ways of getting this information. One of the great self-help methods to do this is using shadow work prompts which enable you to ask questions to find out more about who you are and what your shadow side is doing.
Shadow work prompts are a series of questions that enable you to focus inwardly on your thoughts and feelings deep down. By understanding shadow selves our clients are able to reveal traits and parts of themselves that typically remain hidden in the shadows or are completely suppressed in the subconscious.
Shadow work can be emotional and draining however the more you understand about yourself the easier it is to prevent issues such as self-sabotage or limiting beliefs that may be holding you back. When you are able to rationalize the information you have learned from shadow work it can free you and be incredibly healing.
What Created My Shadow Self?
Carl Jung was the founder of analytical psychology who coined the term shadow self when he was describing the subconscious parts of ourselves that are hidden from our conscious. He was aware that these parts of us were made up of positive and negative however the negative was often more dominant in this part of our personality.
This is because the subconscious is usually formed in early childhood and up to the age of around six years old. The information we receive from our surroundings and the people around us is soaked up like a sponge and accepted without question. This means if we experience problems or a traumatic event in these early years they can enter into our persona and stay there running on auto-pilot into adulthood. The original reasons for these problems are then long-forgotten years afterwards or we are unable to connect our toxic traits with the earlier problems.
To illustrate this imagine a child being told by their parents that they are useless and will never amount to much. The child assimilates this information and accepts it without question as this is all they know. As they move forward in life this belief creates low self-esteem which sticks around in the shadow self preventing them from proper success in life.
The child is likely to have a self-critical inner voice that makes them feel inferior or not good enough. Those inner thoughts flow into their daily life and stop them from reaching their potential.
Shadow work prompts can help to reveal the unhelpful thought patterns and lead to a journey of self-discovery and personal growth. This is a healing process that can help that person to work on their self-esteem and self-compassion.
How Do I Find My Shadow Self?
If you aren’t able to see a hypnotherapist or a psychotherapist then the easiest way to do this is with shadow work journal prompts or self-hypnosis. You can use our self-hypnosis downloads for relaxation and stress reduction to quieten your mind and enable you to relax sufficiently to start to find your subconscious self.
Shadow work journal prompts enable you to start to explore the depths of your mind and ask questions to help us understand more about your shadow side.
These journal prompts can involve soul searching and analyzing emotions as well as traumas or upsets in your life. Good shadow work prompts enable you to see the bigger picture and reveal the side of yourself that you don’t notice or feels hidden.
When you understand your negative traits you are getting information about your Achilles heel (s). What are the situations that push your buttons and made you react negatively? Understanding these things helps you to put in place strategies that can help you act differently and free you from past automated responses. Shadow work questions are not always easy but as you head on your journey of self-discovery you should make progress that can help you to be a happier person.
Is Shadow Work Dangerous?
Whilst generally we would say that shadow work is not dangerous we would caution its use in certain situations. Firstly if you are suffering from psychotic conditions such as schizophrenia or any other form of psychosis. Also if you are experiencing severe depression.
An average person with anxieties, fears, and limiting beliefs should have no problem with shadow work or self-awareness journaling. If however, you have a more severe mental illness it could destabilize you which is why we would suggest that you always speak to a medical doctor first before embarking on trying to view and understand your shadow self.
It is also worth noting that shadow work will never be a substitute for a trained therapist working with you to overcome your problems. Hypnotherapy for shadow work for example is a much easier route to find most negative traits because it makes those shadow parts more easily accessible.
Shadow Work Journal
If you want to know how to get started on discovering your hidden traits and thoughts then the best place to start is using our shadow work journal prompts together with a journal. The process of writing down your thoughts and answers in response to the prompts can help you to see the bigger picture and help your growth.
A good journal is a great way to get to know what is really going on in your mind and that includes the good and the bad. You need to embrace the worst of the parts of your personality because these are the elements that present a challenge. Invariably these started in childhood.
Remember that what you thought or believed as a child is often not true or helpful. Using shadow work questions can help you challenge old belief systems and traits can free you in the present and help you to a new healthy mindset.
The Best Journals for Shadow Work
Whilst you can of course do shadow work journaling with a simple notebook and pen there are plenty of great journals out there that have been specially designed for the process.
We have picked three of our favorites which range from basic notebooks with simple prompts to more comprehensive shadow work journals with resources and exercises for you to use in your journey.
Here are our top picks of great shadow journals to help you write your thoughts and express your true feelings.
Shadow Work Journal For Beginners
If you are new to shadow work and want to just get started this is the best shadow work journal for beginners. This journal is brilliant for helping you to uncover your hidden self and helping you to heal from past trauma.
This particular journal has 104 pages and 82 prompts that you can use in addition to the ones that we have already given. There are also 10 quotes, 4 blank letters for you to write your thoughts, and a further 3 pages for notes that you want to make about your life and your feelings.
In addition to this design, there are another four different covers that you can choose from depending on your taste. Including a damask purple pattern, a sky with constellations, a melting full moon, and a journal that has been designed for men.
Into the Wild Shadow Work Journal
The Into the Wild Shadow Work Journal is one of the most popular on the market. Created by Dominica Applegate is a great resource for journaling so that you can find out more about what is happening in your subconscious psyche.
Dominica recognizes that her journal and shadow work prompts can help with everything from anxiety and depression to relationship problems and bad habits. Learning more about yourself and uncovering layers can help you to feel free.
This particular version has 60 journal prompts, questions, and exercises to help you to find out what you might have repressed over the years. Each shadow work question is designed for you to delve a little deep and start the journey to discovering who you really are.
This journal is also filled with journaling prompts to use in addition to our suggestions as well as images and quotes to inspire you when you are writing. There are also 100 pages for you to write on so that you have plenty of space to help your healing.
Momentum a Shadow Work Guide and Journal
This particular Momentum shadow work journal isn’t just for writing down your inner thoughts it is also a guide as well. Therefore it is much more comprehensive than some of the journals that are on the market.
This is a tool that helps you with the process of discovering more about your shadow not just through journal prompts but through quotes, affirmations exercises, challenges, and other resources.
Note that you can use shadow work cards to accompany your journaling as well.
Journaling to Find Your Subconscious Shadow
If you want to begin journaling to help find your subconscious shadow and understand the way they are thinking then we have created a set of journal prompts to help you with your journey. Our shadow work journal prompts have been created to be challenging so that you can dig deep into your emotions to find out more about who you are.
Shadow work journal prompts are not supposed to be easy but are designed for you to understand your negative traits so that you can start to find ways to free yourself of old ways of thinking that might be holding you back.
Your shadow traits aren’t there to harm you but they have been created and forged by childhood experiences and interactions. Understanding what may have happened to you to create your problems in the here and now can be enlightening and freeing.
Healing yourself means looking in the shadows and aspects of yourself you find difficult or upsetting but which ultimately can tell you more about who you are. Use the shadow work journal prompts that we have devised to help you with your personal growth and your journey to self-love and acceptance.
When you practice shadow work you should eventually get a glimpse of yourself that normally remains hidden. This can give you a great advantage in life. This work can also make a difference to some mental health issues. We know that when our clients access their subconscious self and understand their shadow traits problems such as anxiety and depression can be alleviated and even eradicated. Accessing your shadow parts is a brilliant way of gaining self-knowledge and that can be a powerful way to move you towards the ultimate goal of feeling happier.
Shadow Work Journal Prompts
What are the things that trigger negative feelings within you?
What is your worst trait and why do you believe it is not helpful?
What was your greatest childhood fear?
What is the biggest incident from your childhood that made you feel panic or deep fear?
Who was the one person that you would avoid or actively felt dislike for as a child?
Who is the person who has hurt you most in your life?
When was the first time you knew you did something badly wrong and how did you react?
What guilty secret have you been hiding for years?
What could a person say about you that would hurt you to the core?
What negative emotions reappear regularly in your life?
What are your worst habits that you hate and would like to stop?
What are you afraid to admit about yourself?
Deep down do you like yourself?
Have you ever felt rejected and if so how has this impacted you as an adult?
Are there negative traits in your family that you actively wish you didn’t inherit?
Name a time when you felt embarrassed and wanted the ground to swallow you up?
As a child did you have a healthy relationship with your parents?
Is there anything that you haven’t forgiven yourself for?
What is your greatest regret?
What problems do you repeat over and over?
Do you ever believe that you have let yourself down?
What are the emotions that you try and avoid whenever you can?
Are you capable of self-love?
What traits in others do you find problematic?
What is the worst thing that has ever happened to you?
Are there issues that you find you are still angry about years later?
If your childhood self was to write you a letter what would it say?
What could be preventing you from healing?
What has been the worst relationship in your life?
Write a letter to yourself to talk about your worst trauma?
What is the biggest lie you tell yourself every day?
Discuss a time when you felt anxious or out of control.
What is the biggest challenge you face in your life?
If you were to work on a problem emotion what would it be?
What is the main negative energy you feel?
Have you ever gone out of your way to hurt someone physically or emotionally?
What are you most in denial of?
What vices should you set yourself free from?
What is the biggest obstacle preventing you from growth?
What thoughts from your childhood make you feel the saddest?
What do you hate about other people around you?
Name a time you felt so angry you felt you would explode?
Who is the one person you would never forgive for what they have done to you?
If there were no consequences what is the worst thing you would do?
What traits do you have that are deliberately damaging your health?
If you could say anything to your parents no matter how devastating what would it be?
If you feel you are lacking in self-love what are telling yourself?
What is your biggest fear right now?
What would give you greater self-awareness and clarity?
What are you running away from?
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