Journal Prompts for Focusing Inward vs. Focusing Outward

You always have the ability to focus outward or focus inward. Focusing outward means paying attention to what’s happening around you. Focusing inward means paying attention to what’s happening inside you: your breath, your feelings, and your thoughts. Most people are good at focusing their attention outward – on their friends, on their phone, or on what people around them are doing. Focusing outward can keep us safe and help us read social cues. It is equally important to be able to focus inward. If you don’t, you might not notice your thoughts or feelings until they get really strong and start to affect your behavior. Another thing, we tend to hold onto negative comments from others much more strongly than positive ones. If we’re not careful, negative comments can affect us for weeks, months, or even years!


  • Do you spend more time focusing outward on what’s going on around you, or focused inward on yourself?
  • Write about some of the people in your life. Think of the people you spend the most time with and reflect on how they impact your life. How do you feel about yourself after spending time with them? In what ways do they affect your thoughts and behaviors?
  • While trying to ignore outward definitions, what do the words success, happiness, love, courage, and harmony mean to you?