Shadow Work 101 With Shadow Work Prompts for Healing and Growth

What the heck is shadow work?

It's a huge buzzword now in the spiritual and healing community so I want to give you some shadow work journal prompts in order to start to peel back layers and get to your truest authentic self and with more self-acceptance.

Even though Shadow Work has been around since Carl Jung, back in 1912 when he coined this term in his book, The Psychology of the Unconscious.

And Carl Jung is our guy.

He's a Swiss psychoanalyst who talks about the shadow self along with past trauma, yet this term is still something that's so mysterious.

Jung believed that in order to shift our subconscious beliefs we have to "make the darkness conscious."

But how do we even do that?

Well, I am so excited to dive into some powerful tools today and break down what shadow work is and even give you journaling prompts to start to ponder your own shadow side.



The Shadow Self

So for the first big chunk of my life, I felt like I was living with blinders on trying to fit into all of the societal norms.

I was going through the motions of life without really being aware of my thoughts, my actions, my patterns.

I was deeply miserable and I didn't understand why.

I was superficially doing everything the self help books told me to do.

I was reading so many self help books. I was meditating.

I was doing yoga. I was journaling.

I packed my schedule with things that I thought would bring me joy.

But for some reason, my inner self was still miserable.

At that point, it felt like I was just adding more and  more and more paint to an already painted canvas, or adding more and more clothes to an outfit without stripping down and taking the other items off.

I needed to either white out the canvas and start over, or strip me down nude, so I could  have a fresh, new, kickin' bangin outfit.

But sometimes we're just putting more stuff on a not steady foundation, so we have to clear everything out and rebuild the foundation and start to build from there.

That's what we're gonna do here is we're gonna go into our conditioning and clear out some of the junk so that we can start fresh and start to call in what it is we really truly want.

Finding Self Awareness

Going to Bali was this for me.

Oftentimes people are like, okay, but Bali is a smoke and mirrors.

"Of course you're going to be happy and healed in paradise"

Yet, making the decision to quit my job, pack up my things and book a one-way ticket across the world was the first time that I had finally listened to what I wanted, instead of everyone else telling me what I should do and what path I should take.

Now, leaving your hometown doesn't mean that all of your problems are just, poof, magically solved.

In fact, I think they become amplified.


Because now your conditioning, your trauma, and your thought patterns, they can't hide and disguise themselves in the everyday norm of your habits that you're doing.

You now are plopped into a new world where you have to face your triggers and your patterns head on.

You're out of your old web.

So your conditioning starts to stick out like a needle in a haystack.

And I always, always say, wherever you go, there you are.

That's why it's so important to face yourself.

You are in your mind.


So it's really important to understand what the  thought patterns are so that you can shift and change them to actually align with who you want to be and where you want to go.  

But you always have options.  

You can confront yourself and take off the blinders or you can double on down and commit to your old conditioning and push it down real good and hold on tight to those blinders.

The choice is up to you and both are hard and easy in their own ways.

Being in Bali was incredibly healing and helpful but also incredibly jarring and confronting.

It brought to the surface how much anxiety and how much looping thought patterns I really truly had and how they were controlling my life and highlighted where I could use way more self love  instead of desperately seeking external validation.  

Now cue the shadow work.

Using Shadow Work Prompts for Healing & Self-Discovery

So because Bali stripped me bare and it gave me the time and space to look at myself through a new lens, was like this bird's eye view perspective,  I was able to objectively see the patterns going on in my life.  

I saw where I was playing small, keeping myself stuck, staying in low self-esteem and replaying the same old stories in my work, in my relationships, and in my ability to bring in financial abundance.

So that begs the question, I still haven't answered it yet, what the heck is shadow work? Well, great question.

In order to understand shadow work, let's talk about what we are used to, light work.

Light work is illuminating the lightness around us.

It's complimenting ourselves.

It's highlighting what we're good at, what our strengths are, where we are succeeding.

A lot of mentors and teachers talk about this.  

That you simply need to keep going and have patience on your path in order to get what you want, put in the work, you got this, you go, woo!

That's all well and good.

However, if you have a lot of shadows of conditioning that you don't believe you're good enough, or you have a lot of different thoughts on money that's holding you back.

You have all these hurdles that are keeping you stuck.

Just consistently putting in the work and going for it, you're going to self sabotage and not actually get there.

Now, shadow work is shining light on the dark parts of us.

Our patterns that keep us looping.

Our fears.

Our anxiety.

Our subconscious thoughts that are underneath the surface.  

There is so much going on in our brains at all times.

We're constantly processing so much information at any given moment. In fact, according to data scientist Pragwa Agarwal, our minds are processing 11 million bits per second.

Holy moly, that's a lot.

Yet our conscious mind, we cannot be processing 11 million things consciously, but we're able to process about 40 to 50 bits per second.

So that's a huge gap.

That means there's so much going on that we are not consciously aware of, which makes sense.

Think about it this way.

There's so much going on around us.

What we're wearing, the colors around us,  our skin, the smells in the air, the energy people around us are giving off, the energy we're giving off, how we're feeling inside, the conversations near us, background noise.

All of the things.

So much.

Our brains are scanning always to understand the bigger picture of what's going on around us and scanning to see how we should feel if we're in a fearful or dangerous situation or if we can relax and be joyous.

There's so much happening.

We are only consciously aware of like 5 percent of what's happening in our brains.

The other 95% is subconscious.

Now, shadow work and the subconscious go hand in hand.

The best way I personally can describe the subconscious and the unconscious mind is that it's all of our beliefs that we've picked up from around us, from growing up, from our society, from our family, our environments, our parents, our living situation.

I want you to think about money.

You may be consciously aware that you want to make six or seven figures a year, or a month, who knows, wherever you're at.

However, subconsciously, you may have a belief that making six or seven figures would be greedy, since your family lived paycheck to paycheck while you were growing up, and you heard your parents always saying that you had what you needed and you didn't need anymore.

So you may have subconsciously been holding yourself back, keeping yourself stuck at what feels comfortable, maybe 40 to 80 grand a year, because making any more than that would be on a deeper subconscious level.

You would feel greedy and you would feel shameful for having more money.

But you're not necessarily conscious that you would feel greedy.

You just feel that on a deeper subconscious level.

Because consciously you're like, why aren't I making more money?

Of course I would want to make a hundred grand, a million, whatever it is, a year.

But subconsciously, do you feel worthy enough to make that much money?

Do you feel like it's going to be really hard and you need to put in so many hours to make that money?

So, you may be sitting and meditating and praying to the universe, Please, universe, I'd love to make a hundred thousand dollars or a million dollars or however much money a year.

But until you address your shadows and your subconscious beliefs to get to the root cause of what is holding you back, your money needle will hold steady around where you feel comfortable.

Think about love.

You may want to call in a loving, compassionate, healthy relationship, but then on the subconscious level, you've always felt not good enough and you need to prove yourself in order to get love.

So you keep attracting in people who give you a tiny bit of love and then pull away.  

I might be talking about myself here, but maybe this resonates with you, or maybe it's just a little bit different.

Maybe you're the one who's running away because you don't want the commitment, right?

It really differs for everyone's situation, but what stays the same is that, of course, until we address the part of us that is keeping us stuck, that feels unworthy, that's afraid of commitment, we're going to self-sabotage any relationship that actually feels loving and healthy.

And that could be on a subconscious level.  

Shadow work helps bring to light what's going on underneath the surface so we can understand what our thought patterns are so that we can shift and change them to magnetize what it is that we truly want.

So then you might be thinking, okay, Nicole, that's all well and good, but how the heck am I actually going to shift and change to magnetize my dream goals and life?

Let's help you explore in this safe space the shadow aspects that psychologist Carl Jung talked about.

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Shadow Work Prompts for Beginners

Shadow Work 101 to get you started on noticing the areas of your life where your shadow self is keeping you stuck.

We have to understand the subconscious mind in order to enhance our personal growth and increase our self-love.

We have to understand that we have subconscious patterns, thoughts and coping mechanisms that we're operating from that have been repressed since we were children.

Not just our conscious mind and thoughts.

There's so much going on underneath the surface.

We already talked about this.

So that's the first step.

It's just understanding that there's a lot going on there.

And once you understand that, then you can start to pick a little magnifying glass and dive in and see, ooh, what is underneath the surface.

There you can begin to dive into these shadowy thoughts with a curious mind instead of a judgmental mind.

We're not going in and being like, "Oh, why do we do the things we do?"

It's like, okay, why, what's coming up?

What happened for us that we're acting in this way?

And we're giving ourselves love and compassion without judgment or shame because that's just going to.

Make this loop and cycle a little bit worse.

We want to come in lovingly.

Now the golden rule here is that in order to change the subconscious shadowy thoughts we have to shine light on them.

How do we actually uncover what's underneath there in a healthy way?

Well, let's give you some prompts to get started on your shadow work journey.

These prompts are designed to uncover hidden aspects and repressed emotions that have been keeping us stuck in our patterns.

First things first, I want you to set the scene.

In order for the shadow to come up, we need to feel safe.

So I want you to calm the mind and body, find a nice comfortable position, and then you'll breathe in through the nose, filling the belly with air and set an intention to witness with curiosity instead of daggers.

Take a few deep breaths and allow whatever thoughts and emotions to come up.

Sometimes we chase ourselves down holding daggers to kill off these shadowy parts of ourselves, but how can we put the daggers down and simply hold flashlights.

Good shadow work isn't trying to kill the old parts of ourselves.

We're simply trying to get to know these parts so that they feel safe enough to transmute.

So to know what subconscious beliefs you hold, let's ask some questions to ourselves to allow the subconscious thoughts to appear.

One of my favorite activities that you can do, is what I call a brain dump.

You can let the subconscious flow by simply setting a timer and writing down these prompts to get you started.

Then, allow yourself to write stream of consciousness style.

Write whatever comes to mind instead of trying to curate the perfect sentence or whatever.

You're literally just letting the words flow.

Shadow Work Journal Prompts

So the first question for shadow work journaling is:

"What is your current goal in your love life, in your work life, in your business, in your finances, in your personal development?"

Think about what your goals are.

Then once you have a goal in mind, you're going to ask yourself:

"What is the advantage of reaching this goal?"

Now the advantage might be, Okay, yeah, I have a partner to do things with.

Or, now I'm making more money and I don't have to worry and I don't have to stress.

Or whatever it is.  

But then I want you to ask yourself:

"What is the disadvantage of reaching this goal?"

So if you do get a lot more money, maybe you'll feel overwhelmed, maybe you'll feel like people won't treat you the same.

If you do get a partner, maybe you'll feel stuck, like you don't have the freedom to do whatever it is that you really want.

We're really trying to see what the disadvantage is.

Let that shadowy part show of what's maybe subconsciously blocking us from getting what we want.

Then I want you to think of your current life situation.

What are you currently attracting into your life?  

Whether that be in your job, in your relationships, what's coming into your life?  

Then I want you to ask yourself:

"Why do you think you're attracting these things?" 

And if they're great things, what are you doing that's attracting in these great things?

If they're not so great things?

Why are these things coming up?

What lessons are here for you to learn with these situations?

Now, instead of what you're currently attracting, I want you to think of:

"What do you want to be attracting in your life?"

Maybe it is that partner, maybe it is just ease and flow, maybe it is just things working out for you, you're feeling excited, you're feeling happy.

"What kind of energy and person do you have to step into in order to attract this into your life?"

Now, if you really want to have that partner, what energy do you need to step into to attract that person? Are you stepping into that energy or are you blocking yourself?

"What is blocking you from stepping into that energy?"

If you want to have a successful business, what kind of person do you have to show up as to have that successful business?

What kind of thoughts do you have to have?

What kind of actions are you doing?

And then, is there something blocking you from having those thoughts?

From taking those actions?

And then really being honest with yourself of what that is.

And again, there's no shame or there's no judgment.

We're just bringing all of this to the surface.

Because shadow work is all about the first step is just bringing it to light so that you can become aware of it and then take different actions moving forward.

Here it's so important to be extra kind and gentle to yourself.

And know that we're all human on this journey.

We all have shadows, we all have stuff that's coming up, and whether you see other people who you feel like are thriving and killing it, they have their own stuff too.

So not comparing and just coming back to ourselves, and this is our starting point.

How amazing that you're taking the first step to start to bring these things to light so that you can transmute them.

I want to give you a real life example of how to do this, so let me relate it to my own life.

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Shadow Work Self-Awareness

So, as I have mentioned before, a lot of my life I didn't feel good enough.

I wanted to make a certain amount of money, I wanted to call in more love, I wanted to look a certain way, and it wasn't happening.  

So time and time again, I had to sit with myself.  

And remember, this isn't a one and done practice.

This is something you can continuously be working on.

And I realized that for money, I didn't feel worthy enough to make a lot of money.

And if I did, I felt guilty or shameful that there's so many people out there who have way less than me.

So I have to barely make enough to get by in order to not be greedy.

And I had this subconscious belief that people with a lot of money are rude and inconsiderate and not compassionate, which doesn't always have to be true, but I didn't want to be inconsiderate and not compassionate.

So I was keeping myself stuck at this low amount of money because I thought that that was noble for some reason, subconsciously, consciously, I wanted to make a lot of money, but subconsciously I was like, it's noble not to make a lot of money and I have to work hard and I'm going to work hard for my paycheck to paycheck.

So, when I first started my business, I wasn't fully confident in what I was providing, that I was subconsciously pushing clients away.

And so we all have these certain limiting beliefs and mindset blocks, and shadow work is just shining light. on what they are and where we're holding ourselves back.

And it's not to beat ourselves up over it.

It's to bring it to light so that we can be like, huh, okay, I realize that that's what I'm doing.

So I'm going to shift.

I'm going to think differently and act differently in order to transmute that and actually call in.

What it is that I'm really truly wanting.

If you're wanting more help to dive into your shadows to transmute them and magnetize your dream life and your dream goals, take a look at my Freedom Fast Track Membership and my VIP Freedom Fast Track Accelerator.

In these programs, we rewire the brain and we're also learning different mindfulness techniques in order to transmute our shadows and actually really fully call in what it is we want.

So many times we're working towards our dream goals and we're like, why isn't it happening?

Why isn't it happening?

When you do shadow work, it will most definitely help set you on the path to where you want to go.

So if you've been working towards your goals for a long time and you're like, why am I still stuck?

Let's work on it together in my Freedom Fast Track membership or if you want a one on one VIP approach, I have some spots available there.

Take a look at both or shoot me a message and connect.

We can even hop on a call and see what will be best for you.

I'd love to connect with you.  

So, now that we talked a little tiny bit about the brain, I want to really understand what's going on up in this noggin of ours.

So, let's talk about two key players in our brains that help us process our emotions and manifest what we want.

The Brain's Key Players in Shadow Work

All right, we're gonna give the spotlight to two brain regions that play pivotal roles in our everyday functioning.

In one corner, standing tall, we've got the anterior cingulate cortex, the  ACC.

In the other box, this is the prefrontal cortex, the PFC.

First up in the spotlight is the anterior cingulate cortex, or as I like to call it, the brain's multitasker extraordinaire.  

So this is situated right in the frontal part of our brain and the ACC is like our brain's air traffic controller.

It's overseeing our attention.

It's detecting errors. It's managing conflicting information and it's also a key player in emotional regulation helping you navigate life's ups and downs because we all know life can be a big ol' roller coaster.

And we're strapping in for it and the ACC is helping with that.

Our second key player - The prefrontal cortex, of course, is the CEO of our brain.

It's nestled right behind our forehead and the PFC prefrontal cortex is where all the magic, all the magic happens when it comes to decision making, planning, and self-control.

And so you can think of it as the brain's command center, orchestrating complex cognitive tasks and helping you stay focused on your goals.

These brain regions don't work in isolation, they're constantly communicating and collaborating with each other to keep you on track and in balance.

So when your ACC detects a little hiccup, a little error, your PFC swoops in to help you course correct and stay on target.

So why are we talking about these brain regions?

Well, there's a lot of processes that these brain regions are doing.

They're constantly communicating with each other and they're constantly picking up on external cues, on energies from other people, on what people are saying, what society's saying, and we're picking up on these subconscious beliefs and then we're holding them as our own.

So you might be acting in accordance to some of these subconscious things that our PFC are picking up on.

And so I just want to bring these to light so that you know what's going on behind the scenes is that the prefrontal cortex and the anterior cingulate cortex are both playing a major role in consciously being aware and then also taking all of these subconscious cues and letting them manifest in our subconscious body to play out certain actions and behaviors.

So when we're conscious of that, then we can shift and change. 

Shadow Work Exercises for Personal Development

So what can you do besides these journal prompts in order to start making real change in your life?

Let's talk about it in our next segment called Brain Hack of the Day.

So, our brain hack of the day, of course we want to brain dump and stream of consciousness write out the answers to some of these journal prompts that I gave you in the Transformation Tactics.  

But it's also important to take the witness perspective.

Now, in order to really see your shadow self, we have to look from a bird's eye view.

So how do we do this?

We start to witness ourselves.

You can duplicate yourself.

And just watch you go through your life.

Imagine that you're a witness behind the glass, almost as if you're just looking in and seeing yourself go through the motions of your life, and you get to start to see what are your thought patterns.

What are your behaviors?

What are your actions?

What are you doing?

Just from this outside point of view.

And that'll help give you some insight of, Whoa, okay, I'm holding myself back there.

Or, wow, that's an interesting thought that I'm thinking.

You can witness old thought patterns and behaviors that you didn't even know were there.

The witness perspective is really interesting, and you can even try it on right now.

Get Support on your Healing Journey  

If you need help with the witness perspective, I give some really cool tips and tricks in my free Mindset Magnet workshop.

This will really help you tap into this perspective to see what's underneath the surface.

There's no harm, no foul.  

And it'll be another step towards your dream goals and life.

So I'm happy to give you that free resource.

Now we've talked about so much today, so let's wrap it up and lsummarize in our fulfillment fast track.

Benefits of Shadow Work

Shadow Work 101 is digging into the hidden parts of ourselves that are influencing our behaviors without us even really truly realizing it.

That's ultimately what shadow work is.

And how we dive in, it's with this flashlight.

We're putting the daggers down and we're shining light on these shadowy parts with a curious mind instead of a judgmental mind. so why does shadow work matter?

It's because if you've been going after something and just shining light on, yes, I can do it.


I'm amazing. I have all these strengths.

I got to just go after it.

You might also be self sabotaging if you're not aware of some of these shadowy parts that are hindering you from getting towards your goal.

So if you've been wanting certain things in your life and you're like, why aren't they coming to fruition?

It might be because you have these shadowy parts that we need to shine light on in order to transmute them and really move forward.

We also talked about the brain's role with our anterior cingulate cortex and the prefrontal cortex and how they're constantly picking up cues and information and we're consciously thinking of it and we're also subconsciously storing lots of these cues too.

We also talked about our journal prompts and our witness perspective as tools to help you shine light on our shadows in order to move through them and live a more conscious life and have more awareness of our emotional reactions.

So getting into that witness perspective and doing these journal prompts will help you make real lasting change starting today.

And again, if you're wanting more help, definitely take a look at my Freedom Fast Track membership, my VIP Freedom Fast Track Accelerator, or take a look at my Mindset Magnet freebie, that workshop that will help you start to get into the witness perspective to start to transmute some of these shadows that you.

All the Love & Self-Compassion

Thank you so much for joining me on Radically Rewired today.

To continue this beautiful journey of self exploration with me, hit that subscribe button and sign up for my newsletter to get brain hacking tips and next episode alerts right to your email inbox.

If you've enjoyed this blog post, I would be so, so, so appreciative if you could share it with a friend because that will help others start to transmute their shadows and continue on their most aligned path.

And as always, every blog post is a step towards getting off autopilot and soaring towards your dreams, so I'm so grateful that you're here taking another step towards a life that feels deeply fulfilling.

I can't wait to see you in the next blog, and let's continue on this transformative journey together, my friends.

Until next time, keep rewiring, keep thriving, and keep shining.

Much love.



Hi! I'm Nicole. A brain hacking mentor on a mission to help you optimize your mindset to achieve your goals and live a fulfilling and joyous life.

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