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13 Best Journals For Mental Health- And How To Choose

Are you looking for the best journals for mental health? Please keep reading for our top 13 recommendations and how to choose one that best fits your needs.

best journals for mental health

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Journaling is a great way to understand your thoughts and emotions. It allows you to understand your behavioral patterns, helps reduce stress and anxiety, increases self-reflection, fosters positive thinking and healthy emotion regulation, and enhances problem-solving skills.

Whether you like to write freely, prefer using prompts or wondering what to write in a journal for mental health, finding a journal and a method that works best for you is essential to make journaling a regular habit. There are so many resources available that can help you with starting your journaling practice. Talk to your therapist or explore different strategies on your own. In this post, I am sharing the 13 best journals for mental health that you can choose from to get started.

What Is Journaling And Why Should You Bother?

Journaling is writing about your experiences and reflecting on your thoughts, emotions, and behaviors, helping you understand yourself better. Journaling does not have to be limited to a notebook but can rather take many forms, from gratitude entries to mood tracking and self-discovery. Keeping a journal for mental health is an individual process. 

Numerous studies have shown the benefits of keeping a regular practice of journaling. It is a therapeutic activity to help you work through challenging emotions and experiences. When you reflect on your thoughts and emotions, you create space between them to make sense of your emotional experiences. 

Regularly engaging in a journaling practice can help you understand your patterns, emotional states, and behaviors that may be problematic for you. This reflection allows you to engage in self-reflection and self-growth.

Finally, continually journaling helps you document your life. When you revisit your entries, you are able to reflect on your self-growth and remind yourself of how far you have come. It truly is a valuable tool that helps foster your mental and emotional well-being.

How To Start A Journaling Practice

6 Steps to Start a Journaling Practice

Journaling is one of the most effective acts of self-care. Fortunately, it is also one of the cheapest way of engaging in self-care. There are so many ways to journal for mental health and the first step is figuring out how to start a journaling practice. 

Journaling for mental health is a powerful way to cultivate self-awareness, process emotional experiences, and track growth. Here are 6 steps to help you get started:

1. Choosing formats

It is easier to engage in regular journaling practice when you choose mental health journals that are the most engaging and accessible for you. For example, if you enjoy digital journaling, looking at different journaling apps for mental health might be easier. 

I like to go back and forth between a plain notebook and a guided journal. Depending on my emotional experience, I have found that when I have an emotional experience, I benefit from guided prompts to help me reflect on my emotions otherwise, I like having the option of writing whatever comes to mind or focusing on my goals- a plain notebook is enough.

2. Schedule journaling into your routine

The best way to journal for mental health includes being intentional with journaling. Scheduling it into your daily or weekly routine will ensure you make it happen. Look at your day or week and see where to make 15-30 minutes available. 

If you are a beginner at journaling, it may be helpful to start small and build your habit over time. Also, try to avoid busy days and be realistic about your available time.

3. Choose a focus 

Often times people give up on journaling because it can become an overwhelming process. It can confusing to think about what you need to write about. Having a focus area can help eliminate some of those challenges. Choose a topic you want to focus on- gratitude, finances, emotions, relationships, etc. 

You don’t want your journaling practice to become a ruminative experience- the idea is to take a step back and reflect on your emotional experiences allowing you to explore different solutions to your problem, decrease emotional reactivity, and see the needs of everyone involved.

4. Just write 

When you first start journaling, you may notice yourself focused on grammar, spelling, or getting it right. The journaling experience is for YOU- just let your thoughts flow and write whatever comes to mind about the chosen focus topic. 

There is freedom in this experience which can again be overwhelming for some people. If you are worried about someone else reading your entries, think about where you can put your journal or how you can lock your digital app.

You want this practice to be a reflection space for you, so start with guided journal prompts for mental health and take a non-judgemental stance toward your experiences.

5. Don’t forget to reflect on your writing

The main theme behind journaling is self-reflection. Finding any patterns or insights you overlooked is important. This overlooked information will allow you to set goals or make value-based decisions in your best interest. 

6. Don’t give up 

Remember that journaling is a practice, and like any other habit, it takes time and patience to build. If you are a perfectionist or have tendencies, remember that you can hit the reset button anytime. Don't be too hard on yourself if you miss a day or two- just pick up where you left off and keep going.

Again, if you find this challenging, starting journaling every other week or every week before you incorporate daily journaling into your routine may be helpful. Find what works best for YOU.

Read '4 Journaling Techniques to Support Your Mental Health' on one of my favorite and best magazines for mental health 'Happiful' 

13 Best Journals For Mental Health

1. Let That Sh*t Go

Best Journals for Mental Health

Let That Sh*t Go is a self-help book by Monica Sweeney that focuses on living a happy life by letting go of negative thoughts, emotions, and behaviors that may hold them back. 

The book covers different areas where letting go is beneficial, including letting go of worry, anxiety, expectations, past, and control with the help of mindfulness, self-care, and gratitude. I really appreciate the practical advice and exercises for each chapter that help readers understand how to let go of their negative thoughts and emotions. 

Letting go is much harder than said, and the author gives her struggles and how she overcame them. This is a must-read for anyone that wants to let go of their negative thoughts and emotions.

2. Worry for Nothing

Best Journals for Mental Health

52-Week Mental Healthy Journal by Cynthia Catchings is one of my favorite self-help journals to help your mental health and well-being. 

It is divided into 52 weeks, each covering a different mental health topic, like self-care, mindfulness, self-compassion, and building relationships. This is another good journals for mental health.

3. 52-Week Mental Health Journal

Best Journals for Mental Health

52-Week Mental Healthy Journal by Cynthia Catchings is one of my favorite self-help journals to help your mental health and well-being. It is divided into 52 weeks, each covering a different mental health topic, like self-care, mindfulness, self-compassion, and building relationships.

The journal includes how-tos and coping skills like breathing exercises, improving sleep quality, and meditation techniques with the underlying theme of self-acceptance and self-awareness to achieve overall well-being.

This is one of the best guided journals for mental health and can be helpful for anyone looking to reflect on their thoughts, emotions, and behaviors to cultivate self-awareness by building healthy habits and coping skills.

4. The 6-Minute Diary

Best Journals for Mental Health

The morning pages help you set the intention for your day, and the night pages will help you reflect on your day and what you could have done differently or highlight what went well. The journal also includes weekly and monthly reflection pages to set and track your goals.

Finally, the two things I love about this journal are that it has no dates and includes motivational quotes that keep you going. There is no pressure to journal daily. You can use it any time of the year.

Overall, this is an excellent option for anyone new to journaling.

5. Daily Positivity Journal For Happiness, Wellness, Mindfulness & Self Care

Best Journals for Mental Health

The best journal ever is a guided journal to help you foster a positive mindset, engage in self-care activities, and practice mindfulness. Plan on using this journal daily, with each page offering various writing prompts or activities, such as affirmations, self-reflection prompts, mindfulness, and goal setting.

This is a great option for anyone learning to focus on the present moment and becoming aware of their thoughts and emotions. My favorite parts of this journal are the daily challenges to help with your self-care journey and the motivational quotes. This journal is a great start if you want to develop a regular self-care practice.

6. 5 Minute Gratitude Journal 

Best Guided Journals for Depression

The Five Minute Journal is one of my go-to journals for cultivating a positive mindset. It provides the best journal prompts for mental health. The main elements of the journal include the morning routine, nightly reflection, and motivational quotes that help you focus on the good things.

The morning routine focuses on writing down 3 things you are grateful for, what would make your day great, and your daily affirmation. The nightly reflection reflects on the highlights of your day and what you learned.

Overall, this is a great option for anyone looking to reframe their mindset by making a daily habit of journaling on gratitude and reflection. One of the best journals for mental health 2021 AND best journal for mental health app.

7. No Worries

Best Guided Journals for Anxiety

No Worries is another highly-rated journal by author and therapist Dr. Aubrey Marcus. It is a 12-week anxiety journal that includes daily journaling pages, weekly and monthly check-ins, self-care ideas, and mindfulness tips.

The journal has three sections: 1) Calming anxiety, 2) Relieving stress, and 3) Practicing Positive Thinking that will help you reflect on your emotions, identify triggers, and develop healthy coping skills.

A dear friend gifted me this journal, and I used it to track my habits and progress. It helped me focus on my self-care and personal growth. My favorite part of this journal is the therapy reflections and how easy it is to follow along. Overall, this is a great journal for anyone looking to cope with their anxiety.

This truly is one of the best journals for mental health 2022.  

8. The 5-Minute Gratitude Journal

Best Guided Journals 2023

The 5 Minute Gratitude Journal by Sophia Godkin is a self-help journal that provides simple ways to practice daily gratitude by reflecting on the positive things in your life. 

The journal is divided into three sections- Morning Reflections, Daily Gratitude, and Nightly Reflections making it another best guided journals for adults.

  1. The Morning reflection will encourage you to start your day with a positive mindset. 
  2. The Nightly Reflections will enable you to end your day by reflecting on the good moment of your day and, finally, 
  3. Daily gratitude prompts you to identify and appreciate the positive things in your life. 

The central theme of the journal is cultivating gratitude, and the best part is that it only takes 5 minutes of your day. So this is a great journal option for developing a more grateful mindset and is a journal with prompts for adults.

9. Find Your F*cking Happy

Best Journals for Mental Health

Find Your F*cking Happy is another one of my favorite journals by Monica Sweeny. She provides journal prompts to help you develop self-awareness by dividing the journal into four sections: Discovering Happiness, Creating Happiness, Living Happiness, and Sharing Happiness.

You will get to reflect on your state of mind and the areas of your life you want to improve. Following that, you create goals, develop positive habits, and incorporate self-care practices into your daily routine. Finally, the fourth section looks at ways to spread Happiness to others.

Overall, this journal is excellent for anyone who wants to improve their mental health and well-being- taking ownership of their Happiness.

10. Soul Therapy

Best Guided Journals for Self-Discovery

Soul Therapy is a year-long guided journal for self discovery. The journal provides daily prompts and affirmations that you can utilize to connect with yourself and get a deeper understanding of your emotional experiences.

The journal consists of 12 sections that include 30 days of prompts that allow you to explore your thoughts and emotions. My favorite part about this journal is the encouragement to take time for yourself and cultivate self-compassion. I also love how easy it is to stay on track and remain consistent.

This is an excellent journal for anyone looking to engage in a journey of self-exploration and healing. It is one of the best guided journals for self-discovery.

11. Burn After Writing

Best Journals for Mental Health

Burn After Writing is a self-reflection journal that Sharon Jones created. It helps readers face their fears and deepest secrets by being honest with themselves. The journal is divided into 3 sections: the beginning, middle, and end. Each section has intriguing prompts like “Reflect on a time when you truly felt happy.”

The best part about this journal is that once you complete it, you burn it to let go and start fresh. It is one of the best diaries for mental health. It is a great option for anyone looking for ways to understand themselves better and seeking self-growth by going to the deepest parts of themselves.

12. 2023 Mood Tracker Planner

Best Journals for Mental Health

The 2023 Mood Tracker Planner is great for understanding your emotional patterns and fostering healthier mindsets. When you track your mood and daily tasks, you will find a pattern with your emotions, which can help make positive changes in your life. 

The planner includes sections for goal setting, monthly mood trackers, reflection prompts, and habit tracking that will help readers stay on track. This journal will help you manage your emotions more productively and unlock a happier YOU!

13. Self-Love Workbook for Women

Best Journals for Mental Health

I LOVE this Self-Love Workbook for Women by Megan Logan. I realize this isn’t technically a journal, but the workbook can be extremely helpful for readers to cultivate self-love and self-acceptance. I frequently use this workbook with my clients and find it beneficial to go through the prompts with them.

The author designed this workbook to help people identify and release their self-doubt by learning to extend self-compassion and accept their true selves. The workbook has 3 sections that focus on self-love. The first section focuses on identifying and challenging your self-faulty beliefs to develop a positive self-image. The second section will help you build self-compassion by practicing self-care and self-acceptance.

Finally, the last section focuses on embracing your true self by identifying values and goals and living a life that is the most authentic to you. This workbook will benefit anyone interested in learning more about self-acceptance and love.

Mental Health Journals: Things To Consider

1. Consider your budget:  

It is important to consider your budget when buying a journal. Choose one that fits your price range and needs. Be intentional with your purchase by considering all the factors that will help you meet your needs and inspire you. 

2. Size and binding:

There are many different journal sizes and formats. You can find small pocket-sized to digital versions and spiral bound or stitched. Think about how you would like to use your journal and what size and durable binding is most effective. 

I like to carry my journal, so I have a smaller book that fits my purse. This way, if something comes up, I simply have to pull out my journal and make a note of it, making sure I don’t forget any important details. I also like my journal to have spiral binding as it allows me to turn the pages freely without the need to hold them open manually.

3. Paper quality:

This isn’t super important, but it is something to consider in terms of paper thickness and texture if you use different colored pens. 

Some guided journal for anxiety and depression are pretty colorful and need darker ink.

4. Page layout & purpose:

The page layout for all journals with be different. Some may include blank pages, while others may have lines. Think about your writing preferences and what layout you would benefit from the most.

Also, having your purpose in mind- will you be journaling daily? Do you need a travel journal, a guided journal pdf, or a creative space? Decide what areas of your life you want to work on and choose a journal accordingly. 

Let's Recap....

When caring for your mental health, the right tool can make all the difference. I hope you find one of these top 13 journals for mental health that we have explored as a valuable tool for your personal growth. Since each journal offers unique approaches, pick a journal that resonates most with you when reviewing the list of the best journals for mental health.

Remember, there is no one-size-fits-all approach to mental health, and there is no 'perfect' way of journaling, so pick up a journal, set some time aside, and get started on your journey of self-growth. I hope you find a journal that supports you every step of the way.

What's your favorite journal for mental health?

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