Journaling is a beneficial way to check in with your health, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and guided journals that include prompts can make the process even easier.
For some, writing about their thoughts and feelings can even be viewed as a form of healing from trauma (although journaling shouldn't replace seeking professional help).
In a December 2018 study in JMIR Mental Health, 70 adults with symptoms of anxiety used an online, guided journal to express their emotions for 12 weeks. Researchers found that the exercise "decreased mental distress and increased wellbeing" for participants.
Guided journals can be more useful for you than open-ended journals because they:
- Provide structure
- Ask prompting questions
- Reduce stress and anxiety levels around deciding what to write
- Give you a head start if you're short on time by presenting topics to write about
If you'd like to try journaling but don't know where to start, here are some of the best guided journals for healing.
1. Good Days Start With Gratitude Journal
If you enjoy sticking to a schedule, then this is the perfect journal for you. This 52-week guide inspires you to seek gratitude every day and includes a check-in to close out each week. By prompting you to write three things that you're grateful for every morning, it allows you to start each day on a positive note.
The material is both soft and durable, and it can purchased in both paperback and spiral-bound. Amazon reviews also note that the book remained in good condition even after the full year was over.
Buy it: Amazon.com; Price: $6.99 for paperback, $18.98 for spiral-bound
2. Self-Care Master Plan
This visually appealing journal allows you to come up with the best path to positive mental health on your own terms. It reminds you to tap into what makes you happy with prompts like "Things I Like to Do," encouraging you to list your favorite hobbies.
The pages are made from sturdy, stock card material and can be removed from the book if you'd like to hang up or display certain responses. Reviewers love the quality of the material and especially enjoy how easy it is to write on.
Buy it: Etsy; Price: $12
3. Let That Sh*t Go
When you're feeling down and in need of something lighthearted, this journal will surely put a smile on your face. But not only will it make you laugh, it will also ask you probing questions like "What's stopped you from taking advantage of chances in the past?" to encourage you to think about potential roadblocks and how to overcome them.
Some reviewers note that it may not be the best option for people with more serious mental health conditions, but that many others may find it useful. The journal is 128 pages and available in paperback and spiral-bound.
Buy it: Amazon.com; Price: $8.99 for paperback, $15 for spiral-bound
4. Today I Affirm
Today I Affirm was a highly anticipated release by Alexandra Elle, a popular author who often speaks about mental health and healing. With prompts that stimulate the mind — like "In what ways do I need to shift in order to step into my higher self?" — the journal encourages you to gauge your inner thoughts and emotions. Each page ends with the phrase, "Today, I affirm..." leaving space for you to write your own affirmations or personal encouragements.
Reviewers enjoy the amount of space provided after each question, as well as the soft texture of the book's front and back covers.
Buy it: Walmart.com; Price: $14.79
5. Practice You
Practice You invites you on a 160-page journey of self-care. Sometimes the path takes you to the past, with prompts about writing letters to your younger self. Other times, it asks you to acknowledge the things you love about yourself right now.
To accentuate the beautiful watercolor paintings, this journal is only available in paperback. Reviewers rave about the paper's thickness and quality, comparing each page to a canvas.
Buy it: Amazon.com; Price: $16.95
6. Becoming: A Guided Journal for Discovering Your Voice
This journal accompanies Michelle Obama's best-selling book Becoming and motivates you to reflect on your journey. Each prompt invites you to look into your past to decide who you want to become in the future. Prompts vary from "list three people who contribute to your circle of strength" to "write about a time when you spoke your truth to others."
This journal has an attached ribbon that serves as a bookmark and thick pages for you to write on. It is only available in hardcover, which makes it super durable and long-lasting for you to revisit in years to come.
Buy it: Walmart.com; Price: $9.89
7. Start Where You Are: A Journal For Exploration
Start Where You Are allows you to process your emotions through drawing, list-making, writing and more. This journal reminds you that there is no better place to start than exactly where you are right now. It not only asks you to think, it also encourages you to do things like go outside and sit in the sun.
It can be purchased in either paperback or spiral-bound and has 128 pages of content. Reviewers also recommend the journal for young teens between the ages of 15 and 17.
Buy it: Amazon.com; Price: $6.34 for paperback, $15.99 for spiral-bound
8. Q&A a Day: 5-Year Journal
Q&A a Day prompts you to answer interesting questions over the course of five years. From simple questions like "What can you smell right now?" to deeper questions like "On a scale of 1-10, how happy are you?" this lengthy journal serves as a time capsule of your thoughts.
As one of the most popular guided journals, it has plenty of great reviews. It features a whopping 368 pages and can only be bought in hardcover.
Buy it: Walmart.com; Price: $10.40