There are many different types of journal to keep and it’s so simple, you just need a pen and paper to get started with expressing your thoughts. Find your ideal type of journal and start journaling today.

Posted March 3, 2019 Mental Well-being, Personal Growth, Self-Care

Journal your Thoughts: 11 Types of Journals

Taking a break from the stress of day-to-day life is always good for your mental health and keeping a journal allows you to pause, take stock of the day and be creative. 

The act of writing down your thoughts can be extremely therapeutic and bring clarity to situations.  It can also be helpful to pinpoint any triggers that may cause anxiety if your focus is to write about your thoughts and feelings.

There are no set rules to how you journal, you don’t need to write for a long length of time or start at the beginning of the year. If you think you might forget, you could use a habit tracker as a daily reminder or if you decide to journal less frequently – maybe weekly then treat journaling like you would do any appointment and mark it in your calendar

Find journal prompts to help you get started HERE.

Materials Needed

You don’t need anything fancy to start a journal. For a basic handwritten journal, all you need is a pen and paper to get you started. Traditionally, notebooks are used for journals but you could even go digital and type out your thoughts. 

I combine journal writing with my planning and use an A5 leather binder. If you’re going to use a binder you should look out for ones with a pen holder and either a metal clasp  or elastic band so it’s more secure.

I find this gives me plenty of flexibility as I can add and remove different sections whenever I want. I also prefer to fill out pre-prepared structured pages as it’s not as time consuming as hand designing pages. 

Different Types of Journals

The following is a list of journal topics that you may want to consider focusing on.

I’m in the process of working on creating printable pages for each section for those, who like myself, prefer a printable to fill out. If you’re interested in this you can join the mailing list using the form at the end of this post and you’ll be notified when they are ready.

1. Bullet Journal

A bullet journal, which is sometimes referred to as a bujo, is a system devised by Ryder Carroll, a New York Times best-selling author and digital product designer. A bullet journal is meant “to help you track the past, organize the present, and plan for the future”.

This type of journal can be used to record and keep track of any area of your life and is ideal for creatives, those who are very visual and love lists.

To learn more, visit Bullet Journal, which explains in detail how to set up and use a bullet journal.

Journal writing is a voyage to the interior. - Christina Baldwin, author #journaling #journal #write Click To Tweet

2. Daily Life Journal

This type of journal is like a traditional diary and is used to record your day-to-day activities. If a daily journal seems like it could be a bit tough to manage, you could just concentrate on important events such as:

  • Holiday Seasons
  • Starting College
  • New Job
  • A Wedding
  • Home-buying Process
  • Pregnancy

All of these events can be stressful periods and it can be helpful to process your thoughts in the privacy of a journal and record important information.  

3. Gratitude Journal

There are lots of different types of journal to choose from. If you're not sure which one is right for you. Use this chart to help you decide.
Download the chart below.

I believe expressing gratitude is an important healthy part of life. No matter what your circumstances there is always a place to be grateful for something. Whilst going through chemotherapy last year and in many other situations I had to remind myself that things could be worst and to look around at the things I had in my life and not to focus on the bad things. I truly believe that practicing gratitude helps bring happiness into your life. 

Look around at the people in your life, your surroundings and start writing about why they are important to you.

4. Personal Growth Journal

If you want to focus on your personal growth, keeping a journal is a good way to start your journey. You can use a journal to:

  • reflect on your past
    To move forward, it’s important to acknowledge the past, and reflect on past mistakes and any pain that you’ve had to deal with. Have you been repeating certain types of behaviour? Could you have dealt with problems differently? Is there someone who is a negative influence? 

Answering these questions can help you recognise areas of your life that could be improved.

  • celebrate and acknowledge your triumphs
    Don’t just focus on bad events, reflect on happy experiences too. Write about your achievements big and small, paying special attention to anything you have managed to overcome. It’s sometimes easy to forget how much we have accomplished in life. This can be a handy document which you can use to immediately boost your self-esteem when you’re feeling down. 

5. Gardening Journal

A beautiful looking, well maintained garden doesn’t happen overnight. It takes planning and lots of knowledge, all of which can be kept in a gardening journal. This type of journal is good for beginners or advanced gardeners.

If you’re starting your garden from scratch, plan it using your journal. Keep sketches of where and what you want to plant and other important information.  

Once your garden has been planted, you will need to ensure it is maintained. Every season will call for different tasks to be performed. Keeping a gardening journal will help make what could be a difficult job easier. 

6. Fitness Journal

Whether you have goals of running a marathon or just want to get fit, a fitness journal can help you with your quest. Keep track of workout plans, your weight loss or gains and make a note of any fitness tips you might pick up.

7. Creative Writing Journal

Do you have aspirations to become a writer? If so, a creative writing journal is ideal for you. Keep this journal with you at all times and use it to jot down anything that inspires you. Keep draft stories, poems or lyrics all in one place. 

8. Food Journal

There are many ways you can use a food journal. Maybe you want to keep track of your calorie intake or you want to write down recipes or keep a personal record of the restaurants you visit. Perhaps you have digestive problems, keeping a record of when, where and what food you’ve consumed and how you felt afterwards can help to pinpoint any triggers.

9. Relationships Journal

  • Romantic

Have you ever thought of writing a journal with your partner? Relationships can be hard to maintain as work, children and life in general can get in the way of spending quality time together and communicating. Although a relationship journal may help when things are tough, you don’t need to wait for this to happen before considering using this type of journal.

Communication is key to any relationship and maintaining a journal is a permanent way to record your feelings and create a greater intimacy between each other.

  • Family/Friends

You can also use this type of journal with family or friends. Sharing a journal will help you understand each other’s way of thinking and give you an opportunity to learn more about each other.

If logistics might be an issue, consider setting the journal up in digital form.

10. Travel Journal 

You can journal about the places your have visited, where you stayed, who you met and capture how you felt on your adventures.

If there are places you would like to go, use a travel journal to record all of these places. Don’t only record the countries but go into detail and research any places of interest that you would like to visit in these places. 

Find some inspiration on places to travel on my Wanderlust Pinterest Board

11. Prayer Journal

If you are religious, you may like the idea of a prayer journal. Use the journal to write prayers, make a note of bible verses that speak to you and express any spiritual creativity that brings you joy.

Intentional by Grace has an amazing post on how to set up a prayer journal.  


The above journal ideas should get you started with journal writing. You can also download this useful flowchart and worksheet to help you discover which type of journal is for you and get you started on journaling.



There are many different types of journal to keep and it’s so simple, you just need a pen and paper to get started with expressing your thoughts. Discover some journal ideas and download 100 journal prompts to get you started.

Leave a Comment