The Best Journaling Ideas To Help You With Mental Health And Self-Reflection

Journalling is an excellent way to help you to improve your mental health. It is a good habit to get into, but where do you start? And what techniques can you use? Keep reading to find out more. 

10 Basic Ideas To Start Journaling

If you are new to journaling and you’re not sure where to start, here are some basic ideas to give you some inspiration. 

1. Start Small 

Don’t bite off more than you can chew. If you are starting journaling for the first time then it is best to do a little bit every day rather than doing long, overwhelming sessions. Try just 10 minutes once a day until it feels like a regular habit, then build from there. 

2. Journal In The Morning 

Have you ever woken up and been hit by lots of different thoughts fighting for your attention? It can be stressful, which is why it is a great idea to journal in the morning as soon as you wake up. Write down all of your thoughts to free your mind up for the rest of the day. 

3. Think About How You Are Feeling

Journalling is a great way to process your feelings. If you are upset, anxious or pleased about something then you should write about it in your journal. Don’t forget to journal the happy feelings as well as the sad ones. 

4. Be Authentic

Your journal is for your eyes only. You don’t need to worry about anyone else reading it and finding out how you feel or what you think, so don’t hold back.

Journaling is the most effective when it is authentic and expresses your genuine thoughts and feelings. 

5. Make A Note Of What Inspires You

If you read an inspiring quote, or see something that makes you feel motivated, make sure you write about it in your journal.

This will help it to stick in your mind, but it also means that you can look back and reread it when you need to be inspired again. 

6. Write Down Your Goals

Your journal is a fantastic way to keep a track of your goals and aspirations. Make a note of some of the things you want to achieve, then periodically write about your progress. This will help you to stay on track and give you something to focus on. 

7. Journal About Your Interests & Hobbies  

If you don’t know where to start with journaling, you could try writing about your hobbies. Maybe you want to keep track of the books you’ve read and what you thought about them, or what television shows you have seen.

You could also keep a food journal with all of the meals you have cooked or enjoyed and some of your best recipes. 

8. Make A Note Of What Makes You Feel Good

If you do something that makes you feel good, write it down. It could be a walk in the sunshine, a yoga class, spending time with friends, or having a relaxing bath.

Keep writing down the things that make you happy, and you will end up with a go-to list of things you can try when you’re feeling down. 

9. Don’t Worry About How Much You Write 

It doesn’t matter if you write more on some days than others. There may be times when you can sum up how you feel in just one word, in which case, one word is all you need to write. Other days, the words might come flowing out and fill several pages. 

10. Consistency Is Key 

Once you start journaling, don’t stop. The key to making journaling a healthy, regular habit is consistency. 

10 Topics To Try Journaling About

If you’re not sure what to write about, here are some topics you could consider. 

1. Current Events

Try writing down how you feel about current events – maybe something you saw on the news or read in the paper. What thoughts have these things stirred in you. 

2. Money And Budgeting

If you want to get better at managing your money, then you can use your journal to help you with your budgeting. Make a note of what you are spending your money on and ideas for how you can save money. 

3. Vacation Planning

If you have a heart set on a dream vacation, or you want to go traveling, then you use your journal to start planning.

Make a list of where you want to go, the things you want to do, and even the foods that you’d like to try when you are there. 

4. Dreams

Some people like to keep a dream journal. Whether or not you want to try and interpret the meaning of your dreams, writing them down can still help you.

It can also be interesting to look back on the dreams you have had, and track any recurring dreams. 

5. Family Moments

If you are a parent, make sure you write down special moments you share with your children or funny things they have said and done. These little things can be easily forgotten but make wonderful memories. 

6. Write Letters

Have you ever had something you wanted to say to someone but you can’t seem to find the courage? Why don’t you try writing it down in a letter?

Expressing your feelings with the written word rather than vocalizing them can sometimes be less daunting.

You never have to send the letter – writing your feelings down can still help you to process them. 

7. Try Sketching And Doodling  

There might be some days when the words don’t come easily. You can still journal how you feel by filling up the page with sketches, doodles or whatever kind of art you want to use to express yourself. Think about how you feel and let your creativity flow. 

8. Use Bullet Points

Don’t worry about writing in full sentences – you could try a bullet point journal. Whether you are making a list of emotions you have experienced, things you did, or things you want to do – don’t be afraid of keeping it brief. 

9. Work In Threes 

One of the many journaling methods you can use is working in threes. Each day you can write down three things you are grateful for, three things you want to let go of, and three things that you want to work towards. 

10. Journal About A Project

If you have an ongoing project you are working on – perhaps a home renovation project or a personal creative project – you can write about your plans and your progress in your journal. 

10 Ideas For Creative Journaling

If you want to make more time for creativity or encourage that artistic part of yourself, try these journaling ideas. 

1. Mixed-media Journaling

Try using different materials to fill in your journal – colored pens, pencils, charcoal, paint, collage, sketching and more. Each page can look different, with various themes, fonts, borders and much more. 

2. Journaling In Poetry

Try to write about how you feel in the form of poetry. It doesn’t have to rhyme – there are lots of different types of poetry such as haiku, abstract, sonnets and more. 

3. Create A Mood Board

Instead of explaining how you feel, why don’t you try creating a mood board to express yourself? You can use colors, pictures, drawings, words and more. 

4. Write A Music Journal 

If you are into music then you can use your journal to express this. Write about your favorite songs or artists, gigs you have been to, new music you have discovered, and more. If a song inspires you, why don’t you try creating a piece of art in your journal that expresses that. 

5. Write About Creative People Who Inspire You 

One of the best ways to light your creative fire is to let yourself be motivated by the creative people who inspire you.

Whether it’s a painter, a photographer, a songwriter, a singer or anyone else. Write about their career and what you love about their work. 

6. Scrapbook Journaling 

Instead of writing in your journal about a great day with your friends, why don’t you scrapbook about it instead? You can include some photographs and decorate the pages to capture the feeling of the day. 

7. Write Short Stories In Your Journal 

Your journal isn’t just a place to write about your life, you can also express yourself by writing short stories that aren’t related to your life.

If you have an idea for a character why don’t you try to experiment with some scenarios and see what you come up with? 

8. Make A Note Of The Things Holding You Back 

If you find yourself struggling to achieve your creative goals, think about the things that are holding you back. Make a list of those things, and see if there is anything you can do about them to give yourself more freedom to be creative. 

9. Add a Creative Spin To Your Experiences

Try writing about your experiences, but adding a creative spin on them. Play around with conversations you’ve had, turning them into written dialogue or a script.

Describe a scene as if it was a passage in a book rather than just part of your day. You could even try and find a creative way to describe the room you’re in. 

10. Journal From A Different Perspective 

If you have had a disagreement with someone, or a difficult interaction, you can try to journal about it from their experience instead of yours. This challenges your creative skills whilst giving you a better perspective of the situation. 

20 Ideas For Self-Reflective Journaling

If you want to build a good relationship with yourself and get to know yourself better, you can use your journaling for self-reflection. 

1. Write About What You Are Grateful For 

Think about the things that you are most grateful for and make a note of them. This can help to give you a positive perspective on your life, and helps you to understand your priorities. Do this periodically to see how things have changed. 

2. Make A List Of Things That Make You Happy

If something has made you smile, make a note of it in your journal. It is good to take time to reflect on what makes you happy to get to know yourself better. 

3. Write About Your Biggest Challenges 

If you want to get to know yourself, you need to reflect on the challenges you are facing as well as your successes. What are you daunted by at the moment? What uphill battles are you fighting? 

4. Self-Love

To connect with yourself, write a list of all of the things that you love about yourself. It might take days or weeks, but keep returning to the list whenever you think of something positive about yourself.

Don’t just write physical things, write things about your personality as well. 

5. Journal In The Evening

The evening is the best time to journal if you want to reflect on the day you have just had. The feelings will be fresh, and it can help you to process everything you have experienced that day. 

6. Think About Your Happiest Moments 

If you want to reflect on your life as a whole, take some time to look back on your happiest memories. Life can take us through lots of changes, but these memories are important milestones to hold on to. 

7. Who Inspires You?

Thinking about the amazing people in your life can help to give you a positive outlook. Take some time to write about your closest friends or your most respected family members and why they mean so much to you. 

8. Focus On Your Goals 

Write down your three most important goals and how you want to achieve them. Being aware of your priorities will give you more focus and help you to understand your life. 

9. Write About Your Job 

You might have a job you enjoy, or you might not. Whatever your job is, take some time to reflect on how it makes you feel.

Try to find a balanced view of it – some positives and some drawbacks – to make sure that you are being realistic. 

10. Journal Your Self-Development

Make a note of your achievements, your best moments, the work you are doing on yourself, and the moments when you are struggling but don’t give up. 

5 Ways To Improve Mental Health With Journaling

If you are struggling with your mental health, here are some journaling strategies that you can try. 

1. Face Your Fears

One of the best ways to work through your anxiety is to face what you are afraid of. Think about your biggest challenge and then write down the realistic worst case scenario.

Then, write down some ideas to prevent this from happening. 

2. Stay Organized

If you are getting stressed about having too much on your plate, you can use your journal to stay organized.

Break your tasks down into smaller, more manageable steps and make a to do list. Take it one day at a time. 

3. Mindful Journaling

Mindfulness is one of the most effective ways to ease anxiety, depression, and many other mental health conditions.

Try some mindful journaling by writing down a description of the space around you. Make sure to include all five senses. 

4. Decision Making

Having an important decision hanging over your head can cause a lot of stress.

You can use your journal to help you work through a decision by making a list of the pros and cons and weighing up your options, then writing honestly about how you feel.

5. One Line A Day 

Small tasks can be overwhelming when you’re experiencing depression. This is why writing just one line a day is a great goal as it is manageable and not too daunting.


These journaling techniques will not only help you to get into journaling everyday, they will also give you a way to deal with your mental health.