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9 Types of Journaling for Mental Health and Wellness: How to Create a Journal Routine

Updated: Nov 13, 2023

Do you want to start a journaling routine to support your mental health but don't know the different types of journaling you would enjoy? Here are 9 unique types of journaling to help you get into writing every day and practice self-reflection.

Image of creative bullet journaling for a brain dump to improve wellbeing and self love in a private place.

How to Start a Journal Routine: 9 Types of Journaling for Mental Health and Well-Being to Try This Week

Taking care of your mental wellness is just as important as caring for your physical body, yet it might seem unclear how to do so. Interestingly, one proven way to support your mind is likely something you did as a child or teenager - writing in a diary. Of course, now we refer to it as journaling. There's more than one type of journaling practice for mental health, but no matter what you choose, you'll reap the benefits of a weekly or daily routine. With so many journaling styles, you are sure to find what works best for you. Ready to find out why you should start journaling?

Why You Should Start a Journal Habit for Your Mental Health

There are many reasons why you should start a mental health journaling habit. First, it can help to keep your thoughts and feelings organized. Second, journaling can provide an outlet for stress and anxiety. Third, it can serve as a reminder of your goals and progress. Finally, journaling can help you to reflect on your day-to-day experiences and learn from them once they are on the page in front of you. Ultimately, writing in a journal can help you to lead a more productive and fulfilling life. So, if you are not already incorporating journaling into your daily routine, now is the time to start!

Studies show that journaling for about 20 minutes every day, at least a few times a week, can lower stress and improve your mental healing after traumatic events. [*] Additionally, research shows that journaling can provide a stronger sense of self and foster emotional recovery after a breakup in a wonderful way. [*] It may also boost your mood and help you regulate emotional responses, as studies show that writing - in particular, creating a blog post - triggers a dopamine release. [*] What an empowering way to deal with mental health issues!

How to Find Time to Journal

One common obstacle that prevents people from using a journal every day is not having enough time. However, with some planning and creativity, anyone can find time to journal. One way to make time for journaling is to wake up earlier and use the extra time in your morning routine to write in your morning pages. Another way to find time is to use lunch breaks or other downtimes during the day to write and allow for self-reflection.

Finally, you can also make time by setting aside specific days or periods of time each week to dedicate to writing. Some prefer to make time in their evening routine because there are fewer family distractions at night. By making even a small effort to find time to focus on journaling, you can reap all of the benefits that this habit has to offer. Journaling should not feel like another one of the house chores, but putting it on your to-do list may help you remember to make time for it. Think of it as self-care!


It can be hard to choose journaling topics to focus on, making it difficult to get started in the first place. Try one of the following ideas for journaling for mental health. If you don't connect with one, try another! Eventually, you'll find something that clicks with you.

Journal Type No. 1: Stream of Consciousness Journaling | Write to Clear Your Mind

With this type of consciousness journaling, you free write by putting down whatever pops into your mind. Let your thoughts flow from your head to the paper. Even if your writing becomes messy, just keep going until you feel ready to stop. This can help you let go of a tough day, work through a complicated situation, or release emotion. Let a clear and unburdened mind be your inspiration.

Journal Type No. 2: "What's Going Well?" Journaling | Write Throughout The Day

It's easy to focus all of our attention on negative events or thoughts. This type of journaling requires you to list out all the things that are going well, which can help you feel better about yourself and your life. List out everything that's working well in your everyday life, whether that's via bullet journal points or paragraphs. You don't have to save your thoughts until the end of the day. Try to find a quiet time and space during the day to write down your feelings.

Journal Type No. 3: Gratitude Journaling | What Are You Grateful For?

Similar to the last type, a gratitude journal requires you to write down things you're thankful for. This might be people, pets, events, things, or basic necessities like air conditioning. Aim to write down at least five things you're grateful for every time you sit down with your gratitude journal.

Journal Type No. 4: Visual Journaling | Similar to An Art Journal

You might do better with visual or art journaling if you're more of an artistic person. With this journaling technique, you choose a word or phrase to focus on, then create whatever art is inspired by those words. Feel free to use any medium - pencil, paint, or whatever else you like in your art journal entries.

Self-Love Workbook for Women

Mindfulness journal to aid in your gratitude journaling and bullet journal practice.


Journal Type No. 5: Intuition Journaling | Write to Find Wisdom

The intuition journaling practice reconnects you with your gut feelings. Write down a question that you're looking for an answer to, such as, “Should I change my career path?”. Then, look deep within to find a response. It might take some time and several pages to get there, but eventually, you reconnect with your intuition (after a few bullet points) and find an answer.

Journal Type No. 6: Unsent Letter Journaling | Free Your Mind & Save Your Peace

Sometimes, you can't fully express yourself to the people in your life. With this type of journal practice, you write a letter and tell the other person exactly what you want. Perhaps it's how they make you feel, how much you appreciate them, or why you can't forgive them. No writing topic is off-limits when it comes to a mental health journal habit. This practice is great for releasing negative emotions and ultimately may help reduce anxiety.

The perfect cushion to sit on while you write in your bullet journal every morning.


Journal Type No. 7: Photo Journaling | Capture Inspiration & Never Forget

If you find writing on paper difficult, try photo journaling! Take at least one photo each day that could represent that day - whether it's what you're doing or how you're feeling. Store the photos in a file, folder, or blank journal for later reflection. The fun pictures can be used in your gratitude practice as well.

Journal Type No. 8: Collage Journaling | No Stress, Only Creativity

Gather words, quotes, and photos from newspapers and magazines that move you or speak to how you're feeling. Then, design a collage on your blank page - this can be simple or extravagant - whatever you're in the mood for. Collage journaling can also be used as a type of travel journal.

Journal Type No. 9: Musical Journaling | Peaceful Vibes

Share your emotions via music. This might be creating music on your own instruments, or even just singing or drumming with your hands. Don't be afraid to record the music for later reflection. You can also create a playlist full of songs that sum up your emotions.

4 Additional Types of Journaling to Add to Your Morning, Night, or...Whenever You Want!

Travel Journaling
Mindfulness Journaling
Art Journaling
Meditation Journaling

The Bullet Journal Method

The Bullet Journal is a system of organizing and keeping track of your life using a notebook and pen. Ryder Carroll, a digital product designer based in Brooklyn, New York, created it.

The Bullet Journal method is simple: you use a notebook to track your tasks for the day, week, month, and year. For each task, you write down a brief description and then mark it with a symbol to indicate its status:

• To-do: an open circle

• In progress: a diagonal line

• Done: a filled-in circle

• Canceled: an X

You can also use the symbols to track other things besides tasks, such as events (a filled-in square) or notes (an open triangle) with bullet journaling.

The beauty of the Bullet Journal method is its flexibility. You can use it however you want, and there is no wrong way to do it. You can make bullet journals as simple or complicated as you want.

6 Types of Journals for Lined Notebooks:

Bible Journal
Dream Journal
Food Journal
Travel Journal
Reading Journal
Project Journal

There are so many different types of journal writing techniques to express yourself and improve your mental health. Do you have any go-to topics or favorite types of journaling?

What is your routine like - do you find time in your morning and evening routine for self-care journaling? Let's chat about the journaling style that you enjoy most in the comments below!

Medical Disclaimer: The information on this site, including text, graphics, images, and other material, is provided solely for informational purposes and is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other healthcare professional with any questions or concerns you may have regarding your specific condition.

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