“[W]riting helped patients get better and also kept them from getting worse.” These words, spoken by psychologist Joshua Smyth in the late 1990s, came when he discovered that a writing exercise he administered had improved the health of 65% of patients.
Then, in 2004, Dr. Keith Petrie and psychologist Dr. James Pennebaker conducted a clinical trial with similar findings. Their goal was to determine the effect that written emotional expression could have on immune function among 37 HIV patients. They discovered that those asked to write about their negative life experiences measured higher immune functioning afterward.
Furthermore, a 2017 study by psychology researcher Hans Schroder also drew a remarkable connection. Schroder divided a group of students before an exam and gave each group a writing exercise. He asked one group to write down what they did the previous day, and he asked the other group to write down their thoughts about the test. The experiment results showed the group who wrote about their thoughts used fewer brain resources and performed the test more efficiently.
Studies have clearly found that the exercise of journaling can have profound mental, emotional, and even physical benefits. It’s similar to the benefits you can get from reading the best mental health books. In this article, discover which of the 12 best wellness journals can help you gain clarity, feel healthy, and reach your goals.
Top 12 Journals for Wellness
By writing, you put some structure and organization to those anxious feelings . . . it helps you to get past them.Dr. james pennebaker
1. Best Wellness Journal for Daily Focus
Name: The Full Focus Journal
Summary: Simple self-care journal developed by leadership, business, and time management expert Michael Hyatt that helps journalers gain clarity and focus each day while working toward monthly goals.
Highlights: This best-seller features 8 question-guided templates, daily quotes, and trackers for recording meals, favorite books, memories, and anything else.
This journal is best for: Anyone who wants to live each day with more focus and intention. Buying a copy as a gift for an accountability partner is also a great way to keep up a journaling habit.
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2. Best Wellness Journal for Visual Organization
Name: Northbooks A5 Dotted Bullet Notebook | Dot Grid
Summary: This journal features 144 dot-grid pages using USA sustainably-sourced paper. Each purchase of the planner goes toward tree reforestation.
Highlights: This wellness journal is great for drawing, bulleting, listing, doodling, and other visual journaling methods.
This journal is best for: No-frills visual journalers who don’t care for following prompts.
3. Best Wellness Journal for Personal Development
Name: BestSelf SelfJournal
Summary: This planner focuses on goal-setting and success using science-based methods of positive psychology that support mental health. With this journal, you’ll start tracking your personal development goals immediately.
Highlights: Provides 13 weeks of journaling and helps prioritize workload and practice habit building.
This journal is best for: Journalers looking to identify and tackle their biggest goals.
4. Best Wellness Journal for Personal Mantras
Name: Ink+Volt Mantra Journal
Summary: This planner harnesses 36 inspiring quotes from others to help you form new connections and develop your mantras.
Highlights: Follows Ink+Volt’s core pillars of Success and Goals, Productivity and Organization, Creativity and Innovation, and more. Journalers will have 36 personal mantras to reflect on upon completion.
This journal is best for: Anyone wanting to develop personal mantras to cultivate success, productivity, relationships, and health.
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5. Best Wellness Journal for Starting Your Day
Name: Two Minute Mornings
Summary: Practicing gratitude first thing in the morning can profoundly affect the rest of your day. The Two Minute Mornings gratitude journal provides daily prompts for setting a positive mindset in just a couple of minutes.
Highlights: Backed by positive psychology research, this journal is a best-seller, having sold over 100,000 copies.
This journal is best for: Anyone looking to spend just a few minutes increasing their happiness, productivity, and mindset. If you work from home and find you have trouble getting started in the morning, this is the journal for you.
6. Best Journal for Health and Activity Logging
Name: Clever Fox Wellness Planner
Summary: If meal planning, weight loss, or medical condition tracking is what you’re looking for, this journal is a great option. It tracks health, weight, activity, and more for six months using positive psychology techniques.
Highlights: The planner includes monthly calendars, sections for goal-setting, daily food logs, and dot-grid pages for visual journaling.
This journal is best for: Anyone with health and wellness goals or a medical condition they’re monitoring.
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7. Best Journal for Fitness Tracking
Name: NewMe Fitness Journal
Summary: Whether you’re new to fitness or an experienced bodybuilder, the resources in this planner will take your fitness journey to the next level.
Highlights: The journal includes guidelines for how to target and care for certain muscle groups. It also has prompts that allow you to track data for four to six months.
This journal is best for: Anyone looking to measure their fitness journey with clarity and focus.
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8. Best Wellness Journal for Positivity
Name: BetterDay Journal
Summary: Daily prompts and a simple structure enables you to channel positivity and become more mindful with the BetterDay Journal.
Highlights: Includes 184 prompts, or about six months’ worth of journaling, with monthly review sections and gratitude exercises.
This journal is best for: Those seeking small daily doses of positivity and an overall mindset shift.
9. Best Wellness Journal for Day and Night Gratitude Reflection
Name: Gratitude: A Day and Night Reflection Journal
Summary: This 90-day gratitude journal will help reduce stress, improve self-esteem, provide essential clarity, and cultivate a greater sense of joy.
Highlights: Each of the 184 pages includes space to track personal affirmations, thoughts, interactions, and moments to remember.
This journal is best for: Journalers who want to foster greater daily thankfulness and practice deep self-reflection.
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10. Best Wellness Journal for Anxiety and Depression
Name: Papier Joy Wellness Journal
Summary: Practicing joy can be a powerful method for managing your mental health. With the Joy wellness journal, writers make time for themselves by setting daily intentions, recording thoughts, planning meals, and making gratitude lists.
Highlights: It features 12 weeks of reflective pages to help you start and end each day with a new perspective.
This journal is best for: Anyone looking to renew their mindset, boost their sense of calm and happiness, strengthen their mental health, or buy a meaningful gift for someone. If you’re dealing with anxiety, try this journal out to help alleviate symptoms.
11. Best Wellness Journal for Guided Mindfulness
Name: A Year of Zen
Summary: Self-reflection is key for forming new thoughts and connections. This 52-week guided journal features creative, thought-provoking prompts to increase daily clarity and mindfulness and reduce any signs of burnout.
Highlights: This daily wellness journal features the guidance and wisdom of a Zen priest and sensei who care about showing people how to find peace.
This journal is best for: Journalers who want to start each day with peaceful self-exploration and calm with experienced, zen wisdom.
12. Best Wellness Journal for Personal and Professional Development
Name: The Designing Your Life Workbook
Summary: Based on the popular life design movement, this planner helps you build your future by digging deep into your goals, motivations, skills, and interests.
Highlights: Includes diverse tools and exercises to challenge different aspects. Some tools include charts, worksheets, dot-grid sections, prompts, and a dashboard to reflect on work-life balance.
This journal is best for: Anyone looking to design a life with purpose. This is also a great planner to include in employee wellness programs.
Daily Journaling Cultivates Optimum Health
Habits are not a finish line to be crossed, they are a lifestyle to be lived.james clear
If you’re looking for a way to transform your life and mindset, wellness journaling can be almost as effective as working with a trained life coach. However, the key to getting the most from journaling is to make it a daily habit.
If journaling is new to you, start by habit stacking. For example, if you drink coffee each morning, stack 20 minutes of journaling self-care on top of that. Or if you work from a cafe, spend time on your wellness planner before packing up. Making things a daily habit and consistently practicing them helps you stay on track toward finding success in your personal and professional life.
Learn more about atomic habits and their impact by reading “Change Your Life With Atomic Habits.”