42 Types of Journaling: How to Find the Right One For You

If you thought journals were only used to write about daily life and teenage crushes - think again! There's a plethora of different types of journaling for all purposes. Whether you want to build self-confidence, cultivate creativity, explore emotions, or create a blueprint for success; journaling can help you on your journey.

Woman laying on green grass while holding a journal and thinking what to write.

Journals generally fall into five categories -

  • Therapeutic
  • Practical
  • Self Development
  • Creative
  • Legacy

They can be created in written, audio, video, or art form depending on your own unique style.

In this blog post, we'll explore some of the most popular types of journaling and how and when to use them.

Therapeutic Types of Journaling

Therapeutic journals are used to process emotions, aid self-care, or help us heal in some way. A journal can be like your best friend on those days when you feel alone and misunderstood by the world. Being able to express your deepest, darkest feelings without judgment is healing in itself.

According to the Journal of Social Science, journaling provides emotional catharsis which helps to reduce or relieve symptoms of mental disorders. 

Woman journaling while sitting in bed.

Photo from jackscoldsweat at Canva.com


Journaling won’t cure depression, but it can be a useful coping mechanism. It can help sufferers:

  • Express feelings in a safe and honest way.
  • Understand and cope with symptoms.
  • Identify triggers and patterns of thinking.
  • Monitor fluctuations in mood, energy levels, and overall well-being.
  • Uncover unhealthy coping mechanisms and explore healthier alternatives.
  • Promote self-compassion and build resilience.

Some people with depression may feel too exhausted to write in a journal. In that case, an audio or video journal is just as effective.



As the old saying goes, “a problem shared is a problem halved.” Transferring our thoughts from head to paper can free up space in our mind, allowing us the chance to step back and see things from a different perspective. Anxiety journaling can help:

  • Increase self-awareness and explore difficult emotions.
  • Identify specific triggers and behavioral patterns.
  • Track the frequency, intensity, and duration of anxiety symptoms.
  • Gain insight into root causes of anxiety and develop healthier coping strategies.
  • Reframe negative thought patterns.

Daily Journaling

A daily journal is one of the most well-known types of journaling. It can be used for numerous reasons including:

  • Preserving memories and experiences.
  • Emotional regulation and stress management.
  • Observations about daily life.
  • Monitoring thoughts, feelings, and behavior patterns.
  • Problem-solving and creativity.
  • Self-expression and personal growth.
  • Expressing gratitude and grievances.


Grievance journals help people vent in a healthy way. Whether you're angry, stressed, or just plain frustrated, grievance journals help you:

  • Express yourself without offending anyone.
  • Manage stress in a constructive way.
  • See things from a different perspective.
  • Recognize when personal boundaries have been crossed.
  • Surrender to the things you can't control.
  • Change the things you can control.


Journaling is a fantastic tool for stress management. In fact, one study by Cambridge University found that writing about stressful events can help improve both psychological and physical health. Journaling can help us:

  • Transfer negative thoughts from head to paper.
  • Express worries, fears, and disappointments.
  • Stop consistent rumination.
  • Find constructive solutions to problems.
  • See things from a clearer perspective.


In many cases, breakups are life-changing and incredibly painful. Compared to grief suffered after death, breakup pain is often overlooked and misunderstood. Journaling about a breakup can help people:

  • Express grief in a healthy way.
  • Process difficult emotions.
  • Reflect on the relationship and how it made you grow as a person.
  • Practice self-care and focus on healing.
  • Consider what you'd like in a future relationship.


Grief isn't a linear process. It tends to come in waves of emotions that can be overwhelming and long-lasting. Grief journals can help people:

  • Express their emotions.
  • Process feelings of loss.
  • Reflect on treasured memories.
  • Keep going on difficult days.
  • Practice self-care.

Shadow Work

Shadow-work journals are a powerful tool for personal growth. They allow us to get in touch with the parts of ourselves we tend to keep hidden. Shadow work can help us:

  • Explore and confront aspects of ourselves we sometimes suppress.
  • Work through fear, trauma, and insecurities.
  • Gain awareness about unhelpful behavior patterns.
  • Embrace self-acceptance and build emotional resilience.

Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD) Abuse

NPD Abuse is one of the most excruciatingly painful experiences a person can go through. The love-bombing, devaluation, and discard process is incredibly hard to make sense of. Journaling can help survivors:

  • Express painful emotions.
  • Get ruminating thoughts out of their head.
  • Handle cognitive dissonance.
  • Stay strong when trauma bonding takes hold.
  • Record important insights, facts, and events.
  • Focus on healing and self-love.
  • Collect inspiring quotes, tips, and advice.

Note: Journaling can be beneficial for any kind of abuse recovery. It's not specific to NPD abuse.


Whether you're recovering from an illness, addiction, abuse, or an injury; recovery can be a long and lonely process. A recovery journal could be your personal coach on the road to better times. It can help you:

  • Explore and express your thoughts and feelings.
  • Reflect on what you've been through.
  • Celebrate every little success and milestone.
  • Motivate you when you feel down.
  • Honor your journey and celebrate your inner strength.


Practical Types of Journaling

Practical journaling helps us function in daily life, increase productivity, and stick to schedules. We can use it to improve our finances, create action plans, track progress, and ensure we look after ourselves.

Person sitting crossed legged while writing in a journal

Photo from FatCamera at Canva.com

Daily to-do list

Think of a to-do list journal as your own personal coach; always there to keep you on track and hold you accountable. They help us:

  • Create and manage schedules.
  • Prioritize tasks and responsibilities.
  • Remember important events, meetings, and appointments.
  • Organize ourselves and avoid procrastination.
  • Provide a tangible sense of achievement.


Budget journals are brilliant tools to help us manage our personal finances. They help us:

  • Prioritize our financial outgoings.
  • Avoid, manage, or get out of debt.
  • Track expenses and make plans.
  • Invest in future goals and retirement.
  • Save for the things, and experiences we really want in life.
  • Prepare for emergencies and rainy days.
  • Think about money in a healthier, more effective way.


Whether you’re trying to lose weight, improve your health, or eliminate a specific food type; sticking to a diet is challenging! A diet journal helps you:

  • Stay motivated and committed.
  • Track progress and celebrate success.
  • Identify patterns and habits.
  • Notice unhelpful behaviors such as emotional eating.
  • Monitor food intake and withdrawal symptoms.
  • Vent when you’re hangry.

Photo from FatCamera at Canva.com


If you ever feel overwhelmed, underappreciated, and depleted, a self-care journal could be your new best friend. In a demanding and often chaotic world, it can help you:

  • Prioritize health and well-being
  • Improve mental health and increase happiness.
  • Create and maintain healthy routines and practices.
  • Encourage self-love and self-respect.
  • Find more balance and satisfaction in life.


A goal journal is a valuable tool to help steer us on the path to success. They help us:

  • Gain clarity about dreams and desires.
  • Boost motivation and maintain focus.
  • Make plans and create structure.
  • Prioritize energy, resources, and time.
  • Stay organized and hold us accountable.
  • Track progress and celebrate milestones.

Sport and Fitness

A sports journal is a practical asset for any budding athlete. Some benefits include being able to:

  • Record nutrition intake and hydration levels.
  • Track performance and training.
  • Set goals and stay motivated.
  • Reflect on competition and challenges.
  • Prepare mentally and process emotions.

Journaling for Self-Development

Self-development journals are useful tools that help us grow, succeed, or improve in some way. They allow us to reflect, dig deeper, and get to know ourselves in a whole new way.

Man sitting on a beach while holding a journal and looking reflective.

Photo from AscentXmedia at Canva.com


Sometimes, it's easy to feel lost and unsure of our path in this hectic world. Self-discovery journaling can put you back in touch with yourself and help you:

  • Develop a deeper understanding of yourself.
  • Cultivate creativity and inspiration.
  • Discover emotions, thoughts, and beliefs that may be holding you back.
  • Provide clarity about purpose and values.
  • Inspire you to take positive action and achieve your goals.


An achievements journal serves as a tangible reminder of success and overcoming adversity. It can help you:

  • Track progress and celebrate accomplishments.
  • Stay motivated during challenging times.
  • Boost confidence and self-belief.


In my opinion, this is one of the most important types of journaling. Most people lack self-love, yet it’s essential for a happy and fulfilled life. Self-love journals help people:

  • Encourage self-discovery and personal growth.
  • Challenge and reframe negative thoughts.
  • Appreciate their best qualities.
  • Boost self-esteem and confidence.
  • Increase self-awareness and acceptance.

Available to buy at Amazon


Gratitude is the big buzzword of the self-help industry, and its benefits have been widely recognised by the scientific community. According the Greater Good Science Center at UC Berkeley, gratitude is linked to various physical and psychological health benefits.

These include:

  • Improved emotional well-being and physical health.
  • Reduced symptoms of depression and anxiety.
  • Increased positivity and happiness.

Money mindset

This type of journaling is great for improving your relationship with money. It can help people:

  • Become aware of subconscious beliefs about money.
  • Replace a scarcity mindset with an attitude of abundance.
  • Align with financial goals and dreams for the future.
  • Create affirmations to help you stay motivated.

Types of Journaling for Spiritual Development

Journals enhance spiritual development by offering a place to observe things at a deeper level. You can use them to get more in tune with the subconscious mind and develop spiritual practices.

Woman sitting crossed .leg on floor writing in a journal

Photo from OlgaPS at Canva.com


Manifestation journaling is one of the most common types of journaling right now due to the popularity of the 'Law of Attraction'. Manifestation journals are used to:

  • Cultivate a positive mindset.
  • Gain clarity about goals and desires.
  • Align with your highest potential.
  • Improve focus and motivation.
  • Overcome limiting beliefs.
  • Record manifestation progress.


Dream journals offer a window into the subconscious realm. They give us the chance to:

  • Explore the depths of the subconscious mind.
  • Gain insight into thoughts, emotions, and experiences.
  • Identify recurring symbols, patterns, or themes.
  • Uncover our innermost desires, fears, and issues.
  • Nurture lucid dreaming and psychic development.


There's a growing body of evidence to suggest emotions carry an energetic frequency. By raising our vibration, it's thought that we can emit a positive frequency which then attracts other people, things, and situations of a similar frequency. Vibration journals help people:

  • Gain insight into the vibration we emit.
  • Identify triggers and patterns that influence our energy.
  • Focus on processes that help to raise vibration.
  • Develop a more positive attitude.
  • Practice gratitude and encourage well-being.



Journaling can be a useful tool for developing meditation skills. It can help people:

  • Record new insights and experiences.
  • Track progress and stay motivated.
  • Release thoughts that arise during meditation.
  • Connect patterns.
  • Document techniques.

Psychic Development

Psychic development

Journaling is often recommended for those who want to nurture their intuition. Psychic Development journals helps budding psychics to:

  • Record visions, symbols, sounds, and sensations.
  • Notice subtle clues and synchronicities.
  • Build intuition.
  • Keep note of correct predictions.

Journaling for Fun Events

Fun events are what make life worth living, so it makes sense to celebrate them! With an events journal, you can look back on unforgettable trips, amazing concerts, and experiences you want to cherish forever.

Types of Journaling for events

Bucket List

This is one of my favorite types of journaling because it encourages people to make the most of life. Creating a bucket list is a fun process that helps you:

  • Get in touch with your dreams and goals.
  • Generate curiosity and adventure.
  • Gain perspective and assess personal priorities.
  • Record amazing memories and accomplishments.
  • Live a more fulfilled life and reach your full potential.


Travel journaling is one of my favourite types of journaling. By writing about your trips you can:

  • Capture precious memories forever.
  • Document first impressions, opinions, and reflections.
  • Express culture shock and moments of surprise.
  • Store momentos such as tickets, flyers, and photos.
  • Review accommodation, restaurants, and attractions.
  • Preserve special experiences for future generations.
Travel Journal

Available to buy at Amazon


Attending a concert can be a life changing event. They can also be pricey, so it makes sense to document the experience! With a concert journal, you can:

  • Relive the moments from your favourite gigs.
  • Record details such as the setlist, seat number, and venue.
  • Store mementos such as tickets and photos.
  • Document the experience and who you were with.

Side note: This kind of journal can also be used for theatre goers, or sporting event fans.

Concert Journal

Available to buy at Amazon

Types of Journaling for Life Events

Journaling about important life events can help guide us through times of transition, change, and challenges. It's also a great way to capture those precious moments and once-in-a-lifetime experiences we want to relive and cherish forever.

Woman writing in a journal, surrounded by candles.

Photo from Valeriia Sviridova at Canva.com

Babies and Parenthood

If you have time in between all the sleepless nights and diaper changing, keeping a baby journal will help you:

  • Track the growth and development of your baby.
  • Record important milestones.
  • Preserve precious memories.
  • Process thoughts and observations about parenthood.
  • Store mementos such as baby photos, locks of hair, and hospital bracelets.


new and exciting chapter that can come with mixed emotions

  • Discover new goals and make plans.
  • Reflect on the transition from working to retirement.
  • Process the feelings, challenges, and opportunities that come with change.
  • Find new purpose.
  • Document new experiences and achievements.


From the initial decision to adopt to the moment you bring a child home, adoption is a long and challenging process. Keeping an adoption journal will help parents

  • Express feelings of excitement and anxiety.
  • Record milestones and precious moments.
  • Celebrate when things go right.
  • Build resilience when things go wrong.
  • Create a treasured keepsake.


IVF can be a lonely process with lots of challenges along the way. Journaling can help you:

  • Express thoughts and feelings.
  • Vent frustration, sadness, and fears.
  • Capture the highs and lows of fertility treatment.
  • Track medication.
  • Schedule appointments and procedures.
  • Maintain resilience, hope, and perseverance.


Wedding journals fall into two categories:

Wedding Planning:

  • Record ideas and inspiration.
  • Organize to-do lists.
  • Stay on track with preparations.
  • Create guest lists and itineraries.

Wedding memories:

  • Capture the Bridezilla moments, awkward speeches, and every mishap of drunk relatives.
  • Store mementos from the engagement period, wedding day, and Honeymoon.
  • Express the excitement and emotions of the big day.
  • Create a keepsake to cherish forever.



For many, going to college or university is the first foray into adulthood. It's a time of inner exploration, experimentation, and transitions. If you're not too busy partying, journaling can help you:

  • Process stress and anxiety.
  • Record new and exciting experiences.
  • Transition through a new stage in your life.

Journaling for Legacy

Legacy journals are special because they allow us to get nostalgic and reflective. They help us record and relive precious memories and experiences that can be passed down to future generations.

Senior lady writing in a journal.

Photo from Southworks at Canva.com

Life Story

Creating a 'life story' journal is one of the most special gifts you can give a loved one. Legacy journals can:

  • Reveal precious moments and funny stories.
  • Pass on wisdom and advice.
  • Offer a nostalgic glimpse into another time.
  • Preserve memories for future generations.
  • Leave a lasting impact.
  • Serve as a cherished keepsake.

Moments to Remember

Life is a series of fun, challenging, monotonous, and surprising moments. A 'Moments to Remember' journal lets us remember those specific moments we never want to forget. It gives us the chance to:

  • Relish and remember our best experiences.
  • Boost our mood when we feel low.
  • Cultivate positivity and gratitude.
  • Look back on meaningful moments when we're older.


Pets bring so much joy to life, so why not dedicate a journal to our furry, finned, or feathered friends?! Pet journals are a great way to:

  • Document your pet's life.
  • Capture special memories and 'laugh-out-loud' moments.
  • Appreciate and remember their unique personality and quirks.
  • Create a heartfelt tribute to cherish forever.
  • Provide comfort after loss.

Things Children Say and Do

Kids are known for their beautiful innocence, incessant questioning, and funny observations. They're also known for their brutal honesty! Whether it's your son, daughter, niece, nephew, or grandchild; journaling can help you capture:

  • Hilarious questions and observations.
  • Sweet comments and messages.
  • Precious moments you want to remember forever.
  • Important milestones and experiences.

Types of Journaling for Creativity

Creative journaling helps spark creativity and nurture new ideas. Inspiration can strike like lightning, so it's always useful to have a pen and paper handy. Creative journals also allow you to keep track of projects and showcase your achievements and creations.

Artistic man sitting on bench and smiling at a journal.

Photo from TONL at Canva.com


Whether you're a blogger, author, screenwriter, or poet; a writer's journal is a must-have. It helps writers:

  • Brainstorm new ideas.
  • Develop storylines and character outlines.
  • Gather inspiration, tips, and advice.
  • Collect and store ideas for future use.


Journals can be used for just about any kind of hobby including (but not limited to):

  • Dressmaking
  • Woodworking
  • Art and Design
  • Movies
  • Food and drink tasting
  • Hiking
  • Eating-out
  • Sports

Hobby journaling can be used to:

  • Come up with new ideas or techniques.
  • Record achievements or creations.
  • Reflect on experiences or processes.
  • Document tips, advice, or observations.


Inspiration can strike at any time, so budding songwriters should be prepared! Songwriting journals are great for:

  • Jotting down lyrics and song titles.
  • Recording tips, advice, and inspiration.
  • Coming up with album concepts.
  • Brainstorming album concepts and themes.

As you can see there are many types of journaling for every possible occasion. Have you tried another kind of journaling that hasn't been mentioned here? Has journaling made a positive impact on your life? Let me know in the comments below!