When you’re going through big changes, sometimes most of the work happens internally. That’s not an easy thing to power through without a little guidance. So I put together an excellent list of guided journals for mindfulness and self-exploration.
I struggle with mental illness. I’m not ashamed or quiet about it. You can read more about it here.
It’s a struggle I’ve dealt with since I was a child. For the last 15 years, I’ve decided to stay off of medications and deal with my issues naturally.
When researching ways to get a handle on my anxiety and depression symptoms, a common suggestion I kept finding was to keep a mental health journal.
Journaling for mental health
But I didn’t really know what to write.
“I’m sad today, what else is new?” or “I thought about killing myself, but I didn’t.”
I’m the type of person who just needs a little guidance.
Ask me a question and I’m an open book. I’ll discuss mental illness or societal issues, or whatever it is until the cows come home. I just need a little help getting started!
On a recent trip to Barnes & Noble, I picked up a guided meditation journal. I flipped through it for a while in the store, pondering some of the questions, and turned to my husband with a quick ‘I need this”.
It’s become a nightly ritual, reading through and writing in this journal, and something that I really enjoy doing. It’s helped me look inward and better understand myself and my needs.
So, I went on the hunt to find other self-guided journals for mindfulness and self-exploration.
How does mindfulness help with mental illness?
Mindfulness is the practice of focusing your awareness on the present moment – to the thoughts, feelings, and events happening right now.
A lot of my anxiety is worry – about the what ifs and the endless amount of possible outcomes to any given scenario. I obsess over these things to the point of making myself sick.
Practicing mindfulness helps you maintain focus on the here and now and keep you from getting lost in thoughts or memories – past or future- that cause unnecessary stress and anxiety.
Guided journals are a great way to get started if you’re not really sure where to start. They offer insightful and sometimes difficult questions that help you explore more of yourself and why your brain is keeping you from being your best self.
Practice You – Elena Brower
This is the journal that I’ve been using.
Elena Brower is a yoga teacher and expert on meditation and yoga practices.
While this journal is loved around the world, I’d never heard of it until I picked it off of the shelf at Barnes and Noble. I was drawn in by the cover color and the idea of practicing more of what makes me…me.
The questions and prompts inside challenged me. I knew it wouldn’t be easy to confront a lot of them, but real growth isn’t easy.
With prompts like, “How would you define yourself? What labels have you placed on yourself?” and ” This is who I am when the doubts fall away“, you’re pushed to look deeper into some of your thought processes of self-doubt or self-hate and ask yourself why you feel those things.
You can get this awesome journal right here. Elena is also releasing a Practice You Awakening Deck with 54 cards featuring writing prompts, meditations, movement practices, and more. You can preorder it here before it’s released on November 27.
The Mindfulness Journal by S.J. Scott and Barrie Davenport
This journal has 365 writing prompts divided by 52 weekly topics, giving you 7 days to really explore each topic – like Daily Gratitude and Body Awareness.
It’s designed to help you discover new ways to practice mindfulness and figure out which ways work best for you. This journal is probably best for those new to the mindfulness practice.
This book does have a select few negative reviews stating the ‘construction’ of the book is poor – pages not glued in properly or writing being cut off – but most reviews find this book lovely and helpful with enough room to write for each day’s prompt. I definitely think it’s worth a try and Amazon has an awesome return policy.
Start Where You Are by Meera Lee Patel
This journal is beautiful. It features full color pages of art and motivational/inspirational quotes as well as prompts designed to help you ‘nurture your creativity, mindfulness, and self-motivation’.
The prompts include opportunities to write, draw, make charts, and more. This journals wants to encourage you to consider yourself, your desires, and what matters most to you.
Start Where You Are has so many amazing reviews. I definitely think it’s worth checking out. I’m probably going to get this one for myself next!
Meera Lee Patel has also published a follow-up journal, Made Up Of Stars, encouraging you to recognize and embrace what makes you special.
Present, Not Perfect by Aimee Chase
This is another gorgeous journal full of watercolor art and interesting prompts like “Write down three fears that hold you back. Imagine placing them inside of these hot-air balloons and watching them drift away. What would you be free to do?”
This journal is meant to make you slow down and enjoy the small things in life rather than racing ahead in search for perfection – an immensely important part of mindfulness.
It has a ton of great reviews and you can find it right here.
Zen As F*ck by Monica Sweeney
This journal covers difficult topics with a boat load of profanity and humor.
With adorable watercolor artwork and an F-bomb on almost every page, it makes dealing with difficult topics – like giving some love to your inner demons or finding ways to flow with the tide instead of being swallowed up – a little easier.
I love everything about this and so do the people who’ve purchased it. This journal sports 83% 5-star reviews. That’s f*ckin’ awesome.
I Am Here Now by The Mindfulness Project
This journal is designed to help pique your curiosity and look at every day moments with a fresh perspective. It requests your creativity to document these little moments.
I Am Here Now is also a guide book to mindfulness – what it is and what it’s about, how the movement started, and how to incorporate it into your every day life.
This is a great journal if you’re looking to really understand more about mindfulness before jumping right into self-exploration and prompts. It would also make a great beginner’s gift for someone who you believe this practice might be helpful for.
The 90-Day Gratitude Journal by S.J. Scott and Barrie Davenport
From the creators of The Mindfulness Journal (above) comes The 90-Day Gratitude Journal – a place to practice daily happiness and gratitude in a world full of negativity and fear.
This journal helps you focus on what’s going right in your life instead of everything that might be going wrong – a HUGE help for those that struggle with depression or anxiety. Change your mindset, change your life.
The Mindful Life Journal by Justin R. Adams
This journal is worth it for the introduction alone. Full of quotes and things you didn’t know you needed to know, this first section of this book takes you through the practice of mindfulness from a different perspective.
It explains the differences mindfulness can make in your life and how it actually does it. It’s almost like a health/science class which I find incredibly intriguing.
The prompts are the same every day, but you’ll be surprised how every day can feel and be described differently. On each day’s journal page, you’ll find a great quote to inspire you. In between prompt days, you’ll find mindfulness exercises sprinkled in like, ‘Chew a raisin 50 times without swallowing. Describe your experience.”
Keeping a Journal for Mindfulness
I hope this helps you pick the best guided journal for you.
Guided journals are a great, easy way to focus inward and see life from a whole new perspective.
Know of a journal that I missed? Comment below and let me know!