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100+ Incredible Journaling Ideas (For Anxiety, Clarity And More)

A blank page can be very daunting when you’re trying to start a daily journaling routine.

And it’s easy to fall into a rut even if you’ve been journaling for years. The inspiration runs dry and your journaling sessions feel like a chore.

Here’s my ultimate list of journaling ideas and prompts to inspire you – and make you fall in love with writing again.

Use these ideas to get empowered when you want to combat anxiety and stress, find clarity or get motivated.

I’ve been journaling since my teens and journal prompts always spark new ideas and give me a fresh perspective.

Some basic journaling ideas

A woman with red nail polish and silver rings opens a journal that holds a small photo of a blue sky and grassy field.

1. Write freely for 10 minutes. Write about whatever comes into your head. This kind of “free writing” might seem frivolous at first, but it’s an incredible tool to help you gain clarity.

2. Write about how you’re feeling. Check in with yourself and list your joys, anxieties and worries.

3. Do Morning Pages. Popularized by the creativity manual The Artist’s Way, this technique means writing three full pages of stream of consciousness longhand right after you wake up.

4. Make a list of things you’d like to accomplish. Write down your goals for one, five and ten years from now.

5. Keep a log to track your daily routine. Log any good habits (like exercising or reading) that you’d like to maintain.

6. Keep a book log. Make a list of your favorite books, your current reads, your reviews and recommendations you’d like to read next.

7. Keep a list of the films and TV series you’ve watched. Jot down your ratings and reviews. Add any films and directors you’d like to dig into next.

8. Start a food journal. List your favorite meals, recipes, restaurants and dishes to try.

9. Keep a log of what’s in your closet. Write about your daily outfits and what you need to buy, donate or sell.

10. Write down your favorite quotes and inspiring sayings. Look back at this list whenever you need some inspiration.

What to write about in your journal

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11. Journal about your thoughts on newsworthy items. Write about current events and any thought-provoking stories you’ve read.

12. Jot down notes from your children’s daily life. Include anything memorable or funny they’ve said, how they’re doing at school, their hobbies and friends. These kinds of journals make incredible mementos for your children when they grow up.

13. Keep a journal as a budget tracker. Keep  record of where you’re spending your money – and where you could be saving. Include any long-term financial goals and plans.

14. Start a home improvement or renovation log. Include any inspiring magazine clippings, supplies to buy, and to-do lists.

15. Journal to plan your next trip. Write about where you’d like to visit, what foods you’d like to try and which museums you’ve love to see. Read about your dream destination and use your journal to keep notes.

16. Keep an art journal. Fill the pages with your sketches, quick drawings and notes, if you’re a more visual person. These can be anything from quick doodles to plans for your next creative project.

17. Write an unsent letter. Address it (without ever mailing it) to your ex-boyfriend, parent, a loved one who’s passed away or anyone else that you’d like closure from.

18. Start a dream journal to explore your subconscious. Keep it on your nightstand and jot down a few lines in the morning about whatever you remember.

19. Start a bullet journal. Use it for brainstorming, keeping to-do lists and keeping track of your schedule and meetings.

20. Plan your day in threes. Write down 3 goals you’re working towards, 3 things you’re letting go of and 3 things you’re grateful for every morning.

Journaling for self-reflection

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21. Do some nighttime journaling. Reflect back on your day. What went well, and what do you regret? What can you do better tomorrow?

22. Take 15 minutes to make a list of everything you’re grateful for.

23. Take 15 minutes to make a list of everything that makes you smile – from a morning cappuccino to fresh flowers from the grocery store. Think about ways to bring more of these pleasures into your everyday life.

24. Write in detail about the happiest moments in your life. Describe the scene with all your senses – how did you feel, what did you smell?

25. Take 15 minutes to list the people who’ve had the biggest impact in your life. How have they influenced you, and how can you keep their inspiration going?

26. Start a one-line-a-day journal. If you want to kickstart your journaling (or if you’ve never journalled before), writing a single like is an incredible way to get into the writing habit.

27. Write about the best thing that’s happened to you today.

28. Write about your biggest tasks, challenges and worries for tomorrow.

29. Keep a gratitude journal. Jot down everything you’re thankful for daily.

30. Write about the worst case scenario for something you’re worried about. Journaling about the worst case scenario will help you realize that many of your anxieties are exaggerated and irrational.

Journaling for self-discovery

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31. Write a to-do list for 5 minutes before bed. Writing down a list of specific loose ends has been proven to help you sleep better.

32. Write a haiku or turn a thought into a simple poem.

33. Describe the scene in front of you. Include any small details, noises and smells. Setting the scene will calm you and boost mindfulness.

34. Take 15 minutes to write a list of everything you like about yourself.

35. Write an alternate ending to a movie you’ve seen.

36. Write down your top 3 priorities and goals in the morning.

37. Take 15 minutes to write a list of everything you enjoy about your job – no matter how small.

38. Jot down a list of pros and cons for a dilemma or difficult decision that you’re facing.

39. Get you stress out. Take a few minutes when you’re angry to write about what’s bothering you – use the journal page to rant and let it all out.

40. Take a minute before bed to write about the best thing that’s happened to you today.

Journaling for self-improvement

A journal filled with handwriting lays next to green and yellow leaves and a wooden bowl with a pomegranate.

41. Write a list of positive, daily affirmations.

42. Write a compassionate letter to yourself. Fill it with reassuring words that you’d say to a best friend who needs your encouragement and support.

43. Keep a personal development journal. Track your productivity, creative goals and burn-out levels. List some ways to inspire yourself and stay motivated.

44. Keep a fitness log. Track your exercise routine, daily meditation and any health goals.

45. Use your journal to describe your perfect day.

46. Keep a log for self care. List your goals and tracks any daily habits you’d like to start or maintain.

47. Write a daily diary. Narrate the events in your everyday life, your feelings and any memorable moments and quotes.

48. Track your meals and the foods you eat. Note down any fitness goals, recipes you’d like to try or foods you’d like to maintain.

49. Keep a travel journal. Write your impressions when you’re visiting new destinations or just exploring a new neighbourhood. Write about the galleries you’ve seen, any new cafes you’ve tried and any locals you met.

50. Keep notes on anything new you learn – whether that’s from a TED talk or a novel you’re reading. Keep a list of any questions that come up, or subjects you’d like to research further.

Journaling for mental health

A journal lays open on a dark wooden desk next to a white cup of cappuccino, ground coffee and a potted succulent plant.

51. Take 15 minutes to write about the things you’re looking forward to – whether that’s a family reunion, a weekend getaway or a staycation.

52. Take 15 minutes to write about your regrets. What would you do differently today?

53. Write about a few people you admire. What can you learn from them, and how did they get to where they’re at?

54. Make a bucket list of everything you’d like to do in your lifetime.

55. Write out an imagined dialogue for a conversation that you’re too nervous to have. Write out a dialogue about a topic you’re afraid to bring up.

56. Write a letter to a person that you’d like to forgive.

57. Take 15 minutes to describe your perfect day – from morning to night. Write down all the details about your ideal day.

58. Take 15 minutes to describe your ideal future self. What have you accomplished, how do you feel, what’s around you?

59. Take 15 minutes to write about the things you appreciate in a family member or partner.

60. Make a list of the favorite compliments you’ve received in your life.

Journaling for creativity

A white mug of coffee decorated with a red snowflake rests on top of a yellow ochre leather notebook near a pastel blue blanket.

61. Write about what you’d like to change in your life – and about any bad habits you’d like to cut out.

62. Make a list of any distractions that are keeping you from achieving your goals.

63. Make a list of moments when you feel your happiest and most authentic self.

64. Describe what you’re feeling, and what’s causing your current emotions.

65. Make a list of simple things you can do to make yourself feel better. Reach for this list whenever you’re feeling anxious or depressed.

66. Describe your home. Write about what you love about your living space, and what you’d like to change.

67. Keep a journal as an ongoing mood or vision board. Include images, scraps and quotes that you find inspiring.

68. Start a music journal. List your favorite Spotify lists, song lyrics and albums you’d love to hear.

69. Use your journal as a scrapbook. Gather together stamps, receipts, stickers and any other small bits that you come across in your everyday life.

70. Write some flash fiction and short stories. Use some creative writing prompts to get going.

Journaling to reflect

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71. Write about everything you’d do – if you had all the time in the world.

72. Make a list of five things you’d like to do more.

73. Write about a book that has influenced your life.

74. Make a list of your favorite places – and everything you love about them. Describe each place with vivid details.

75. Write about how you’ve changed in the past year.

76. Write a letter to your teenage self. Include any advice you’d give.

77. Describe yourself and how you were a decade ago. How have you changed, and why?

78. Write about how you’d like people to describe you. How would you like to be perceived?

79. Write about what you’d love to do, if money was no object.

80. Write about what motivates you. What gets you out of bed every morning?

Journaling prompts

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81. Make a list of date night ideas. Include any fun activities to do with your partner.

82. Write about the best pieces of advice you’ve ever been given. How have they impacted your life?

83. Write about a person you really miss.

84. Write about the last time you did something for the first time.

85. Write about a time you felt brave and conquered your fears.

86. Write about the last time you lost track of time.

87. Make a list of reasons why you’re not being fully honest in your journal.

88. Make a list of 3 things you’d like to change in the world.

89. Make a list of 3 things that drain your energy.

90. Write about your favorite traditions and holidays. What do you love about that time of year, and what emotions do you feel?

Journaling for depression

A journal with a sketch of a mountain landscape lays on a dark green desk along with a pencil and ruler. Sketching is one of the best journaling ideas for creativity.

91. Make a list of things you’d love to do – but are too afraid to try.

92. Write about the last time you couldn’t sleep. What thoughts and worries kept you up?

93. Write about your childhood heroes and crushes. What did you admire about them?

94. Write about the 3 most significant friendships that have changed your life.

95. Describe what you love about your morning and evening routines.

96. Write about the 3 most memorable gifts you’ve received in your life. What made them so special?

97. Write about a culture that you find fascinating. What attracts you to that region?

98. Write about the last time you had a conversation with a stranger.

99. Write about the last time you had a great conversation with your partner.

100. Describe how you procrastinate. How do you distract yourself, and what feelings are you trying to avoid?

Journaling tips for beginners 

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Do you want to start journaling everyday – and make writing a part of your daily routine? Read 17 Powerful Journaling Tips For Beginners (And How To Start) for my ultimate guide on how to make journaling work for your schedule.

Journaling techniques

A journal lays open with a cup of dark coffee resting on top. It's surrounded by a white blanket, scraps of brown paper and a bouquet of white roses.

There are dozens of different journaling techniques – from art and dream journaling, to bullet journaling and nature journaling.

What technique works best for you? Read 47 Life-Changing Journaling Techniques (And How To Start) to find the method that resonates best with you.

More resources:

What Are Morning Pages? (And 20 Tips To Start)

10 Tips To Start A Commonplace Book (And Why You Should)

10 Simple And Powerful Journal Prompts For Daily Use

51 Inspiring Quotes About Journaling (To Get You Writing!)

Journaling for Mental Health (And 30 Powerful Prompts)