The idea of journaling sounds so idyllic. Sitting alone with an empty notebook in a grassy field, thoughts and feelings pouring out onto the page—it’s a scene straight out of a teen drama. However, for many (myself included), free journaling can be a daunting task. Personally, all my attempts to journal have turned into crafting tomorrow’s to-do list or random doodles, and I know I’m not the only one. Could guided journals be the answer?
These journals, which are typically geared toward a range of goals, interests, and purposes, often include prompts, mantras, and reflections to guide your writing. Rather than staring at a blank page before you—we’re looking at you, Natasha Bedingfield—guided journals provide structure and cues to make it easier to get the jumble of words in your brain onto the page.
The benefits of journaling are plentiful. Putting pen to paper on a regular basis can decrease stress, and help manage anxiety and depression. But the rewards go beyond your mental health. Expressive writing can also improve your memory and reduce negative thoughts. Why is this significant? Reducing the presence of negative thoughts in your head leaves you better equipped to handle stress in your life.
See also: Build a Journaling Starter Kit
5 guided journals to kickstart your journaling practice
Ready to get started with your own guided journal? Whether you’re looking for prompts to guide you toward your career goals, help you manage interpersonal relationships, or combat that ever-present stress, you’ll find a guided journal best suited to your needs. Here, we’ve included some of our favorites.