Guided Journals: Everything You Need to Know
The practice of journaling is an act of self-care that can have enormous benefits. Taking even a few minutes each day to write out your thoughts, dreams, experiences, and plans can provide you with hope, insight, and guidance. While some people engage in freestyle journaling, simply writing down their thoughts and experiences each day, others prefer a more structured approach called guided journaling.
Freestyle Journaling vs. Guided Journaling
Journaling, no matter the approach, is a positive activity. There are, however, some advantages to different types of journaling, depending on your situation and your needs. In fact, many people do both types of journaling.
Freestyle journaling — what you might have called “writing in my diary” when you were younger — is writing for yourself. You journal your daily experiences, interactions, and thoughts for your eyes alone. Because of its unstructured nature, freestyle journaling allows you to express yourself however you choose and develop insight as you review your journal entries. It also provides you with a treasured history of your day-to-day life.
One potential downside to freestyle journaling is that the practice itself can lack focus. If you are feeling distracted or uninspired, it can be hard to journal. One way of addressing this is to set aside a few minutes each day when you put pen to paper and simply write whatever comes to mind.
Guided journaling is also about writing for yourself. Where it differs from freestyle journaling is that your writing is shaped by an assigned or selected topic, theme, goal, or purpose. Because guided journaling is done within specific, chosen parameters, many people find it easier to get started and stick with it.
On the other hand, guided journaling may seem too restrictive at times, not allowing you to address other things that may be on your mind. Having an additional journal for freestyle writing can help.
What Is a Guided Journal?
A guided journal, also known as a prompt journal, is a journal designed with a specific purpose. Instead of writing about whatever comes to mind, a guided journal typically includes entries with a prompt or prompts to write about a particular aspect of your life, such as health, spirituality, mental wellness, or even planning a trip.
Guided Journal Features
Each guided journal is different, but the best are designed in collaboration with experts who can offer ideas for writing prompts and extras, such as charts, checklists, and trackers. Here are some features that you might find in a guided journal:
- Functional page layouts that include to-do lists, space for recording metrics (such as hours of sleep or exercise), and other short-form writing prompts
- Topical quotes that engage, inspire, and inform
- Tabbed dividers that help you organize sections according to month or subject matter
If you are interested in daily guided journals, be sure to explore all your options. For example, some of the larger format journals are perhaps better used at home, while smaller journals can be tucked into your purse, tote, or backpack for tracking and accountability throughout the day.
Why Do People Use Guided Journals?
People use guided journals for many reasons, perhaps because they need the kind of focus and accountability that a purposeful journal can provide. In addition, having a separate, focused journal means you have a record that you can comfortably share with others, such as a therapist, clergyperson, physician, or family member. You can record personal thoughts and feelings in a standard confidential journal, whereas the guided journal is available for review and feedback from others.
It’s also true that many people benefit from journaling prompts that are not always provided by classic journals, notebooks, and diaries. These folks may find themselves consistently journaling for the first time in their lives because they are provided with the structure they need to do so.
Erin Condren Guided Journals
Erin Condren offers a full range of guided and prompted notebooks and journals in a range of themes, sizes, and formats. Most are customizable and can be personalized. Here are a few of our options:
Guided Gratitude Journals
Practice mindfulness and reap the stress-busting benefits of gratitude with a guided gratitude journal. Petite and portable, these journals are perfect for gratitude journaling at home, at school or work, and on the go!
Guided Travel Journals
Planning a big vacation? Our travel journal can ensure that you stay on budget, cover your bases with passports, visas, and payments, and have a fantastic time while you are away.
Guided Budget Planner
Need help sticking to your budget? This budget planner helps you track expenses, debt, and income so that you, and your family, can prosper.
Prompted Faith Journals
Whatever your faith tradition may be, a faith journal can help you track your spiritual and devotional practices, maintain prayer lists, and journal your connection with your faith.
Guided Medical Treatment Planners
Major surgeries and illnesses are life-disrupting. This medical treatment planner and journal helps you and your family coordinate changes while also providing space for journaling your experiences.
Prompted Wellness Journal
Many of us need motivation when it comes to starting and maintaining healthy habits. A wellness journal or prompted wellness planner can help you set reasonable goals and track your success!
Guided Self-Care Journal
You understand the importance of self-care, but maybe you’re so busy that you don’t have the time to properly apply self-care in a way that’s meaningful for you. Our guided self-care notebook was designed with prompts to make it easier (and more fulfilling) for you to take care of yourself so you can be the best version of yourself.
Prompted Creativity Journal
From a guided vision journal to an inspiration notebook, these guided journal books can give your next creative project the kickstart it needs!
Interested in trying your hand at guided journaling? Check out our guided journals today to discover the perfect journals for you, your friends, and your loved ones.