Merriam-Webster’s Learner’s Dictionary defines a journal as “a book in which you write down your personal experiences and thoughts.” Journals can take many forms and serve many purposes. If you’re anything like me, you have a stack of new composition books, spiral notebooks, and bound journals waiting for your attention. Or maybe that’s just the writer in me? I’m also an habitual list maker. Something about crossing things off makes me happy. But back to the subject of journals.

Your Prompt-A-Day Happiness Journal

For your happiness journal, I recommend something simple. Most of the journals I mentioned are plain and affordable. You can even make your own journal. To find affordable bound journals, I always sort through the clearance bins and these tend to be for giving away, but sometime a handsomely bound journal can boost the power of what you put into it. So, go with whatever makes you happy.

Here are few tips to help you make your selection:

  1. Lined journals are easier to write in. Unlined journals are nicer for drawing.  I wish journals had a mixture, but they rarely do. I go with lined, because it helps me make better use of space when writing. If I want to draw something on unlined paper, I do, then paste it onto a journal page.
  2. If you think you might want to paste in pictures or press flowers, avoid anything that is too tightly bound.
  3. The paper should be thick enough to stand up to a sharp pencil.
  4. A hard backed journal will give you the freedom to write anywhere.
  5. Undated journals give you the most flexibility.

Ready-Made Specialty Journals

If you find you like journaling, you can branch out to different types of journals. The journals I mention below are intended to guide you into a particular framework or have a special purpose. If you find it difficult to stick with the free-style journaling I recommend for your daily happiness practice, one of these might work better for you.

The Five Minute Journal is structured to be quick and happiness focused. It provides challenges and prompts and includes space for affirmations and gratitude statements. I borrowed this image from their website:


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The Adventures in Guided Journaling is another option for those who want plenty of help and guidance.   The creator, Christie Zimmer, describes it as “a collection of my original, hand-drawn journal prompts. There are to-do lists to record the details of your day-to-day, lightning rounds to tickle your whimsy, quotes to inspire your imagination, note pages to jot down lengthier reflections, goal setting prompts to keep you on track, and so much more.”  I borrowed this image from her Etsy shop:


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Another popular journal is The Secret Gratitude Book,  a companion to international phenomenon, The Secret. This journal is focused on using gratitude to promote joy and harmony and using it to bring good things into your life.
In addition to daily pages, it also includes insights and thoughts from the books creator, Rhonda Byrne.


Making Your Own Journal

If you decide to try making your own journal, here is a nifty illustrated step-by-step method you can try.


How to Make Your Own Journal by Cristal Hernández on SnapGuide