7 Journals for Creativity, Gratitude, and Better Sex
Maybe you’ve been keeping a diary since you were twelve. Maybe your notebook is a creative outlet full of ideas for that screenplay you’ll write. Maybe it’s a pad sitting on the kitchen counter where you scrawl doodles as you chat on the phone. Maybe you don’t consider yourself a journaler at all, but you write lists. In any case, there’s always something satisfying about getting everything down on paper. It can help us cultivate good feelings, wash ourselves clean of bad ones, or just get our thoughts straight.
The best journal for you is the one you’ll actually use—whether that’s one that functions more like a traditional planner or one that’s simply pretty to look at.
In the first pages of The Five-Minute Journal, an inscription insists it’s not a magic pill. Whatever dreams, intentions, and aspirations you write here, it says, you will still have to execute them in real life. But this journal is a guide on how to do precisely that—and it’s a little magic we’re happy to practice for five minutes at a time. Every day (or every day you feel like it, no pressure), you fill in your answers to three simple questions in the morning and two easy reflections at night. Each one encourages intention, gratitude, and perspective. And they all make the idea of living a little better feel totally within reach.
When guided journaling exercises aren’t the vibe, a simple notebook is a refreshing blank slate. This one from AllSwell is designed for flexibility. If you open it from the cover that says “WRITE,” you get lined pages for neat and tidy notes, lists, and diary entries. Flip it over to its second cover, “DRAW,” and you’ll open it up to blank pages perfect for doodles.
There are no prompts or practices in the notebook, so if you find yourself seeking some creative inspiration, it’s worth picking up AllSwell’s deck of journaling cards, which cue gratitude lists, letter-writing, and sketches of cherished memories (like a favorite tree from your childhood). Shuffle, pick, and let your pen go at it.
This journal is a resource not just for better sex but also for cultivating intimacy, silliness, and honesty in a partnered relationship. It’s designed to be picked up right after play. The journal guides you through a set of prompts that you respond to individually, filling in statements like “I feel ___,” and “I felt most turned on when ____,” and then questions to answer together: What are we learning? What do we want and need? After every four entries, there’s a page for reflections on how you’ve grown as a couple and what you’ve felt grateful for since the last check-in. It even includes a guide on how to constructively communicate desires with your partner as well as where to begin if filling out the journal ever feels awkward.
While the basic structure of this little booklet is that of a monthly and weekly planner, working through the pages means getting really clear about what you want and how you want to pursue it. The diary asks you to break down your specific goals into actionable steps and also prompts you to reflect: on what’s behind your intentions, on what support you need, and on how your goals fulfill your core purpose. That may all make it sound very career-focused—and yes, it’s great for that—but it’s also just as invaluable a tool for our relationships, intellectual growth, and spiritual development.
ATTITUDE OF GRATITUDE
The concept of this journal is simple: It’s a place to jot down what you’re grateful for. That’s it. No guides, no prompts, no activities. Just the simple inscription on the cover as a reminder to count your blessings daily. It looks pretty on a nightstand (we like to make entries right before sleep) and is a great gift. And because our planet is one thing we can all be grateful for: This journal is fully recyclable.
Filling out the prompts in this one-page-a-day journal feels like scribbling in the personal diary you kept as a kid. Every page has a brief, totally joy-inducing activity, like thinking about how your love brings your loved ones happiness or feeling out a memory you could live in forever. Then it asks you to respond in a few short lines with what came up for you. We’ve found that it’s an easy way to lift our hearts in a moment. And even after you’ve filled out every page, this journal’s great for revisiting. Just cover up your previous notes with your fingers to go over your favorite pages again and again.
FOOD FOR THOUGHT
If you’re on a mission to listen to your body more, this food journal is a great first step. We like it because there are no prescriptions of what or when or how to eat, just space to very simply note how you’re feeling, how you slept, and what you ate and drank throughout the day. And it may help you develop healthier routines: Research shows that self-monitoring without deliberately changing anything is effective in changing our eating habits for the better.