Creating A Mindful Habit

It’s easy to skip breakfast on your way out the door, rush to your first meeting, and just let the days, then weeks, then months, overtake you. As someone who’s always “on the go,” sometimes it takes me a minute to think back on everything I’ve done when coworkers ask me how my weekend was. But, one thing that really eases me into unwinding and anchoring my thoughts (instead of having them float away or swirl around anxiously in my brain) is writing.

Researchers like James Pennebaker have discovered that writing about emotional experiences for as little as 20 minutes a day can produce incredible health benefits, in just a few entries. In fact, participants who wrote about emotional experiences were more likely to report lasting feelings of wellness and relaxation, reduced stress (lower heart rate and blood pressure), less visits to the doctor, and even increased immune responsiveness.

Are you a writer or someone who has always wanted to keep a journal? Here are some of our picks for journaling newbies that will guide you into a mindfulness habit—and some sustainable and do-good journals, too, for the Jane Austen’s who can’t part with their pencils.

Journals With Prompts

1. The Five-Minute Journal

Price | $22.95

Backed by positive psychology research, this clothbound journal by Intelligent Change helps bookend your days by focusing on one thing: gratitude. Daily prompts ask you to pause and reflect on what you’re grateful for, what would make the day great, and even write daily affirmations to yourself. At night, you review what happened in the past 24 hours, and what could have improved. Its sister Productivity Planner also helps prioritize your endless list of to-do’s with a mindful divide-and-conquer method using the Pomodoro technique—perfect for the working world woman.

2. Calm the Chaos Journal

Price | $14.95

This little book of zen has hit bookshelves everywhere, and for good reason: it’s part self-care, part community-oriented kindness, and part mindful living. Featuring side by side pages focusing on today and tomorrow, the journal asks the following prompts each day: How did you take care of yourself? What was an act of kindness I did for someone else? What was my most memorable moment of the day? And what are you grateful for? Then, it asks you to set intentions, to-do’s, and to jot down other stray thoughts before they float away. It’s a great way for those who feel too overwhelmed with the pace of the hustle—and need to break it down one day at a time.

3. The Empowerment Journal

Price | £25.99

This journal is written by longtime Hollywood sustainability advocate, Samata, who is known for her work with Red Carpet Green Dress, showcasing sustainable fashion on the red carpet at The Oscars. This powerful yet simple 432-page journal starts your day off on the right note by helping you appreciate yourself and embrace life now. Prompts ask how you will quiet doubting thoughts, celebrate past achievements, and amplify current wins—and the best part, there’s no pressure to do it every day if you miss a beat.

4. The 52 Lists Project

Price | $16.95

List-lovers unite! When the Seattle-based Moorea Seal turned her hit blog posts into this book, finally there was a risk-free approach to journaling, one week at a time. Rather than focusing on daily life, the 52 Lists Project taps into self-discovery. Lists range from listing what you love to do outdoors, to things you would change in your life, what you treasure most, your best qualifies, and your dream trips. When you’re done, toss the sequels in your tote: 52 Lists for Happiness and 52 Lists for Togetherness. Even better, seven percent of all proceeds from her brand go towards non-profits in rotating categories, like animal welfare and protecting the planet.

Blank Notebooks For Freewriting

5. Words With Heart

Price | $8.95

Words With Heart is an Aussie brand that’s serious about education: all their products are “valued” by the number of days of school they’ll provide women and girls in Africa and Asia. Plus, sustainability is at the center of these journals: we’re talking 100% recycled paper, sustainable stocks, eco-friendly inks and green electricity. Their ultra-modern notebooks–from Grl Pwr statements to goods in Millennial pink–are also good for your wallet: most come in around just $9.

6. Denik Notebooks

Price | Starting at $6.99

Denik is pushing the envelope by using the proceeds from each notebook sold to build schools in the developing world, in partnership with Pencils of Promise. Since its inception, the Denik Movement has successfully funded five schools in places like Mali, Laos, and Guatemala. The flatlay journals—yes, that lay perfectly flat for optimal writing!—are designed by artists and creatives from all over the globe. Designs range from soft florals to typography, so there’s an aesthetic for everyone. (We’ve got our eyes on the Samantha vegan leather notebook with desert vibes written all over it). You can even design a custom journal for a company retreat, a friend, or yourself!


Alice is a writer thinking on the things shaping urban living, the modern woman’s experience, and living a conscious life of impact in light of a bigger world. A graduate of Northwestern University’s Medill School of Journalism, she recently spent a year abroad in Peru working with a microfinance project. You can follow her latest creative endeavors and musings at Mine Felicity or on Instagram at @alice.zhng.