The Best Therapy and Anti-Anxiety Notebooks, According to Mental Health Experts

Looking for a way to relieve some stress? The simple act of journaling can do wonders for your mental health, therapists say.

Price and stock could change after publish date, and we may make money off these affiliate links. Learn more.
August 17, 2021

If you're looking for ways to let go of stress and find more happiness in your life, look no further. Really, we mean that: Experts say that the best way to find more happiness in life is to examine what you already have, rather than looking and reaching for something else you think would make you happier.

Journaling can be profoundly stress-relieving, and many purpose-built journals and notebooks have popped up in recent years to help provide structured ways to track your mood, feelings, behaviors, gratitude and goals. We dug through what's out there and asked a few therapists for their favorites, too.

Photo Courtesy

Cognitive behavioral therapists designed this journal to help you identify patterns in your thoughts and use structured exercises to get out of anxiety or stress spirals. Use the writing prompts and tools in this book to record how you’re feeling — and what triggered that response — to help you get back to a calmer space when you’re feeling anxious.

Photo Courtesy Amazon

“Journaling is for you,” says Janet Philbin, a licensed clinical social worker, hypnotherapist and author of Show Up for Yourself. “Journaling allows you a safe space to express what is in your heart and what is on your mind. Having a way to process your feelings allows you the space to heal and grow.”

Janet says she recommends her clients write in notebooks with blank pages. “I want my clients to write freely without worrying about staying in the lines,” she says. “A blank page gives you the freedom of expression without the rules that a lined page implies.” She says not to worry too much about how neat you write, or how you write — just as long as you do it. And if it stresses you out to have your raw thoughts lying around, she encourages recycling or responsibly burning your journals when you feel ready.

“You can shred it, rip it up or burn it safely in a fireplace or coffee can,” she says. “When you get rid of the pages, thank yourself for showing up for yourself to write and release.”

Photo Courtesy Amazon

One structured journal that comes highly recommended by Amy Morin, a psychotherapist and editor-in-chief of the mental health website Verywell Mind, is the Morning Magic 5-Minute Journal, which has daily prompts to help people look for the positive. “Studies show gratitude has a powerful impact on our emotional, physical and social well-being,” she says. “It’s a great way for anyone to start the day because it encourages everyone to establish a goal for the day and a strategy to help them take action to achieve the goal.”

Photo Courtesy Amazon

Amy also suggests The Self-Discovery Journal. “It has weekly writing prompts that encourage self-reflection,” she says. “Answering the questions can help people develop more self-awareness about their thoughts, feelings and behaviors. When people better understand themselves, positive change becomes easier.”

Photo Courtesy Papier

This cute journal from Papier comes in a wide variety of cover options so you can choose one that speaks to you. It has space for recording daily reflections, habits and what you’re grateful for.

Photo Courtesy Papier

We also love this cover from Papier, featuring beautiful wildflowers. It has a 12-week overview with bulleted sections for thoughts and feelings, inspirational sayings for your mindfulness journey and space to track your wishes and goals.

Photo Courtesy Promptly Journals

This journal has a year’s worth of prompts like, “Who are the most influential people in your life?” and “What are some things that help you feel grounded and gain perspective when you’re stressed?” Intended for anyone over the age of 10, this journal’s goal is to help you recognize the good things in your life so you can make more space to find and experience them more often.

From $20.99
Photo Courtesy Papier

Structured journaling may not be for you, and that’s fine. Papier has tons of gorgeous journals with blank, lined or bulleted pages so you can journal however feels best to you. If all you need is a simple spiral-bound notebook or a pack of Post-It notes you can burn afterward for catharsis? Go for it.

Want to go a little deeper? Dr. Mimi Winsberg, chief medical officer for Brightside, a telemedicine platform for therapy, recommends Dr. Seth Gillihan's book, Retrain Your Brain: Cognitive Behavioral Therapy in 7 Weeks: A Workbook for Managing Depression and Anxiety. "This workbook is a focused and goal-oriented tool for those affected by depression and/or anxiety," Dr. Ginsberg says. It will guide you through evidence-based cognitive-behavioral techniques encouraging self-reflection over a span of seven weeks.

More Wellness Buys

Next Up

The Best Heating Pads of 2023

Soothe aches and pains in minutes with these top-rated heating pads on Amazon.

The Best Sun Hats to Protect Your Face

Keep your hair, eyes and skin protected from the sun's harmful UV rays with a chic, hard-working sun hat.

12 Products That Promote Energy and Focus Throughout the Day

Gear up for a new year and new goals with these energizing buys that will keep you focused at home and work.

20 Things That Will Help You Get Better Sleep

Tossing and turning at night? These handy products can help you get a better night's rest.

10 Stress-Relieving Scents for Your Home Office, Bedroom and Beyond

Create a calm and cozy environment with these stress-reducing home fragrances.

The Best Bathroom Scales of 2023

Keep tabs on your health and track your fitness progress with these bestselling bathroom scales from Amazon.

The Best Items Under $50 for Stress Relief and Self-Care

Give yourself the pampering you deserve with a few budget-friendly buys.

The Most Innovative Sleep Products

Struggling to get enough sleep and feel like you've tried everything? Consider the latest in sleep aid technology from wearable trackers, custom pillows, smart mattress toppers and more to help you fall asleep faster and get a better night's rest.

I Tried Blue-Light-Blocking Glasses for Screen Fatigue — Here Are My Honest Reviews

Spending more time in front of screens lately? We tried blue-light-filtering glasses to see if they really work and are worth the hype.

6 Best Humidifiers of 2024, Tested and Reviewed

Adding moisture into your home's air with a humidifier offers loads of benefits. From the best humidifier for large spaces to our favorite model for nurseries, check out our top recommendations for humidifiers we've tested at every price point.

Go Shopping

Refresh your home with stylish products handpicked by HGTV editors.

Follow Us Everywhere

Join the party! Don't miss HGTV in your favorite social media feeds.