15 of the Best Journaling Apps to Make Self-Reflection More Convenient

If pen and paper seem like a chore, try one of these digital alternatives instead.
Graphic of hand holding cell phone
master1305/Adobe Stock

Yeah, yeah, you’ve heard it before: Start journaling! Jot down what you’re thankful for! Track your thoughts and feelings! To be fair, self-reflective writing has been shown to improve mood and mitigate stress and anxiety. But even though this self-care ritual seems so simple and doable in theory, some of us consider it a total chore to break out the pen and paper daily. That’s why we’ve rounded up some of the best journaling apps out there to make the process a lot more convenient for folks looking for an alternative method.

One great perk of a digital diary is that you’re less likely to lose it compared to a regular ol’ notebook. Plus, many of these mental health apps include a bunch of fancy features that allow you to personalize your writing experience: Some, for instance, are designed for people who just want a quick way to record important memories and events. Others focus more on gratitude, self-care, and reflection, and guide you via thought-provoking prompts that can help you learn more about yourself. Plus, let’s not forgot that these techy options can guarantee more privacy than a paper journal (thank you, password protection).

So whether you’re a note-taking pro looking to experiment with more modern methods or a newbie who’s ready to do some soul-searching on your phone, we’ve rounded up 15 of the best journaling apps to download.

1. Reflectly

On top of encouraging a regular practice by motivating you to look inward, Reflectly uses positive psychology, mindfulness, and cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) to teach you how to reduce stress, cultivate gratitude, and generally gain perspective in life. It also doubles as a mood tracker, thanks to AI-generated prompts and questions that are curated and personalized for you based on your past responses.

Use it: Free or $60 per year for a premium subscription; iOS and Google Play

2. Diaro

You can use this multiplatform digital journal across your devices, whether you want to tap out entries on your phone, tablet, or laptop. It’s beginner-friendly, with lots of easy-to-use features including the ability to attach photos or videos to your notes, personalize the theme and color scheme of your journal, and even organize your thoughts (by folder, tag, or location). Android users especially love this app—it’s currently sitting at a 4.6-average rating across more than 100,000 reviews.

Use it: Free or $9 per year for a premium subscription; iOS and Google Play

3. DailyBean

One of the most straightforward options in this roundup, DailyBean is a user-friendly journaling app that encourages you to log your mood with whichever colorful bean best represents how you’re feeling. (If you’re in good spirits, for instance, you might tap a yellow, super smiley bean. On bad days, you can opt for a more distraught, tearful one.) You can also jot down why you’re in a great mood, say, or what exactly you’re stressed about.

Use it: $2 per month; iOS and Google Play

4. Daylio

If you’re not the type to write long, rambly journal entries but still want to keep track of your life, Daylio might be a good option for you. You can create a daily log with basically two taps of your finger, recording your mood and activities. The app also helps you visualize your everyday patterns with fun and informative charts that depict your mood fluctuations over time so that you can monitor your progress

Use it: Free or $24 per year for a premium subscription; iOS and Google Play

5. Day One

On top of its easy-to-use interface and elegantly designed space for journaling, Day One also has plenty of suggestions for those times when you have no idea what to write (or type) about. Some example questions: “What’s one small improvement you can make in your life” or “What is your favorite form of exercise?” While the premium version does come with some extra bells and whistles—like unlimited video and audio notes, and the ability to sync across multiple devices—the free version has what matters most: unlimited text entries.

Use it: Free or $35 per year for a premium subscription; iOS and Google Play

6. Happyfeed

Therapists often recommend a gratitude practice for better mental well-being. If you’ve had a hard time picking up the habit, try Happyfeed. Each day the app will send you a custom prompt reminding you to continue your journaling journey, accompanied by a quote about happiness or a joke to brighten your day. And along with recording the little (and big) things you’re grateful for, you can also upload pics and memories to go with what you wrote. When you need a pick-me-up, shake your phone to access your “Happiness Jar” and you’ll be able to look back on a random day from the past.

Use it: Free or $4 per month or $40 per year for a premium subscription; iOS and Google Play

7. Diarium

This is another convenient option for anyone who wants to start practicing gratitude through journaling. The diary app allows you to keep all of your sacred photos and videos in one place—with the option of noting your thoughts and feelings about those wonderful days or events. Think of it as a photo album you can store in your pocket.

Use it: Free or $8 for lifetime premium access; iOS and Google Play


Just because this one has a minimalist (and calming) aesthetic doesn’t mean it skimps on features. A safe space to explore your thoughts, identity, values, or passions, makes it easy to organize and scour through previous entries. Plus, it helps guide your future journaling practice with monthly and annual recaps that can help you, yep, reflect and grow.

Use it: Free or $6 per month; iOS and Google Play

9. Grid Diary

More than just a journaling tool, Grid Diary doubles as a personal planner to keep you organized and productive while simultaneously challenging you to embrace mindfulness and self-care. Its unique grid format (hence the name) allows you to fit all of your thoughts, and feelings on a single, customizable page—so you’re not stuck scrolling through multiple ones just to find a specific entry.

Use it: Free or $3 per month or $23 per year for premium; iOS and Google Play

10. Zinnia Planner & Journal

This one’s for folks who prefer to go old school (because let’s face it, not everyone is tech-savvy). Zinnia Planner & Journal replicates the nostalgia of keeping a traditional paper notebook (especially if you use a stylus to mimic the writing experience). You can choose from a variety of different fonts, templates, stickers, and other in-app designs to express your creativity and curate your own personalized diary on your phone, tablet, or laptop. Plus, if you’re someone who loves bullet journaling, this is a solid way to translate that habit to a more accessible online platform.

Use it: $40 per year; iOS

10. Penzu

The great thing about Penzu is that it’s made for both beginners and seasoned self-reflecters. Daily email notifications can help new users maintain a consistent journaling habit, but more advanced features—like the ability to include photos in each entry or customize every page with different themes and formatting styles—can make the experience more fun and creative. Another pro: You don’t need WiFi to use Penzu, which is convenient when you’re on the go in a car, on an airplane, or maybe taking an internet-less vacation.

Use it: Free or $5 per month or $20 per year for a premium subscription, iOS and Google Play

11. Prompted Journal

Maybe you don’t know where to start or how to articulate your thoughts into words. In that case, Prompted Journal is perfect for you. One of its standout features is that it generates plenty of gentle and stimulating “conversation starters” for “chats between you and…you.” Get to know yourself better, develop self-compassion, and reflect on your life up to now. Even cooler, some prompts recur every few months so you can keep an eye on how you’re changing and growing over time.

Use it: $1 per month; iOS and Google Play

12. My Diary

It’s easy to get overwhelmed when a high-tech app includes so many (perhaps too many) features, but that’s not the case with My Diary. You can log your innermost thoughts as you would with any standard journal or notes app—but also bring it to life by adjusting the color of the background, for example, switching up fonts each day, and adding adorable stickers and drawings to make the space really feel like your own.

Use it: Free or $3 per month or $20 per year for a premium subscription; iOS and Google Play

13. Five Minute Journal

Based on the best-selling Five Minute Journal notebook ($29, Amazon), this app aims to make journaling for mental health as simple and easy to maintain as possible. Because let’s be honest: When you’re going through a tough time, you may not have the mental energy to fill out a bunch of questionnaires and add silly little emojis. Each entry—designed to be completed every morning—contains three questions about your mood and only takes a few minutes to complete, making the process a little more doable and realistic.

Use it: $25 per year for a premium subscription; iOS and Google Play

14. Longwalks

Half journal, half social media network, Longwalks is designed to spark meaningful connection through self-reflection. Every day you can answer a new thoughtful prompt and share your answer with friends on the app or with the Longwalks community at large. It’s not your typical diary by any means, but hey, it’s sort of like having a really deep blog and support system all in one.

Use it: Free; iOS and Google Play

15. Reflect

This guided daily journal is relaxing to use simply because its interface is so soothing in and of itself. But the content is just as notable. It’s a mix of straightforward check-in questions (“How are you feeling right now?” “What’s making you feel this way?”) and more intriguing prompts about a variety of mental health topics like settling conflicts, finding motivation, or appreciating others. The longer you use it, the more you’ll learn about yourself—not just through your own reflection but also through the app’s insights: Yep, it also provides intelligent reports on your strengths and values through methods drawn from solution-focused coaching, leadership development theories, CBT, and positive psychology.

Use it: Free or $6 per month or $18 per year for a premium subscription; iOS and Google Play