Spiritual Journaling: Tips & Techniques For Mindful Reflection

spiritual journaling beginners guide

Spiritual journaling is really quite simple. If you write about topics that are larger, broader, and deeper than the day-to-day noise that takes up a good portion of our mental radio stations on any given day, it gives journaling a spiritual slant.

Table of Contents

spiritual journaling mindfulness reflection

What Is Spiritual Journaling?

First off, let’s take a look at what spiritual journaling is, and what it is not. Spiritual journaling can be any type of journaling, where you aim to explore topics with a deeper meaning.

Wouldn’t you agree that most things in life can be given a spiritual slant? Some are more inclined to see this, or acknowledge it, than others – but it’s there, whether we choose to engage with it or not.

Humans are funny like that – they have the freedom to choose to spend their entire existence in complete denial of a spiritual dimension. Sometimes, for them, that’ll be all there is, until the very end.

Other times, certain impactful life events can cause a shift. Some sort of personal cataclysm causes a stir in their beliefs and sends them on a spiritual quest.

Whether you have always been drawn to the unsees, or are experiencing a recent desire to delve deeper into the true meaning of your life, spiritual journaling can be a great way to engage in a dialogue with your inner self.

Spiritual journaling is less of a type of journal in itself and more of an intention behind your journaling. Almost every kind of journal can be given a spiritual dimension by choice.


10 Journaling Types & Techniques

Let’s look at some different kinds of journaling types, and how you can make use of these when keeping a spiritual journal.

Certain ones lend themselves better to spiritual journaling than others, as they are more tailored toward goal-setting and productivity. But with some out-of-the-box thinking, it is certainly possible to give any of these journaling techniques a spiritual undercurrent.

Gratitude journaling

A gratitude journal is a simple tool that can help you focus on the positive aspects of your life. It’s a place where you can write down things that you’re grateful for each day. This can include anything from the big things, like your health and your loved ones, to the small things, like a beautiful sunset or a kind word from a stranger.

Using a gratitude journal is easy. All you need is a notebook and a pen. At the end of each day, take a few minutes to reflect on the things that you’re grateful for. Write them down in your journal, along with a brief explanation of why you’re grateful for them. You don’t need to write a lot, just a sentence or two will do.

It’s important to be consistent with your gratitude journal. Try to write in it every day, even if you’re having a bad day or you don’t feel like it. Over time, you’ll start to notice a shift in your mindset. You’ll begin to focus more on the positive aspects of your life, rather than the negative ones.

One of the great things about a gratitude journal is that it’s a private space for you to express your thoughts and feelings. You can be as honest and vulnerable as you want to be. You can also look back on your entries whenever you need a reminder of the good things in your life.

Overall, a gratitude journal is a simple but powerful tool that can help you cultivate a more positive mindset. It’s easy to use, and it doesn’t require any special skills or equipment. All you need is a notebook, a pen, and a willingness to focus on the good things in your life.

Reflective journaling

A reflective journal is a tool that can help you connect with your inner thoughts and emotions on a deeper level. It’s a space where you can explore your spiritual journey and record your experiences, insights, and questions.

Using a reflective journal is easy. All you need is a notebook and a pen. Set aside some quiet time each day to reflect on your experiences, feelings, and thoughts. Write down anything that comes to mind, without worrying about grammar or structure. Reflective journaling is about free-flowing expression.

One of the benefits of reflective journaling is that it can help you gain clarity and perspective. When you write down your thoughts and emotions, you can step back and look at them objectively. This can help you see patterns and themes in your life, as well as identify areas where you need to grow and heal.

Reflective journaling can also be a tool for spiritual growth. As you explore your inner world through journaling, you may find that you have a deeper understanding of your beliefs and values. You may also discover new insights and wisdom that can help you navigate your spiritual journey.

It’s important to remember that reflective journaling is a personal practice. There’s no right or wrong way to do it. You don’t need to be an expert writer or have a specific goal in mind. Your journal is a space for you to be authentic and vulnerable.

Overall, a reflective journal can be a powerful tool for spiritual exploration and growth. It’s a simple practice that can help you connect with your inner self and gain clarity on your journey. So grab a notebook and pen, and start exploring your inner world today!

Bullet journaling

A bullet journal is a versatile organizational tool that can benefit your spiritual practice in many ways. It allows you to track your progress, set goals, and reflect on your spiritual journey.

Using a bullet journal for spiritual journaling is easy. You can create spreads that help you track your daily spiritual practices, such as meditation, prayer, or journaling. You can also create spreads that allow you to set spiritual goals and track your progress toward them. This can help you stay motivated and focused on your spiritual growth.

One of the benefits of using a bullet journal for spiritual journaling is that it allows you to be creative and personalize your journal to your specific spiritual needs. You can use different colors, symbols, and images to represent your spiritual journey and create a visually appealing and inspiring journal.

Another benefit of using a bullet journal for spiritual journaling is that it can help you stay organized and focused on your spiritual goals. By having all your spiritual practices, reflections, and goals in one place, you can easily review your progress and identify areas where you need to focus more.

Creative journaling

Creative journaling is a fun and innovative approach to spiritual journaling that encourages you to explore your inner world through art, writing, and self-expression. It allows you to connect with your inner self and tap into your creativity in a unique and inspiring way.

Using a creative journal for spiritual journaling is easy. You can use a variety of mediums, such as paints, markers, collages, or mixed media, to create pages that reflect your spiritual journey. You can also combine your art with writing to explore your thoughts, feelings, and insights.

One of the benefits of using a creative journal for spiritual journaling is that it allows you to express yourself in a more visual and intuitive way. Sometimes, words are not enough to capture the depth and complexity of our spiritual experiences. Art can help us access a deeper level of understanding and connection with our spiritual self.

Another benefit of using a creative journal for spiritual journaling is that it can be a fun and engaging way to connect with your inner self. It can help you access your intuition, creativity, and imagination, which are important aspects of spiritual growth and self-discovery.

Lastly, using a creative journal for spiritual journaling can be a powerful tool for healing and transformation. It allows you to explore your emotions, release negative thoughts and beliefs, and cultivate a more positive and empowering mindset.

In summary, using a creative journal for spiritual journaling is a fun and innovative approach that can benefit your spiritual growth in many ways. It allows you to express yourself in a more visual and intuitive way, connect with your inner self, and cultivate a more positive and empowering mindset. So why not give it a try and see how it can enhance your spiritual journey?

Travel journaling

Do you know how they say it’s about the journey, not the destination? While, of course, reaching a much-anticipated destination is exciting, there is truth to that statement about the journey. And when done mindfully, traveling can be quite a spiritual experience.

The words journey and journal have the same root – one is a narration of the other. And if sometimes journaling narrates our day-to-day travels through life, other times a journal is where we keep a record of an actual, physical trip. It is up to you how much of a spiritual dimension you want to give a travel journal.

Keeping a travel journal that is also a spiritual journal can be a wonderful way to connect with your spiritual self while exploring new places and experiences. Here are some tips on how to keep a travel journal that is also a spiritual journal:

  1. Set an intention: Before you start your journey, take a moment to set an intention for your travel journal. What spiritual aspects of your trip do you want to focus on? Is it connecting with nature, meeting new people, exploring new cultures, or simply being present in the moment? Write down your intention in your journal and revisit it throughout your trip.
  2. Record your experiences: Record your travel experiences in your journal, including the places you visit, the people you meet, and the activities you do. Write about how these experiences made you feel and how they relate to your spiritual intention.
  3. Connect with nature: If your intention is to connect with nature, spend some time observing the natural beauty around you and record your observations in your journal. Take photos, sketch, or paint what you see to enhance your connection with nature.
  4. Reflect on your experiences: Take some time each day to reflect on your experiences and how they relate to your spiritual intention. Write down any insights, epiphanies, or challenges that you encountered during your trip.
  5. Practice gratitude: Express gratitude for the blessings of your trip, such as the people you met, the experiences you had, and the insights you gained. Write down a gratitude list in your journal each day.
  6. Set spiritual goals: Use your travel journal to set spiritual goals for your trip and track your progress towards them. For example, if your intention is to be present at the moment, set a goal to meditate or practice mindfulness each day and record your progress in your journal.
  7. Incorporate spiritual practices: Incorporate your spiritual practices into your travel routine, such as meditation, yoga, or prayer. Record your experiences and how they enhance your spiritual journey in your journal.

In summary, keeping a travel journal that is also a spiritual journal can be a meaningful and enriching way to connect with your spiritual self while exploring new places and experiences. Set an intention, record your experiences, reflect on your insights, practice gratitude, set spiritual goals, and incorporate spiritual practices into your travel routine. Most importantly, have fun and enjoy your journey!

Dream journaling

Keeping a dream journal can be a valuable tool for spiritual journaling, as dreams are a rich source of insight, guidance, and spiritual messages. Dreams can offer us a window into our unconscious mind, revealing hidden aspects of ourselves, and providing us with guidance on our spiritual journey.

When we keep a dream journal, we can record our dreams in detail, including the images, emotions, and sensations we experienced in the dream. We can also reflect on the symbolism and meaning of the dream and how it relates to our spiritual path.

One of the benefits of keeping a dream journal for spiritual journaling is that it can help us access deeper levels of understanding and insight. Dreams can reveal hidden fears, desires, and emotions that we may not be aware of in our waking life. By recording our dreams and reflecting on their meaning, we can gain a deeper understanding of ourselves and our spiritual journey.

Another benefit of keeping a dream journal for spiritual journaling is that it can help us connect with our intuition and inner guidance. Dreams often contain messages and symbols that offer guidance and direction on our spiritual path. By paying attention to our dreams and recording them in our journals, we can access this guidance and use it to support our spiritual growth.

Additionally, keeping a dream journal can help us cultivate a more mindful and present state of awareness. By setting the intention to remember our dreams and recording them in our journal, we become more attuned to our inner world and the messages that our dreams offer us.

In summary, keeping a dream journal can be a powerful tool for spiritual journaling. It can help us access deeper levels of understanding, connect with our intuition and inner guidance, and cultivate a more mindful and present state of awareness. So why not start recording your dreams in a journal and see what insights and guidance they offer you on your spiritual journey?

Art journaling

Writing text is not a prerequisite to experiencing the spiritual benefits of journaling.

If this is where the concern surfaces that you aren’t particularly good at drawing or painting – don’t be!

Art is a loaded term. It can be especially intimidating if you don’t see yourself as artistic or creative. However, since a journal is private, no one will judge your work other than yourself. Instead of writing with a pen, you make a visual representation of your thoughts and feelings.

Art journaling comes down to using art supplies to express your feelings, experiences, or ideas of the moment. That’s all it is. No pressure. And definitely, no need to live up to any level of creative performance.

Brain dump journaling

This involves writing down all the thoughts in your head, without any filtering, or censoring yourself. No editing, either. Let the thoughts pour out and jot them down. The goal is to make your mind feel less cluttered.

It is somewhat similar to stream-of-consciousness journaling (below). Brain Dump Journal To Boost Your ‘Zen’ (w/ 10 Helpful Prompts) explains this type of journal writing in more depth. It isn’t exactly spiritual, but it can be used as a rough draft to clear your mind. This, in turn, helps to create room for more contemplative thoughts.

Stream of consciousness journaling

This is another variation of journaling, where you can just write whatever comes to mind. No filter. No censorship. Just let the words and thoughts flow. If that sounds awfully close to brain dump journaling – it is. It’s practically the same thing, except for being worded more elegantly. ‘Stream of consciousness sounds more in line with spiritual journaling, too.

While the approach to the two is virtually the same – a spontaneous, unedited outpour of thoughts – I typically view a brain dump as something more practical and a stream of consciousness as the more poetic. Elevated, perhaps.

While brain dump and stream-of-consciousness journaling are similar (you may even see the terms blended into one: doing a “stream-of-consciousness brain dump”) for me, it’s the intention behind them that makes them slightly different.

I use brain dump journaling when I want to get tasks out of my head, and filter and sort through emotions, feelings, as well as thoughts that can be turned into action steps. When in a meditative/contemplative mood, I’d sooner call it stream-of-consciousness journaling.

However, I’m well aware this is just semantics. Practical thoughts might pop up in the latter, or lofty, spiritual, and philosophical ideas might report present during a brain dump.

My differentiation is more intentional than anything else. So feel free to see and use the two as identical, if that makes more sense to you.

Mixed Journaling

Since you’re the boss, you can, of course, decide to ditch the self-imposed rules at any time and do something else. Whether this means skipping a day, or a whole week because you’re simply not feeling it, or hopping back and forth between different genres. Journal entries can be spiritual one day, artistic the next, and purely practical the next.

While it is fine to do so in the same sketch- or notebook, keeping separate journals that you use simultaneously is also an option.

If your spiritual journaling revolves around the bible, why not get a special journaling bible, all while also keeping a writing journal and/or art journal?

spiritual journaling prompts

36 Powerful Spiritual Journal Prompts

Some days the inspiration flows more freely than others. Try these spiritual journaling exercises to take the guesswork out of what to write about.

They are mostly open questions, allowing you to explore your own thoughts and ideas.

It’s purposely a mixture of spiritual questions, mindfulness, and psychological insights. This makes sense because there are so many areas of overlap and certain thoughts in the realm of psychology and self-awareness can lead to realizations of a spiritual nature. On the other hand, taking your mind off everything else that goes on and deliberately focusing on a spiritual matter can be powerful in its own way.

  • What do you remember from your teen years? How are you different, and still the same, and what have you learned since then?
  • Were you popular or lonely in high school – or somewhere in between? How did this shape you, and change your view of the world around you?
  • Describe one or more of the most impactful spiritual experiences you’ve had in your own life.
  • Do you believe in a higher power? What does he/she/it look like?
  • Certain things are part of your daily life. Meditate on which things specifically bring you down, and the ones that lift you up.
  • What would you say is the most important thing in your life right now?
  • What is the most important thing to you – in general? (Not necessarily right now – this can be something to do in life, to achieve, to enjoy, to not lose sight of…)
  • The highlight of my day yesterday (or any day) was … because it made me feel …
  • Describe one moment in life you’ll never forget. Include all the details you remember, and what made it special.
  • Have you ever felt something you couldn’t see? What was happening and what did it feel like?
  • Reflect on a quote or certain words you find meaningful and spot-on.
  • Reflect on a family member and the bond you share. Be honest and kind, looking at areas of discord as well as what they mean to you.
  • What are things you can do today that make the world a better place?
  • How does love feel?
  • Who makes you feel the love?
  • Take an uncomfortable close look at someone whose behavior irritates you. What do they do? The next step it to look at why it triggers you and what might be their valid reasons for their actions. Try to end this prompt by acknowledging your frustration with the person, forgiving yourself for letting them get to you, and sending them feelings of love and acceptance. Do you feel different after this exercise?
  • Have you ever experienced a moment that felt like a powerful spiritual awakening? Describe where you were, what you were doing, and the sudden insight(s).
  • What always brings tears to your eyes?
  • Write about one of the most difficult times in your life.
  • Do you believe in life after death? Why?
  • Use as many adjectives as you like to describe yourself, covering your pleasant traits as well as your shadow side.
  • What have you learned about the unseen, when was this, and from whom?
  • What can you learn from your biggest mistakes?
  • Write a list of questions to which you urgently need answers. (This is a writing prompt from this great book by Barbara Abercrombie. It’s called “Kicking In the Wall: A Year of Writing Exercises, Prompts, and Quotes to Help You Break Through Your Blocks and Reach Your Writing Goals”)
  • Make a list of everything that inspires you—places, people, books, websites, quotes, paintings, music, anything goes.
  • What is one topic you would like to learn more about? Find a concrete way to plan toward this goal.
  • Are you into bucket lists? If so, draft one – a general one, with the things you want to do or see in life, or one of those “x before a certain age” ones.
  • Think of the last time you were down. What did you need to hear most at that moment? Tell yourself those things.
  • Describe a moment you were bubbling over with joy.
  • Something concrete I can do to become the best version of myself is …
  • The most important things to me in life are …
  • Who is your best friend? Describe the nature of your connection.
  • An age-old existential question is how the good and the bad in the world can be the work of God, or at least allowed by God to happen. What is your take on this?
  • When or where do you feel God’s presence most?
  • Plan to do something that is out of your comfort zone. Reflect on the courage it will take you to do this, and revisit this after you’ve accomplished your tasks. What did you gain from doing it?
  • Do you believe a spiritual being is behind everything we experience and call “life”? If not, what do you believe?

Frequently Asked Questions

Do you have to journal every day?

This is entirely up to you.

It can be beneficial to do something even when you don’t really feel like it. When thinking of spiritual discipline, I often think of Eastern monks. We can’t ignore the role their disciplined approach plays when admiring the high levels they achieve in meditation and religious practice, as well as physical endurance, and strength.

While it can be useful to realize that great things are usually achieved through discipline and sacrifice – to some extent, at least – you don’t need to put spiritual journaling on that same draconian level to benefit from it.

Enjoying the process is allowed, and if that means going about it in a more free-flowing form, not journaling every day, that’s not a problem as long as you don’t make it one. Read also: Are You Supposed To Journal Every Day? for more ideas.

Is spiritual the same as religious?

This may go without saying, but some people firmly believe their view on spirituality is the only correct one in the world. Of course, that is untrue. There are as many spiritual and religious perspectives as there are cultures and humans.

Spiritual journaling does not necessarily have anything to do with the bible, the Talmud, or the Catholic, Protestant, Mormon, Buddhist, Muslim, Wicca, or any other faith.

And even if for the outside world you adhere to certain agreed-upon beliefs, why not use your spiritual journal to explore those or others, further?

Journaling is deeply personal and not subject to or bound by dogmas. Spiritual journaling is a personal quest for meaning and purpose.

Spiritual journaling is not the same as bible study. It can be, but that’s up to you and your own spirituality. As a Christian, perhaps you’d like to make journal writing a part of your regular practices, in the same way as prayer is a part of the Christian life.

The best thing about a journal is that it is private and nobody else’s business. Neither is your spiritual life. That’s why the two go so well together. A journal is a safe place to explore your spiritual side and spiritual beliefs.

Spirituality can play an important role in defining psychological well-being. Psychology deals with the ‘psyche’, the Greek word for ‘soul’. This goes a long way to show the intricate relationship of spirituality and psychology, even if modern-day translation often uses the term ‘mind’.

Both are tied to the way we think, consciously form concepts, understand the world around us, and make sense of it. Psychology is typically viewed as a branch of science.

Spirituality can be defined in many different ways, depending on religious views. Since the dawn of time, humans have had an interest in transcendence.

Spiritual practices fulfill this need for deeper meaning, whereas psychology studies the effects different facets of life, from the practical to the spiritual, have on people.

What is the best time of the day to journal?

The best time to schedule your daily journaling, whether you choose to make it spiritual or not, varies from one person to the next. Even if you have a favorite place or time to journal right now, as we move through life our circumstances can change. As a result, you may have to find a new way to squeeze in your journaling moments when the people or things around you impose a certain flow. Flexibility is key.

First thing in the morning works well for some, as they feel it helps prepare them for the day ahead.

Right before bedtime can also be a perfect moment for a journaling time. At the end of the day, I often feel compelled to keep track of daily events. If there are any negative emotions associated with those, writing them out helps me process them. Regardless of the time of the day, I find it an incredibly helpful practice to vent on paper. Taking the time to jot down what is going on and how I feel about it has a soothing effect on my mental health. That’s why a journal is such a useful tool. Aside from being an excellent way to process important events, it also keeps track. Old journals are the most valuable gift you can give your future self.

Why can’t I find time to journal?

Are you asking me? Heck, I’ve gone through phases of daily journaling. However, I’ve also gone for a long time without writing anything down whatsoever. With a new baby, I got obsessed with writing down all those cute little things she did throughout the day. I wish I had made time to keep that up throughout the years. One of my biggest fears is not remembering the things I want to remember… but then, someone needs a sandwich made or a change of clothes, and I’m sucked into the blizzard that is childcare.

Does that sound familiar? You think you’ll find a moment tonight but the baby ends up waking up eight times. Maybe tomorrow – but something else gets priority. Suddenly it is next week, then next month, then you promise yourself to start on January 1st. (I’m not very good with new years resolutions personally – but gotta admit the first of any month does have a good ring to it!)

While I am no stranger to time slipping away and not being able to get things done, I’m happy to share a few tips that have helped me find time to journal.

  • Guess what is a quiet place? The kids’ bedroom right after they’re finally asleep. If you set yourself up for success and sneak in a few key items, surely you can take ten minutes to record the events of your day, before tiptoeing out of there and getting back into whatever it is adults do after kids’ bedtime. For a smooth process, keep a pretty notebook, a nice pen (plus a spare), and a cute little light like this one in a designated spot, out of reach. Maybe on a shelf, a high counter, or hidden in a drawer up high.
  • On days spent at home, leave a journal open in a prominent spot. Write down thoughts or moments of clarity en passant, as they arise. Not having to search for a pen, open the journal to the right page and sit your hiney down might make it easier. With those few thresholds removed, all you need to do is write it down and resume your day.
  • Why not try and experiment with a very rigid approach? If you want to journal but you can’t seem to find time, take the guesswork out of that part by imposing a certain time slot onto yourself – no matter what. Set your phone alarm and just do it. If a daily slot is too much, maybe a weekly slot can work better. Fifty-two solid journal entries in a year sure are a whole lot better than a few scattered ones, or none at all.
  • Check out 10 Tips To Find Time For Daily Journaling for more!


Do you strive to consciously use journaling as a tool for spiritual growth? Spiritual journal writing is a great way to explore thoughts related to the deeper meaning of life.

If that sounds lofty, not every day has to be a deep dive into the heavy stuff. For example, sometimes, I’m in a contemplative mood and utterly fascinated by what is behind the furthest start.

Other days have me completely absorbed in something random and inane that happened. It can be really hard to snap out of that, zoom out, and focus on the bigger picture.

So maybe you allow yourself to go on a vulgar rant when the momentary mood demands it. That doesn’t mean you can’t still keep (or call it) a spiritual journal.

Let it all out first, and then gently guide yourself to a new level of understanding of the matter at hand. Even if such insights have to wait until the next session when the dust settles – that’s okay. 

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