Journaling is a great tool to use when practicing self-care for your mental health. Many journaling apps offer much more than just a place to write your thoughts and feelings. Several journal apps will allow you to track your moods, habits, and activities, as well as learn specific therapy modalities like cognitive behavioral therapy or acceptance and commitment therapy.
What Makes a Good Journal App?
With so many journaling and self-care apps for mental health available, it can be difficult to pinpoint exactly which features make a really good app. This is especially true if you are brand new to journaling or have been asked to journal by your therapist.
Some top features to look for in a great journaling app are:
- Easy and quick tracking of moods, habits, activities, hobbies, and medications
- The option to use the mood tracking and journaling features as often as needed throughout the day
- Journal prompts or guided journals for beginners
- Large free writing spaces for more advanced journal writers
- Quality exporting files, like PDFs, of journal entries
- Ability to set a reminder to journal at a specific time of day
While this is not an exhaustive list of features to look for in a journal or self-care app, these will ensure you use a quality app.
Best Journal Apps for 2022
- Best Free Writing Journal – Day One
- Best for Beginners – Reflectly
- Best for Symptom & Medication Tracking – Bearable
- Best for Quick & Easy Mood Tracking – Daylio
- Best for Creating New Habits – Fabulous
- Best for CBT Skill Building – My Sensa App
- Best for CBT-Guide Journals – CBT Thought Diary
- Best for Families & Couples – Waffle Shared Journal
- Best For General Mental Health – Journey Journal App
- Honorable Mention (Apple Exclusive) – Symple Journal App
Here’s a complete list of companies reviewed in this article listed in alphabetical order: Bearable, CBT Thought Diary, Daylio, Day One, Fabulous, Journey Journal App, My Sensa App, Reflectly, Symple Journal App, Waffle Shared Journal.
Detailed Reviews of the Best Journal Apps
Day One – Best Free Writing Journal
Day One is a journaling app that features a large free writing space with an option to upload photos to your entries. You can view your entries in a calendar view and even download a copy of your journal as needed. The Day One journal app has a free version and a premium version which costs $24.99 -$34.99 annually, depending on which app store you use.
How Much Does Day One Cost?
The Day One premium version costs $24.99 annually on Android and $34.99 annually on Apple. Currently, there is a seven-day free trial available.
Pros & Cons of Day One
Interesting Features of Day One
Day One is the only journal app on our list that features an open-ended journaling experience. You are completely in charge of what you want to write, which pictures you want to upload, and you can create multiple journals. For example, for those struggling with OCD, the Day One Journal would provide a space to write down intrusive thoughts. Anytime you create a journal entry, the app will save data around your location, time, and date – this could be helpful in identifying triggers in your surroundings.
A truly great aspect of the Day One journal is that all of the basic functions are completely free. You will be able to journal, add photos, and review past entries, all for free. This makes Day One a wonderful journaling app option for a wide range of mental health needs.
To learn even more, read our in-depth review of the Day One journal.
Reflectly – Best for Beginners Needing Prompts
Reflectly is an AI-guided journal app that features a mood tracker and inspirational quotes. With Reflectly, you can set reminders that fit your schedule and help you create a journaling routine. There is a free version of Reflectly and a premium version that costs $19.99 – $59.99, depending on which app store you use.
How Much Does Reflectly Cost?
Reflectly Premium costs $19.99 annually on Android and $59.99 annually on Apple. There is a seven-day free trial available, and various discounts off the app’s annual cost vary in the app.
Pros & Cons of Reflectly
Interesting Features of Reflectly
Reflectly has some great features, like the option to upload pictures or use a talk-to-text option. Some journaling apps, like Day One, will allow you to upload audio files into your entries, but Reflectly is one of the few that offers talk-to-text. The talk-to-text option could be a great feature for those that may have low hand mobility or vision troubles. Unfortunately, it doesn’t work consistently on Android.
A fun aspect of Reflectly is the daily challenges you can choose to complete. These challenges are easy tasks, like drawing or painting a picture, saying three positive affirmations to yourself, or giving someone in your life a compliment. Having an enjoyable aspect within a mental health app is engaging and makes you want to come back to see what the next day brings.
To learn more about this fun app, read our in-depth review of Reflectly.
Bearable – Best for Symptom & Medication Tracking
The Bearable app is a dynamic tracking app that allows you to log your moods, symptoms, medications, and much more. It is highly customizable to fit your needs, with the option to export your information to share with your psychiatrist or therapist. Bearable has a great free version and a premium version that costs $4.99 – $6.99 monthly or $18.99 – $34.99 annually, depending on which app store you use.
How Much Does Bearable Cost?
The premium version of the Bearable app differs in cost depending on which operating system your phone uses.
- $4.99 monthly
- $18.99 annually
- $6.99 monthly
- $34.99 annually
Pros & Cons of Bearable
Interesting Features of the Bearable App
With Bearable, you are combining aspects of several types of tracking apps into one convenient place. You can log your moods, physical or emotional symptoms, activities, medications, and much more. All of this data will allow you to start seeing exactly what factors affect your overall well-being. You can even set reminders for specific times to take your medication or to log an activity, which will help you stay on track with your health.
Bearable is similar to the Symple app, but with some key differences. The Symple app is only available on Apple products and costs $8.99 as a one-time fee. The Symple app also has a journal feature that unlocks with the premium version, which the Bearable app does not. Both apps will allow you to track your medications, but the Bearable app offers a much more customizable experience with names, amounts, and times.
To learn all about this app, please read our comprehensive review of the Bearable app.
Daylio – Best for Quick & Easy Mood Tracking
Daylio is a user-friendly journal app that helps you understand how your activities and habits directly affect your mood. Daylio is similar to a bullet journal, with very little writing and tons of icons to track your mood, habits, and activities. Daylio has a great free version and a premium version which costs $2.99 monthly or $23.88 annually. There is a seven-day free trial when you sign up for the annual subscription.
How Much Does Daylio Cost?
Daylio’s premium version costs $2.99 monthly or $23.88 annually. The annual subscription comes with a seven-day free trial.
Pros & Cons of Daylio
Interesting Features of Daylio
In both the free version and the premium version of the Daylio app, you can export all of your entries. However, in the free version, you can only export a CSV table, which is basically raw data without any pictures. When you upgrade to the premium version, you can export a PDF file of your data which will be in full color and look almost identical to the Daylio main screen. Exporting your moods and habits could be especially useful for those currently in therapy or considering going to therapy.
Daylio is the only true mood-tracking app on our list because of its ease of use and cost. There is a small journaling space, similar to the one with the Reflectly app, but with so many icons to select from, those who don’t love to write may really love Daylio. Mood-tracking apps are really great for people who want to examine the impact of their daily habits and activities but on their own terms.
To learn more about this bright and engaging mood-tracking app, read our in-depth review of the Daylio app.
Fabulous – Best for Creating Self-Care Habits
Fabulous is a self-care app that helps build new habits by creating daily routines. Through themed courses, called Journeys, you will learn how to build new habits. There is a limited free version of the Fabulous app and a premium version which costs $39.99 – $79.99 annually, depending on the app store you use. Currently, there’s a seven-day free trial.
How Much Does the Fabulous App Cost?
Fabulous premium costs $39.99 annually on Android and $79.99 annually on Apple and comes with a seven-day free trial.
Pros & Cons of Fabulous
Interesting Features of the Fabulous App
The Fabulous app has some great perks to its premium subscription. In addition to more journeys and habits being unlocked, you gain access to things like physical exercises, like yoga, stretching, and cardio workouts featuring five-minute abs and 30-minute runs. The only other app that features in-app workouts is the My Sensa app, which has a higher monthly cost than the Fabulous app.
Fabulous also offers pre-recorded coaching audios on topics like burnout, resilience, mindfulness, anxiety, and much more. Plus, you can also find meditations, breathwork exercises, and stories for sleep in the app. While other apps like CBT Thought Diary and My Sensa also feature some meditations, the Fabulous app offers much more of this type of content.
To learn how you can build more resilience in your daily routine, read our in-depth review of the Fabulous app.
My Sensa Health App – Best for CBT Skill Building
My Sensa Health App is a cognitive behavioral therapy journal app geared towards those with mild anxiety, stress, or depression symptoms. The personalized program features daily learning lessons, journaling, and various activities and exercises. Sensa has three subscription options to choose from: a one-month, three-month, or six-month subscription. Costs range from $29.99 to $216, depending on which subscription option you choose.
How Much Does the My Sensa App Cost?
The Sensa app costs between $29.99 to $216, depending on which of the three subscription options you choose. Currently, there is no free version of the Sensa app available.
- Monthly: $35.99
- Three Months: $69.96
- Six Months: 104.88
- Monthly: $29.99
- Three Months: 59.99
- Six Months: $89.99
We noticed that the prices on the Sensa website were different from the costs in the app. The website lists the prices as:
- Monthly: $29.99 monthly, advertised as $0.99 per day.
- Three Months: advertised at a discounted price of $59.97 every three months.
- Six Months: advertised at a discounted rate of $59.97 every six months.
In order to get the best deal when it comes to the cost of the Sensa app, we recommend you sign up on the website and then download the app in the app store of your choice.
Pros & Cons of My Sensa Health
Interesting Features of the My Sensa App
The Sensa app features CBT lessons that are self-paced and designed to help you learn how your thoughts, emotions, and behaviors are intertwined and connected. Each day you will do a combination of reading lessons, possibly an easy quiz, and various activities. CBT Thought Diary also offers a range of CBT articles to read in the app, but the Sensa app organizes and plans everything out for you. With the Sensa app, there is no guess as to which activity you should do next. However, the journal space in the Sensa app does not exist, so you will need to write with paper and pencil.
To learn more about how this CBT app can help you, read our in-depth review of My Sensa Health App.
CBT Thought Diary – Best for CBT Guided Journals
CBT Thought Diary is a guided journal app based on cognitive behavioral therapy techniques. Through daily mood check-ins, you will be able to learn how to identify your negative thoughts, challenge them, and reframe them. CBT Thought Diary has a limited free version and a premium version which costs $4.99 – $9.99 monthly or $59.99 – $69.99 annually, depending on which app store you use.
How Much Does CBT Thought Diary Cost?
The cost of the premium version of CBT Thought Diary, called Pro, depends on which app store you use.
- $4.99 monthly
- $59.99 annually
- $9.99 monthly
- $69.99 annually
- $99.99 annually for a family subscription, which includes two to six users
Pros & Cons of CBT Thought Diary
Interesting Features of CBT Thought Diary
CBT Thought Diary will always prompt you to complete a guided CBT journal when you complete a mood check-in. These guided journals are designed to help you reflect on your current mood and what is affecting them. This is unique when compared to an app like Sensa, where the journal space is not in the app. CBT Thought Diary allows you to choose which journal feels right to you at that time and complete it in the app.
To find our how journaling with CBT methods can help you, read more in our in-depth review of the CBT Thought Diary.
Waffle Shared Journal – Best for Families & Couples
Waffle is a shared journal app where you can invite your spouse/partner, children, or other family members to collaborate. It features a free writing space, a space to upload pictures, and even a daily question to help guide your writing. Waffle is completely free and available for both Apple and Android.
How Much Does the Waffle Journal Cost?
The Waffle journal app is free on both Apple and Android. You can find more information on how to sign-up on the Waffle website.
Pros & Cons of Waffle Journal
Interesting Features of the Waffle Journal
Waffle is the only journal app on our list that will allow you to create shared writing spaces with the people in your life. While the guiding questions in the app are not necessarily mental health based, they can be really helpful for families with children who don’t know what to write about. Waffle would also be great for couples that have to spend time apart but want to keep the lines of communication open.
A truly amazing feature of the Waffle app is the option to directly share your journal with your therapist. By doing this, you and your therapist can create a space where you write about your moods, symptoms, and activities that your therapist can review prior to your live sessions. This is unlike all of the other journal apps on our list, where you must download copies of your journal entries to take with you. With Waffle, you can add your therapist to your journal and worry about one less thing.
Journey App – Best for General Mental Health Journal Prompts
The Journey app is a journal app featuring a highly customizable entry space. You can include photos, location, and weather data, and even pair it with your phone systems health metrics. The premium version unlocks neat features like audio and video attachments or the option to create entries via email or the Journey website. Premium costs $3.99 monthly or $29.99 annually.
How Much Does The Journey Journal Cost?
The Journey app costs $3.99 monthly or $47.88 annually, with only Android offering a three-day free trial. Generally, the first year of the annual subscription will be around 40% off and cost $29.99. There is also a lifetime membership option available for $99.99. You can find out information on how to sign-up on the Journey website.
Pros & Cons of Journey App
Interesting Features of the Journey
At first glance, the Journey app may seem similar to the Day One journal, but the Journey app offers much more in regards to mental health advice. There are a couple of cool perks to the Journey app to be aware of, and the first is right on the home screen. This is where you can easily create new entries, and it also features a “Stories” section towards the top of the screen. Stories are where you can view your journaling statistics, coaching sessions, and “throwbacks” from the previous year.
The Journey app gives you access to, what they call, “coaching”. Coaching in the app is actually journal prompts, not live sessions with a person, and these show up on your main screen in the Stories area. Unlike CBT Thought Diary, which focuses on CBT skills to journal about, Journey lets you select topics like body positivity, self-love, and even has sessions on the foundations of journaling.
Symple Journal – Honorable Mention (Apple Exclusive)
Symple is a mood, symptom, and factor tracker exclusively for Apple. With Symple, you can upload pictures and videos as well as unlock a journal space in the premium version. While the Symple app does not have any free trials, it is a one-time cost of $8.99.
How Much Does the Symple App Cost?
Symple is a one-time cost of $8.99. You can find out more information on how to sign-up by visiting the Symple website.
Pros & Cons of Symple App
Interesting Features of the Symple Journal
The Symple app costs $8.99 as a one time purchase. Compared to the Bearable app, which is $4.99 monthly or $18.99 annually, the Symple app may be a more affordable symptom tracking app for Apple users. Symple has a better user experience than Bearable does, with its content divided over several hubs. Bearable is one long list of symptoms, habits, and activities that can sometimes feel overwhelming. Symple also has a dedicated journal space, which the Bearable app does not.
While the Symple app does have the option to log your mood, it is not a prominent and stand-alone feature as with the Bearable app. Logging your moods is available as a symptom and requires you to manually add what you think you may be experiencing. However, the Symple app is customizable and definitely a great app for Apple users to explore.
Final Verdict on Journaling & Self-Care Apps
While many of the journal and self-care apps in our list are truly great apps for people to try, the best one for you really depends on what you are seeking to get out of an app. If you need a symptom and medication tracker, you really cannot go wrong with the Bearable app. However, if you want to do some deeper dives into how to analyze your anxiety and depression symptoms through journaling, you should try CBT Thought Diary. Finding the right fit for you can seem overwhelming at first, but when armed with our 10 Best Journaling apps list, you should be able to find the perfect one for you.
|App Name||Cost||Best For Award|
|Day One||$24.99 annually on Android|
$34.99 annually on Apple
|Best Free Writing Journal|
|Reflectly||$19.99 annually on Android|
$59.99 annually on Apple.
|Best for Beginners Needing Prompts|
|Best for Symptom & Medication Tracking|
|Daylio||$2.99 monthly |
|Best for Quick & Easy Mood Tracking|
|Fabulous||$39.99 annually on Android |
$79.99 annually on Apple
|Best for Creating Self-Care Habits|
|My Sensa Health App||On Android:|
Three Months: $69.96
Six Months: 104.88
Three Months: 59.99
Six Months: $89.99
|Best for CBT Skill Building|
|CBT Thought Diary||On Android:|
$99.99 annually for a family subscription, which includes two to six users
|Best for CBT Guide Journals|
|Waffle Shared Journal||FREE||Best for Families & Couples|
|Journey App||$3.99 monthly |
|Best for General Mental Health Journal Prompts|
|Symple Journal||$8.99||Honorable Mention (Apple Exclusive)|
For Further Reading
- Promptly Journals – great for those who need a paper journal and prompts!
- Sanvello App Review
- Best CBT Apps of 2022