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Scribble Sessions: a guide to journaling
gently and intently

For years, I actively avoided journaling. It seemed like it required too much effort, too much time and too much commitment. Now looking back, I can see that the beginning of my journaling journey was also the start of a more compassionate and intentional relationship with myself. It became one small act daily (or weekly) that was just for me, and no one else - a radical concept.


Journaling gives you the opportunity to reflect and integrate the events of your life and choose how to respond to them. But first we have to turn inward, observe, accept and express.

This process can be daunting yet incredibly rewarding, so don't let it stop you from starting!

Here are a few tips for being gentle with yourself throughout this unfolding, from a fellow scribbler…

1.) Let go of your expectations

  • Journaling can be daunting when we sit down at an empty page with nothing but expectations about what we should be doing in order to do it "right". You don't have to write for x amount of time, or x amount of pages. Please also let go of the idea that journaling is one specific thing...

  • Journaling can look like:

    • Plans and lists

    • Poetry and random thoughts

    • Rants and difficult, unprocessed emotions

    • Letters to yourself/others

    • Collages and doodles

    • Coherent sentences

    • Incoherent sentences

    • Desires, wishes, affirmations

    • Gratitude lists, books you want to read, things you've learnt from x...

    • The list is endless.

2. Prompts and support-systems

  • The internet is filled to the brim with journal prompt inspirations. 

  • One quick and accessible way to find something inspiring and meaningful is by searching for 'journal prompts' on Pinterest.

  • If you feel like you may need some more support or accountability, journal alongside a friend (irl or via video call). Some of my most vulnerable and unexpected moments of clarity have come from the conversations in between moments of scribbling.

  • Keep an eye out for my ‘scribbler series’ prompts, coming soon!

  • I will also host Journal Session workshops, guiding you through a theme using different techniques and holding space for sharing within a supportive community.

3. Journal at different times of the day

  • It's not worth forcing yourself to journal at a certain time if it doesn't flow with your lifestyle. Experiment with morning and evening settings. 

  • Morning’s allow you freedom to manifest your day and plan with intention. You could…

    • Write a stream of consciousness - don’t stop writing and don’t judge what comes out! This helps you to see what’s in your field of consciousness and release any residue emotions from the previous day

    • Write out affirmations that will help you to embody the energy you need to get through the day (I allow myself breaks without shaming myself, I am kind towards myself, I move mindfully between different tasks)

    • Make a plan of all the things you need to accomplish to give yourself and focus

  • Evenings can be a time of stillness and reflection that allows you to dive a little deeper. You could… 

    • Honour and recognise any particularly intense emotions that came up during your day - give yourself space to reflect honestly on the triggers, your reactions, etcetera.

    • Write an anecdotal account of your day and how you felt at each point - memory hoarding is really fun!

    • List whatever it is you need to do/remember for the next day, and leave it all on the page for peaceful nights sleep (hopefully).



  • Journaling before settling into doing work can help to ease you into a focussed, relaxed state

  • Carry your journal around with you more regularly so that you get into the habit of scribbling intuitively, and in different environments.

4. Create an ambience

  • This is a key difference between creating a ritual with intention, and just journaling because it's a "good" thing to do. Create a sensory environment that will help you to relax and settle into this time with yourself.

  • Some ways you can do this are: listening to a playlist with gentle music, lighting candles, turning on an essential oil diffuser, burning some incense, making a cup of tea, lowering the lights for a romantic mood (highly recommend).

  • Even if you only include one of these elements into your ritual, it really helps your brain and body to create the association that when listening to the 'Jream' playlist by madymiless on Spotify (shameless plug), it's time to take a deep breath and put pen to paper.

5. You don't have to write anything at all

  • One of my favourite parts about my journal are the pages filled with pictures and doodles! I love going on Pinterest and selecting images that fill me with joy and inspiration, and printing them out. I stick them in my journal, creating a mini vision board. You can do this intuitively, or according to a theme.

  • For example: my perfect morning looks like… all the places I want to travel to… being in a loving community feels like…

  • Whether they are printed pictures or colourful drawings, visuals really inspire me and I will usually end up writing affirmations or an entry related to it.

6. Commit to following your intuition

  • Consistency is key when building a new habit, especially if this is something you really want to commit to for yourself.

  • It's likely that sometimes you will forget, or not have the time, or not be bothered, etcetera… 

  • And that is perfectly fine! Sometimes it's not the right thing to do for yourself, and your mood/energy levels may need something else entirely… go on a walk, nap, dance, call a friend, watch netflix… Guilt does not have to be part of this. 

  • I used to journal every single day for a period a while because that was what I genuinely craved at the time. Nowadays, I do it a few times a week and that's what feels good to me! 

  • The beautiful thing about committing to a ritual of self-reflection is that over time it will become second-nature for you to tune into exactly what you are feeling and be compassionate towards it.

Happy scribbling :)

by Madalena Miles.

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