Journaling For Grief: Tips & Writing Prompts
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This post was developed via a partnership with BetterHelp.
When you’re experiencing grief, you may feel as though you will never heal. Few emotions are as painful or overwhelming as those felt after losing a loved one. When experiencing these emotions, it can feel as though they are completely taking over and that you can’t release them fast enough. You feel as if you will burst and yet struggle to actually find any release.
Though you shouldn’t rush the healing process, there are some ways that can help you to release the pain and emotions you feel as they come up. One of these activities is journaling. The very act of writing all your thoughts and feelings helps process them from your body and onto your paper. This can ease the intensity of the emotions and help you feel a bit more at peace.
If you are interested in using journaling for healing, then read on to see how it can help you while experiencing grief.
The Benefits Of Journaling For Grief
The act of journaling for grief benefits your emotions, body, and soul. It helps you release those intense emotions, let go of the pain, and brings your body back to a state of calm. Let’s discuss more in detail how journaling does these things.
Helps Process Your Emotions
Though many self-care activities help with grief, few actually help you truly process and release those emotions. But the very act of putting your thoughts on paper can heal them and lessen their intensity and power.
When experiencing overwhelming emotions, we are often desperate to let them out of our bodies. However, because we don’t always have the means to do that, we keep them inside us, making them more intense. Writing them down helps take those emotions and thoughts out of your head and onto paper, easing their intensity and power as a result.
Helps You Let Go
The act of journaling and releasing emotions helps you let go of your hold of the situation. When losing a loved one, it can be hard to let go of them or the trauma involved in losing them. But true healing from grief includes reaching acceptance, even if that doesn’t feel possible.
This doesn’t mean you are okay with the loss or that you can move on as if nothing happened. On the contrary, you will never forget or ever be the same. But journaling helps your soul loosen its grip on the past and heal enough to help you move forward. It helps you find acceptance in whatever form that takes.
Improves Your Physical Health
That letting go process is good for your physical health as well. Research has shown that people who journal their grief or trauma often feel significantly less stress than before they journaled. Furthermore, journaling has been shown to help reduce the risk of heart attacks, cardiac disease, high blood pressure, and similar health conditions. Many of these conditions can be heavily influenced by intense emotions, such as grief, so healing your emotions will significantly reduce the risk of developing these complications.
When processing grief, caring for your physical health is just as important as caring for your mental health. However, it can be hard to remember to care for your body when processing the loss of a loved one. Even if you are struggling to care for your health, journaling can be your first step back into self-care.
3 Tips For Grief Journaling
Though there is no correct or incorrect way to journal, there are a few tips to consider to get the most from the process. Below are a few things to consider and help you on your healing journey.
1. Don’t Worry About Journaling “Correctly”
There is no one size fits all approach to journaling for grief. Everyone heals in their own way and, therefore, may find their own unique approach to journaling. For example, some people enjoy guided prompts or entirely guided journals and notebooks. Others enjoy just taking a piece of paper and writing whatever they are thinking or feeling. Anything that helps you with your overwhelming emotions and finds healing is the best form of journaling for you.
2. Don’t Edit Yourself
Though the emotions may be painful and you may not like some of the thoughts that come up, resist any temptation to edit yourself or hold back. Processing these thoughts and feelings is essential for healing, and holding them back will only slow down the process.
3. Allow Yourself To Feel Your Emotions
Again, don’t hold your emotions back. The words you write will likely induce crying or overwhelming grief or depression. Allow yourself to feel those emotions, and don’t hold them back in any way. This is part of the healing journey, despite how painful those feelings might be. They need to be felt and released in order for you to heal.
Grief Journal Prompt Ideas
As said before, there is no correct way to journal. You can simply take out a piece of paper and write out everything you feel. However, sometimes having a guided prompt may be helpful to organize your thoughts or to help you think about positive or healing thoughts related to your loved one.
If you’re interested in a guided experience, there are numerous prompts to choose from. For example, you can fill in an ending to the following quotes:
- “Today, I remembered…”
- “I regret…”
- “I really miss…”
- “If I could tell them one thing, I would say…”
Or you could respond to a question or statement such as these found below:
- What is a positive memory you have of the person?
- What are a few things you are looking forward to?
- What are some other things you can do to feel better today?
- What did you admire in the person?
- What are some ways you can honor your loved one?
- What are some mantras that comfort you?
Final Thoughts On Grief
Grief is an overwhelming experience. When consumed with such emotions, it can be difficult to find healing or a way to move forward and participate in life again. However, journaling your thoughts and emotions can have some incredibly healing effects on your body, mind, and soul. If you are looking for more help and tips on processing grief, you can find some great resources and further reading at BetterHelp.