By: Jeanne Alexander, LCMHCS, NCC
Grief can be overwhelming. Some describe it as swimming in a stormy sea, struggling to reach the surface and breathe. It can feel like an uncomfortable, chaotic mess. Sometimes the loss seems to run in a constant loop in the mind.
To heal, it is helpful to discover ways to soothe your soul and allow you a safe place to release and let some of the pain go. It may seem easier to distract yourself from feeling the weight of your grief. Yet, allowing time to feel the feelings is critical to healing. Journaling is a helpful tool. Loss has many layers and journaling can help peel them back to discover insights into your soul.
Something magic happens in journaling.
The act of writing accesses your left brain, the rational and analytical part. While your left brain is occupied, your right brain is free to feel and create. Journaling allows us to create distance and perspective. This distance can free us up to become more reflective and creative. Sometimes we discover thoughts and feelings we’re unwilling to say aloud to another person, or even to ourselves. Journal writing is simply putting down from day-to-day your honest, raw, unedited feelings and insights.
A grief journal helps you express feelings and provides a record over time. It can be comforting to look back and see how raw feelings of loss change and evolve over days, weeks, and months. Journaling helps make meaning of loss and can provide insights on how to live with loss and move forward one day at a time.
Writing can be therapy, helping you understand your grief and yourself. It requires courage and a willingness to be vulnerable. It requires being willing to hurt more now in order to hurt less later. In journal writing, it is helpful to suspend judgment, negative self-talk and just pour out raw thoughts and feelings.
There are many approaches to journal writing. You may want to try including stream of consciousness journaling, gratitude journaling, letter writing, bullet journaling or using writing prompts. There is no right way to journal; find the style that is most therapeutic for you. Talk to one of our grief counselors or search the internet to find different styles to try. As always, your grief counselors are here to support you.
For information on grief counseling and support, call us anytime at 833.839.1113 or send us a message at www.viahp.org/contact-form. You are not alone. We listen. We support. We care.