What are some benefits of writing a grief journal?

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      When a loved one dies grieving is a natural reaction that many of us go through. This grief is only amplified by the many other emotions that you might be feeling as well. The best thing to do is to find a constructive way to stay active as you learn to manage your grief.


There are many ways you can stay active as you cope with all these emotions. One rather simple way is by starting a grief journal. Studies have found that writing a grief journal can be beneficial for someone who has just suffered a loss. Here is a list of ten examples of how a grief journal may be beneficial.


      Writing a grief journal can help you to sort out your emotions. The first step toward sorting out and managing your emotions is to admit what you are feeling. Using a journal is a private way to write down and sort out your emotions. When you write down your emotions, you begin to see them clearer. By writing them down, this allows you to confront your emotions directly. Once they are written down you can begin to truly let go of all the negative emotions.

For example, if you write down, “I am sad today”, this will prompt you to question why you are feeling sad. You may then gain a better understanding of how you are feeling and why you feel that way.


      Remembering your loved one. As you sort through all of your emotions, you are bound to think of many different memories of your loved one. These memories will help you to cope with the fact that they are no longer with us.

Writing those good memories down is a great way to make sure they will never be forgotten. Some examples of good memory ideas could be going on your first fishing trip with your dad or baking cookies with mom.


      You can write in the journal at your own pace. It is not a competition and there is no due date. You can write in the journal whenever you want to or if you feel the need. The journal is private and so you are in control of what and when you write in it. Remember that the grief journal is for your benefit. It should never feel like an assignment or a burden.


      Self-reflection. As you progress you can look back on your past journal entries and see how far along you have advanced. This self-reflection is an easy way to look at the progress you are making through the grief process.

An example of reflecting on your previous entries could be if one day you are sad you may decide to go back and reflect on good memories that you wrote down in a previous entry. This will help shift your mood toward happy memories and thoughts. Reflection on the good times may help you to put yourself in a better place.


      Ask yourself questions as you are writing. As you are writing and reflecting, you can ask yourself questions that might help. An example question could be “how am I feeling today”?. You can then answer your questions as you continue writing in the journal and then go back to those questions later to see how you answered them.


      There is no need to fear writing. If you want to write a journal entry, but you cannot think of what to say many different websites offer writing prompts. These short questions may be able to help you find the words of exactly what you want to write about. An example may be what is your favorite holiday memory with your deceased loved one? The journal is yours so whatever you feel like writing about can be used as inspiration.


      Writing a grief journal can help you sleep better. Grief can negatively affect your sleep pattern. Writing down your emotions right before bed may result in you falling asleep faster. This is because you have just let out all your emotions and thoughts by writing them on the page. You are ending your day by letting go of your negative thoughts and emotions, which puts your mind at ease.


      Writing by hand can have effects that are like that of meditation. In today’s world, there are many ways that you can write a grief journal. This includes typing it on a computer, writing it on a tablet, or using pen and paper. If you chose the latter option, you might find that the action of writing itself can cause similar effects to that of mediation.

Research has shown that this is due to the act of holding the pen and using it to write the words down on the page. Though writing by hand may achieve the results that are the most like mediation, no matter how you chose to write your journal you may still find yourself more relaxed after writing.


      Evoking Mindfulness. Dictionary.com defines mindfulness as a mental state achieved by focusing one’s awareness on the present moment, while calmly acknowledging and accepting one’s feelings, thoughts, and bodily sensations, used as a therapeutic technique.


Journaling has been shown to bring you into a state of mindfulness that helps you to take control of your past emotions in the present moment. This can be especially useful as you are sorting through all your emotions.


      Journals are private and judgment-free. While writing in your grief journal you never have to be worried about what other people might think. The journal is meant to help you as you sort out your emotions and cope with grief.

Since no one else needs to know what you are writing in it, this will allow you to feel an extra sense of freedom. You do not have to write in a certain structure. For example, you can draw as you write if that helps, and if you can read the journal entry then spelling and grammar do not matter.


For certain individuals getting started with a grief journal can be quite a challenge. To benefit from a grief journal, you do not have to follow all ten ideas that are listed. Some of these ideas you might find related to your current situation better than others, and that is all good.


You should find what works best for you and then use it so that you can truly benefit from a grief journal. Remember the grief journal is for you and not anyone else.


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