Journaling and other forms of writing can be helpful for healing. Journals can store our innermost thoughts and feelings and provide a healthy release of emotions. Journaling can provide you time to attend to your grief and it offers a tool for identifying and processing grief reactions. While the inner world of grief feels chaotic, journaling can help by adding structure for clarifying your experiences.

Here are some ideas and suggestions for writing your way through grief. You can accomplish most in 15 minutes or less, which is helpful because especially when grief is new, feelings can be close to the surface and pain is raw so short writes are less likely to pitch you into feeling overwhelmed.

  • First: There aren’t any rules. You don’t have to do it every day. You don’t have to spell the words right, or punctuate them, or worry about grammar. Give yourself permission to write whatever comes. You’re not being judged or graded by anyone else, so please don’t judge or grade yourself.
  • Choose a journal that fits your lifestyle and feels comfy and nurturing. Find a book you can carry with you or if you are at your computer, keep your journal digital.
  • Write three words that describe your feelings at the beginning and end of every journal entry. This will help you track your feelings over time and gives you an opportunity to see how your emotions shift with time and process.
  • Set a timer and write for a preset number of minutes — 5, 10, 15 (more, if you have time, energy and desire). When the timer buzzes, close your book or file and move on. [Come back as often as you wish.]
  • Make lists. Lists are great for organizing and categorizing, and their structure is comforting when things feel like they are spinning out of control. Write lists of your emotions, memories, plans, ideas, fantasies and more.

Come to our “Journal Yourself Through the Holidays” Workshop on 11/17!