Journaling to Overcome Grief

Two pens on top of notebook with the words Thought Catalog handwritten on an open page for grief journaling

Journaling to Overcome Grief

By: Melissa Camacho 

If you are feeling overwhelming emotions of sadness due to loss of a loved one, job loss, battling a disease, or difficulty managing life changes, you are experiencing grief (What is Grief?).

You can look forward to grief journaling as a healing tool to ease your way through emotional pain and loss. Everyone deals with their own grief differently because it affects everyone differently. With grief journaling, you can filter your emotions privately through your own self-expression and written words that reflect the story that led to your grief (20 Journal Prompts for Grief and Loss). As you read along this article, you will learn how journaling or expressive writing can help you develop resilience to overcome grief.

How Grief Affects Your Physical and Mental Health 

Grief can lower the progress of your physical health by causing joint pains, headaches, cardiovascular disease, digestive problems, and sleep disorders (Raymond). Prolonged grief can potentially lead to depression, which includes symptoms of emotional distress, anxiety, and low self-esteem (Nall). In the next section, you will learn how grief journaling can boost your overall well-being by gaining self-compassion and elaborating on events that trigger your mental and physical health.

Why Grief Journaling is Essential to Process Emotions 

Processing your grief through journaling or expressive writing can help you reflect on your emotions and increase your self-awareness (Journaling Your Way through Grief). The story behind your grief and ways to overcome it is your own journey. Because expressive writing is a form of communication that is connected to our thoughts, it also forms a pattern of understanding when reflecting and narrating your experiences (Dysvik). That’s why journaling and expressive writing provide you with an open path towards the healing process. 

Improving Your Physical and Mental Well-Being Through Grief Journaling

According to Diversus Health, journaling with pen and paper or on a digital journaling site can benefit your physical health over time by (How Journaling Can Help You Grieve):

  • Improving your immune system 
  • Reducing Heart Rate
  • Getting better sleep
  • Helping you to cope and manage chronic stress
  • Reducing symptoms related to depression and anxiety

Grief journaling can also benefit your mental health by helping you develop self-compassion, which lets you envision yourself in a different perspective through self-reflection, be a better problem-solver, and reduce emotional pain (Schneiderman). A useful way to gain self-compassion in this sense is to see how empathetic you would feel towards a grieving relative or friend, and how you want that same empathy in return. In other words, why shouldn’t you have the same empathy and compassion towards yourself as others do?  

Kim Fredrickson, author of The Power of Positive Self-Talk, states how having compassion towards yourself minimizes stress and increases your resilience to overcome emotional pain. If you are stuck in sadness, anger, frustration, and resentment, it’s harder for you to maneuver through the grieving process.

Through our expressive writing program at The Love Story, you can participate in grief journaling to let your thoughts and emotions flow and unfold through your own self-expression and self-awareness. You will also gain self-compassion, which will lead you to your journey in discovering your purpose, passion, and pursuit.

Begin Journaling Here

References

“20 Journal Prompts for Grief and Loss” Hope+Wellness. 29 May 2020. https://www.hope-wellness.com/blog/20-journal-prompts-for-grief-loss

“Journaling Your Way through Grief” Pathways Health. Accessed 18 Dec 2022

https://pathwayshealth.org/grief-support/journaling-your-way-through-grief/

“What is Grief?” Mayo Clinic. 19 Oct 2016. 

https://www.mayoclinic.org/patient-visitor-guide/support-groups/what-is-grief

Dysvik, Elin and Bodil Furned “A systematic writing program as a tool in the grief process: part 1” Dove Press. 06 Dec 2010.

https://doi.org/10.2147%2FPPA.S14864

Fredrickson, Kim “The Power of Positive Self-Talk” Revell, 2018

Nall, Rachell. “Coping with Depression After a Loved One’s Death” Healthline. 08 Dec 2017

https://www.healthline.com/health/depression/death-loved-one  

Raymond, Chris “How to Cope with the Physical Effects of Grief” Verywell Mind. 15 Feb 2022

https://www.verywellmind.com/physical-symptoms-of-grief-4065135#:~:text=Grief%20can%20cause%20a%20variety,sleeping%2C%20and%20unhealthy%20coping%20mechanisms.

Schneiderman, Kim “Writing as a Path to Self-Compassion” Psychology Today https://www.psychologytoday.com/intl/blog/the-novel-perspective/202201/writing-path-self-compassion

 

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