Grief Journals and Healing
A grief journal can be so helpful and healing. Writing your thoughts helps make sense of what you're feeling in a way that talking to someone one-on-one may not provide. Grief journaling acts as an outlet to express all the emotions that come with grief–happy, sad, confused, angry, and everything in between. Everyone experiences grief in their lives at some point, but processing emotions around a loss can be difficult and overwhelming. Keeping a grief journal is a great way to help with your bereavement, which can be hard to get through. Writing down your thoughts and feelings can help organize them, bringing peace and understanding with the written words. Grief journals don't need complicated tools to use them–just pen and paper. Incorporating daily reminders of the person who passed away, such as photos or small mementos, can also be helpful. Exploring what's going on in the heart and mind through writing has become increasingly popular, as research shows its positive impacts on well-being. Grief journaling can help bring solace to those struggling with bereavement or mourning.
Grief journals can be a helpful coping tool after a loss. They can help you process your emotions and remember your loved one. Beyond these two benefits, grief journals can also help you to:
- Document memories with your loved ones
- Understand your feelings
- Develop a deeper knowledge of your grief
- Recognize and cope with grief triggers
With guided prompts to answer and plenty of blank space for writing your own reflections, it's easier than ever to start tracking your journey through the grieving process. Even after the initial intensity of grief has subsided, reaching for your bereavement and grief journal will allow you to look back on all that you've journeyed through and maybe even find a few lessons along the way.
There are a number of outlets you can try when you are in the midst of grief, but it’s important to find one that works for you. You can try:
- Memory Journals: These are designed to help you recall and document memories of your loved one.
- Grief Journals: These can be used to express your feelings during the grieving process. The Grief Journal combines elements of traditional grief journals and memory journals to guide you through your emotions as well as recall memories with your loved one.
- Diaries: You can also purchase a diary to write directly to your loved one on a regular basis.
- Grief Writing Workshops: These workshops walk you through writing about your grief as you process your emotions.
- Grief Recovery Support Groups: These groups offer loss support and guidance during the grieving process.
- Grief Share Groups: These groups are designed to provide grief support and allow you to share your feelings with others.
How to start a grief journal
If your loved one has died and you want to try writing, here are some recommendations as you get started. First, find a journal that is comfortable for you to write in. Perhaps you want a cover that is subtle so you can feel comfortable writing in public. Second, be honest and open with your journal entries. The journal is for you so be honest with yourself as you write down how you’re feeling. Third, allow yourself time to journal every day. Maybe it’s helpful to schedule time to journal each day. If you are a morning person, commit to journaling each day to start the day off on a fresh note. If you are a night owl, journaling can help clear your head before you go to sleep. Most importantly, be patient and allow your journal to evolve over time. Don’t be afraid to revisit your journal entries periodically to reflect on your progress.
What to write about in a grief journal
Sometimes the biggest hurdle to writing is just starting. Often times we get so overwhelmed by where to start and what to write about that we never take that first step. That’s where a prompted grief journal can be helpful. They can guide you through your emotions and give you a starting point each day with a topic to delve into regarding your loss. If you would rather free-write, The Grief Journal includes numerous pages that allow for you to choose a topic of your choice to write about that day. If you would rather use a blank journal to write in, try making a list of everything that is going on in your life in that moment. Write about your loss, your emotions, and your thoughts. By digging deeper into your emotions, you can gain a greater understanding of why you are feeling the way that you are. Keep writing as long as you need and as often as is helpful.
Can grief journals be shared with others?
Should you share your grief journal with others? Well, it’s completely up to you. Some might find it helpful to share how they are feeling with those around them without having to actually say the words out loud. For me, journaling is a personal experience. Writing can be therapeutic and there is less pressure if you know you won’t be sharing what is written down on paper. You can write purely for yourself and admit to things that you’re not ready to share. That’s why I made the cover of The Grief Journal subtle, so that people would feel comfortable taking it with them in public. They can write in front of others without the cover screaming “GRIEF” and instead write in peace. Keep this in mind when choosing a grief journal to write in. Think about what your intent for the journal will be. If you plan to share your writings with others then maybe you want a louder cover with colors that spark joy. If you don’t, consider a more subtle journal cover. Most importantly, just do what feels right for you. Grief is hard. No need to make things even harder by stressing over what journal to choose or who to share your writings with. Do what feels natural and makes you feel more at peace. That’s all journaling is about. Journaling allows you an outlet to express yourself so that you don’t bottle up everything you’re going through.
Grief is a natural response to the death of a loved one. It is a time of so many conflicting emotions and it’s tough to navigate all those emotions. Grief support is important during this time and there are numerous resources available to help grieving families. Therapists are often experts in providing support and can be a valuable resource as you grieve. Remember, grief is an extremely personal experience so what works for one person may not work for another. There is no right or wrong way to grieve. If you experienced a death in your life, there are resources available to you. Talk to your doctor, therapist, friend, or family member about how they can help.
Grief support is a vital part of the healing process after a loss. It can help lessen the burden of grief and provide a safe place to express emotions and share thoughts. There are many types of grief support available, and it is important to find one that fit your needs. Some people prefer individualized support, while others may prefer group sessions. There are also many online resources available to help. Reach out for support.
Where can I find a grief journal?
You can find The Grief Journal here.
This guided journal was designed with love, to help you heal after the loss of a loved one. Each page contains a thought-provoking prompt to write about or share in a discussion with someone you love. We hope the prompts included will help you through the grieving process, and serve as a memory book for years to come.
Within this journal, you will find questions regarding your memories together, life after loss, gratitude, and open sections for filling in your own thoughts.
Prompts include suggestions such as 'Write a letter to your loved one.' 'This always makes me think of you.' and 'In what ways do they live on in you?' You can answer them in order, or as they move you.
We’ve found this journal can also be the perfect, heartfelt gift for someone you love, or a friend you know is grieving.