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Journaling to Ease Grief and Loss

Grief comes to us in many forms and is an inescapable part of life. For many, grief is associated with the loss of a loved one. However, it is important to note that grief is not always associated with the death of someone you love; you may be grieving the loss of a job, a relationship breakup, loss of health, the collapse of a dream, or loss of possessions. The way we experience grief is unique to each one of us.

As human beings, we possess deep, complex, multifaceted emotions, and it’s our responsibility to learn how we individually need to cope and process with these emotions. If you are facing a season of grief, whether you’ve lost someone you loved or are experiencing some other pain, keeping a grief journal might help you to cope and process your feelings.

Grief journaling is one way of allowing yourself the space for genuine healing to take place, whether or not you are ready and willing to express yourself to others. You don’t need special skills, tools or lots of time and you don’t need to be a writer. Any notebook will do. Journal writing is an excellent coping strategy to express thoughts that may be uncomfortable, it can decrease stress, help to level out your emotions, and increase your sense of gratitude and optimism. You are writing for yourself, not others. Often, journal prompts can help get in touch with what might be showing up for you so you can better show up for your healing.

Journaling about your grief is a safe way to let out your feelings, thoughts and emotions as well as remember, taking a closer look at your grief related memories and experiences rather than avoiding them. If thoughts or memories become deeply troubling, some situations are best explored with the help of a professional grief counselor.

Here are a few journal writing prompts:
The hardest time of day is…. .
I find it helpful when….
My favorite memory of my loved one is….
The things I miss most…
The things I miss most…

“Give sorrow words; the grief that does not speak knits up the o-er wrought heart and bids it break” - William Shakespeare

- Renee Mullins, MSW, CSW, Bereavement Counselor

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