How to Use Grief Journaling as a Tool for Healing July 16, 2020

Grief Journaling

Have you ever thought of writing down your feelings in a diary or journal?  There is so much going on in the world yet many are finding themselves with more time on their hands.  When our mind is not busy going from task to task and activity to activity, it can wander and get stuck on a negative grief cycle.  There is no better time than now to give it a try and see the amazing benefits of grief journaling. 

No Experience Required to Grief Journal

Sitting down with a pen and paper sounds like heaven for some and for others it’s like pulling teeth. The good news is you don’t have to be a great writer to benefit from grief journaling. Struggling to process grief will keep you stunted and emotions can get pent up ultimately putting you at risk for mental health issues.  


Let it Out

A healthy approach to confronting unresolved grief is releasing it. Pressure builds up little by little and soon an emotional explosion can happen.  Talking to people, seeing a therapist or joining a grief support group are all fantastic ways to deal with grief. Grief journaling can be another piece of that puzzle on the path to healing. 


Keep it Simple or get creative with your Grief Journal

Grief journaling can be as simple or as complex and creative as you want it to be.  I will share some simple ways to get the ball rolling. The first thing you will need is a medium. As my highschool history teacher used to say, “get out something to write on and a pen, pencil or crayon”.  So that will work here too if you like. I personally enjoy using every different color of fine point pens and markers that exist. My other favorite thing is to go to an office supply or paper store and find eclectic fun journals to write in. Of course over priced notebooks are not necessary. A simple composition notebook will do.  If you prefer you can certainly type your grief journal on your phone or computer. I have done all of the above. It depends what works best for you.


Grief Journal writing prompts

You have your notebook or computer open and ready to write. Now what? A million thoughts run through your head or maybe your mind goes blank.  Here are some prompts that can help you get started.

  • What is it that I need to process? Even though it may seem obvious it might now always be so simple. Naming what you are grieving over is a good first step.
  • What am I feeling? Is the emotion, sadness, anger, hurt, fear? Or all of the above. If so break them each down and own each feeling.
  • What thought (potentially toxic) do I keep coming back to? Once you have discovered a recurring thought start to ask yourself where does it stem from and what is the truth about that thought.
  • My support system includes? Who is a part of your support system and how do they show support to you?


Now Lets Go

Once you choose a prompt, just start writing whatever comes to your mind. Maybe close your eyes and go into your subconscious and write down the first thing you think of. Many times that will prompt a sentence or a full thought. Sometimes it simply prompts another word and then another.  Your grief journal could consist of full thoughts and connected sentences or it could be fragmented words, visuals and memories. 

Make sure to check back every week for more helpful content on grief.

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