I am a firm believer that writing out your feelings about grief is a wonderful tool for developing self-awareness, for expressing emotions, and for cultivating emotional health. Think of writing down your feelings as exercising your emotions. Just like a body will get stiff from inactivity, your feelings can get stuck together until they are formless and unrecognizable to you. By writing them down, you sort them out. You see them for what they are: feelings that arise and come and go and change. The Heartbreak Diary isn't a sob story. It's simply a place to bring feelings out in the open.
Here's a simple sentence completion exercise for anyone who is ready to move to a different place in regard to grief or anyone who wants to imagine what it would be like being in a different place.
Take 3 minutes to write down a series of answers to the following question. Don't think too hard about what you're writing down. Just go with it.
WHAT WILL YOU DO WITHOUT YOUR GRIEF?
I will be happy without guilt.
I will feel more gratitude for life than I ever have previously.
I will be less afraid to take risks.
I will be more compassionate to others who are in pain.
I will let it come visit me sometimes.
I will have a lot of empathy for others with grief that is fresh and new.
I will know that when things are going well, when there is no crisis, life is especially good.
I will treasure my good health and do what I can to be well.
I will know the difference between what matters to me and what does not matter to me.
I will be lighter.
I will not want to suffer again; but I will be prepared to go there.
I will try things I haven't tried before.
I will feel sad about my loss still.
- Jill Schacter
- My wonderful husband died when I was 44 years old. Being widowed this young happens to less than 3% of married people. Writing through this loss one word at time helps me understand what I've lost and helps me continue to grow. It is how I have gradually recovered from such a severe loss. Research shows that you can benefit from taking just 15 minutes a day to write out your deepest feelings as a way of healing. On the right side of this blog, you'll see a tag for Exercises to Try. If you need some help knowing how to use writing to help heal yourself, I suggest you start there.