When someone has left our lives, it is devastating on so many levels. There is so much to process and to talk through. Your friends listen and try to help but they don’t know what to say, are busy and drift back to their lives.
Your life, however, can not just “move on”, the old is gone. Loss forces you to reevaluate life, to give it meaning and choose how to rebuild moving forward. To do that, most of us need to review our story over and over, to see how the puzzle pieces of life fit and the picture they create. How do you work that out without wearing out your support people? Buy a notebook and write and journal how you feel.
The Benefits of a Notebook
You might not know that expressive writing and journal therapy are recognized methods widely used by therapists, especially for loss and trauma. Whether you use an inexpensive $1.99 spiral notebook or a beautiful leather journal, it is one of the easiest and cheapest self-help tools. You can even buy an unlined version to add drawings or pictures.
A Brain Dump
It is where you can dump out the unedited heartaches, confusion, struggles and sadness. It is where you can write all the things you long for and wanted more of, what you wish was different or better. Every relationship has ups and downs and it is where you can write about the good, but also safely vent the bad and the ugly (ensure it is kept in a private place). You can write about what you are grateful for and what you regret. One day you might want to write a, “I forgive you for …” and/or, “Will you forgive me for…” letter, just to express things finally.
Writing helps you to get the unresolved and unsaid emotions out of your body so they don’t get stuck there and negatively affect your health.
It is a where you can express the challenges of rebuilding a new life. Your journaling will help you to sort out how to adjust your life. But it’s also a place to note the small and big kindness that come your way on this challenging journey. That remembering can help us on the hard days.
A Culture in a Hurry
In a culture that avoids loss and grief and wants to speed us through it, people can unwittingly try to hurry us along with, “You’ll be okay,” “Don’t think about it”, “God won’t give you more then you can bear”. But this is not helpful. You need time to process your feelings and your journal does not judge you. That is where you can tell your story over and over as you refine your understanding of your loss. Slowly the pain losses its power. Journaling is your free private therapy session.
Even though there are so many benefits of writing and journaling, there are people who are verbal processors and a therapist is helpful but even working with a therapist, your journal will help you find clarity and optimize your sessions. People who are kinetic may want to add activities like chopping wood, dancing, playing drums or jogging to their writing for a fuller personal expression. In early grief, some people do not have the energy to journal but find it immensely helpful later.
May I encourage you to give it a try. An inexpensive journal can be an amazing tool to help you more easily find your unique way forward.
Love and Hugs,
If you are facing loss, find out the best ways to renew your resilience in a complimentary coaching session with me. Contact me through my resouces page or e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org
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