Updated: Sep 13, 2019
Despite the fact that depression and grief are universal, we live in a society that perpetuates stigmas against mental health, leaving many to suffer alone, in silence. As children, we are taught to “suck up” our sadness and not to bother others with our emotions. As adults, we often feel a responsibility to be strong for others. In the end, this conditions us to lifetime of grief avoidance, where we don’t take the time to fully process our feelings and allow ourselves to heal.
Writing can be a relaxing coping method that can help people sort out emotions. Here are a few prompts to guide a journey to healing:
My loved one had a way of making me feel…
Reflect on your favorite memories with your loved one.
Attempt to recall the scene in as much detail as possible. What season was it? What did the air/room smell like? What were you wearing?
I can honor my loved one by….
Browse through different quotes, poetry and passages to find something that represents your loved one.
Plan a trip to locations that were special to them. You don’t actually have to travel to that location, but write about how you would spend the day with them. Where would you go? What would you talk about? What snacks would you share?
Is anyone else hurt by this loss? I can help them by…
Make a list of all the people who may also be grieving from this loss.
Write a letter to them. You don’t have to give it to them, but it can help to put your empathy on paper.
I’ve really been struggling with….
Think of your behavior. What have you observed about your coping mechanisms? Looking at these habits can help you identify and process the emotion behind them. Make the connections through your writing.
Write a comforting letter to yourself, as if you were consoling a friend.
I’m surprised by how much I feel …
Grief is a tricky thing and you may find yourself surprised by the emotions you experience. Keep a journal tracking your grief journey over time. Don’t be discouraged if you have a bad day, after making some progress. Keep in mind that healing is not linear.
Unfortunately, grief is a thing everyone experiences at some point. Reading about others’ bereavement process can help you to feel understood and give your some perspective in navigating your own journey through grief.
Remember to let go as you journal, and write freely, without editing yourself.