How can keeping a journal help me cope with grief?

Can writing about your grief help ease it and improve your health? While some studies haven't found a benefit, others have found that disclosing deep emotions through writing has positive effects on immune function, mood and well-being, and even grades at college. Confiding otherwise bottled-up feelings helps some people relieve stress, which chips away at well-being by ratcheting up blood pressure, heart rate, and muscle tension. This technique seems to work best for people who don't normally talk much about their emotions. If you wish to try journal writing, here are some guidelines to keep in mind:
  • Deeply troubling situations, such as suicide or a violent death, are best explored with an experienced therapist. Otherwise, you can proceed on your own.
  • You may cry or feel deeply upset by this exercise. Nonetheless, many people find journal writing valuable and meaningful and report feeling relief afterward.
  • Truly let go. Write down what you feel and why you feel that way. You're writing for yourself, not others. Don't worry about grammar or sentence structure.
  • Try writing for 15 to 30 minutes a day for three to four days or as long as a week if you feel writing continues to be helpful. Alternatively, try writing for 15 to 30 minutes once a week for a month. An analysis of multiple studies on journal writing that appeared in The Journal of Consulting Clinical Psychology showed that writing has stronger effects when it extends over more days.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.