How a Grief Journal Can Help

For me, journaling has always been one of the ways I get the thoughts out of the vastness of my head. I am the kind of person who thinks about everything. But the problem is all those thoughts swirl around in my head constantly. Even when I am sleeping. To the point I used to keep a pad of paper by the bed so I could wake up and write thoughts down so I wouldn’t forget them. This is no way to live. So many years ago I took up journaling. I did this for two reasons. The first reason was to get all these thoughts out of my head and onto paper. Once they got onto paper my head didn’t swirl as much. The second was that it allowed me to speak my truth. I found if I wrote my thoughts down in my journal first, I had a better chance of saying what I needed to say later. As a result, my communication skills improved.

So when my best friend died and the grief hit me, the swirl in my head started. I couldn’t eat. I couldn’t sleep. I couldn’t focus. I had so many questions. I started analyzing everything I had done (or hadn’t done) and said (or hadn’t said). This started to drive me crazy. No one wanted to talk to me about her suicide so I felt alone and isolated. I grabbed my journal and used it to sort things out. It became my “grief journal” and surprisingly it really helped. It opened up the door to my emotions. It let me talk about the things I couldn’t talk about with anyone else. It also let me talk to my best friend.


Here are some of the reasons to start a grief journal:

Gets It Out. Keeping everything inside when you are grieving is tough. But sometimes you are forced to do this since other people aren’t prepared to deal with your sadness. Consequently, these feeling end up with nowhere to go. Getting them out of your head and down on paper can provide you with great relief. Writing in a grief journal gives you the opportunity to write about how you are feeling the moment you feel it. This is a big improvement over carrying it around in your head for days or weeks or maybe even years at a time.

You Can Be Honest. As humans we all have the need for approval. Sometimes this becomes especially true when you are grieving. As a result, you become less than honest about how you are really doing. You say things like “I’m doing fine” or “I’m so much better” just so you won’t be judged, criticized or analyzed by others. Writing your honest thoughts about how you are really doing in your grief journal keeps it real and does you a world of good.

Relieves Stress. Grief and stress seem to go hand in hand. There is so much going on after your loved one dies. Maybe you have to pull together a memorial service, attend financial meetings with lawyers or maybe you even have to pack up and move to another location. Stress is everywhere. And because grief may be causing you not to sleep, take good care of yourself, focus and concentrate, your stress is magnified one thousand fold. Even the little things throughout the day can become stressful for you. Writing in your grief journal can be a way for you to find relief from stress.

Improves Your Focus. Focus? What focus? I am grieving, for heaven’s sake! On a day-to-day basis everything is competing for your attention, but when grieving your attention is elsewhere. It may not even be on this earth. It may be on your loved one. Writing down lists of things you need to do in your grief journal can help find a way to keep your focus.

Provides Comfort. Writing down things that have helped you through your grief is very helpful. This can be things you read, things people said to you, etc. Reading through what has helped you on your journey (especially on days when you forget) can provide you with a sense of comfort.

It is important to never force yourself to write. If all you can do is a few minutes here and there, then that’s all you should do. Over time you will find that the words and thoughts may just pour out.


Please help me to express how I am feeling in my grief journal.

It’s been hard to find people who will listen to my grief and journaling helps me let go of these emotions.

Guide me and inspire to say what I need to say so I can move forward on my grief journey.

And so it is.


Sending you love, comfort and peace!