Writing to Heal
by Vicky Townsend
As you already know, a divorce takes a toll on your emotions. Many feel abandoned, hopeless, guilty, stressed and a wealth of negative emotions. One way I and many others have started our healing process is through the act of writing. This can take several forms. I can’t tell you what will work best for you. I suggest you try several options and see what helps you the most.
The first is the getting it out of your head and onto the paper method. This is where you save up your negative emotions and spill them onto the paper. The purpose is to not dwell on them all day, but to give yourself permission to let them fly onto the paper at a certain time of day. This also helps you avoid taking out the emotions on innocent bystanders such as your co-workers or even worse, your children.
The next method is almost the opposite of the first. It’s called a gratitude journal. This is my personal favorite and something I do every evening before bed. It helps me feel like my life has peace and comfort in it. The purpose of this journal is to keep you focused on the positive and not the negative. Every evening (or morning if that works better for you) you write down at least three things you are grateful for. Read it every day…and then, re-read it. It’s really hard to be miserable when you have so much to be thankful for. If you can’t think of anything, just write down that you opened your eyes today, or that you are breathing. You get the picture.
The third option is simply a mix of the two. Write down whatever you’re feeling. Good, bad, apathetic, sick, tired, frustrated, happy, thrilled, or stressed. One of the benefits of journaling is being able to go back and see how far you’ve progressed.
Shortly after your divorce you may find yourself with a host of dark days and only a few positive entries. But as time goes on you may be surprised to see how that turns around. You’ll have more positive days and fewer bad ones. This can be encouraging to see how you’re moving forward. It can act as a reality check if you find yourself wallowing instead of pushing on.
What type of journal should you buy?
I admit I love journals. When I pick up a leather covered journal filled with textured paper my heart goes pitter patter. However, as much as I love them; they can feel intimidating to write in. I worry that my words aren’t equal to the awesome vessel I’m holding.
I have one nice, soft buttery leather journal, but I have others. I stock up on cheap spirals during back to school sales, or I get them at the events I attend. I feel no intimidation writing my random thoughts in such notebooks. I can’t begin to count how many of this type of notebook I’ve filled with my musings.
How often should you write in your journal?
I found that setting a certain time once a day helped me stay on track with my journaling. It was easier for me to write at the end of the day but others find that first thing in the morning works better.
The secret is to find out what works best for you.
Give journaling a try for at least one full month and see if it helps you.
You may enjoy the act of writing so much that you decide to start an online blog about your journey. I have a friend that did that, and it changed her life. (so much so, she’s got an agent that is shopping her crazy fun blog about her life after divorce to a bunch of networks, check out www.TheTruthHurvitz.com)
I’d like to thank photographer Joel Montes for this amazing photo. You can find more of his works here: https://www.flickr.com/photos/joelmontes/4762384399/