Why Affirmation Writing Helps Grief Healing

Grief experts recommend writing as a healing tool because it works. Putting your thoughts in writing makes them real and, more important, validates your thoughts. I started writing one-sentence affirmations after four family members died in 2007 and have been writing them ever since. Affirmation writing has many benefits and there are some of them.

Affirmation writing promotes positive thinking. Negative thoughts will come to mind as you think of affirmations. You can consciously turn these negative thoughts to positive ones. Instead of thinking, “I feel so alone” you may turn this around and write “I am blessed to have had my loved one in my life.”

Writing affirmations is a proactive step. I know bereaved people who sat around and waited for someone to rescue them, a self-defeating idea. Affirmation writing can be a way to rescue yourself. As your collection of affirmations grows, life may start to look brighter. You are taking steps to heal yourself and this is empowering.

You clear clutter from your mind. Writing involves word choices and affirmation writing requires positive words. I write one-sentence affirmations because they’re easy to remember. In her book, One to One: Self-Understanding Through Journal Writing, Christina Baldwin recommends writing about grief. “We emerge from the grieving process changed people, people who carry the reality of our experience and our grief forward with us into the rest of our lives.”

Affirmations take less time than journal and diary entries. Keeping a journal require an entry every few days, whereas keeping a diary requires daily entries, which is a time-consuming task. Affirmation writing takes less effort and may suit your schedule best. You may also see it as a form of self-help.

Positive words nudge you forward on the recovery path. Negative thoughts can slow grief healing, whereas positive thoughts can promote it. Slowly, you begin to see a future and this is reassuring. Indeed, the future may look brighter than you imagined. Our departed loved ones would want us to enjoy each day of our lives.

You can write affirmations anywhere. Affirmations can be mental, but it’s wise to put them on paper. I write them in the car, in the grocery store, in a hospital waiting room, when I’m watching television – any time inspiration strikes. The minute you have an affirmation idea, write it on scratch paper, an old envelope, a cash register receipt – whatever is handy. Later, when you have more time, you may enter your affirmation into a computer file.

Over time, affirmation writing can lead to a new life. Grief expert Judy Tatelbaum, author of The Courage to Grief, thinks affirmations cam become a self-fulfilling prophesy. “The most important rule for making an affirmation is that you desire whatever it is you affirm,” she writes. She recommends saying affirmations out loud several times a day. Another recommendation is to write the same affirmation 10 to 15 times to imprint it in your mind. Her example: “I have the courage to live alone now that my spouse is gone.” In other words, your affirmations may become your goals.

Try writing affirmations if you haven’t tried it before. Writing affirmations may discover surprising things about yourself. Sentence by sentence, you may create a foundation for the happy life you hope to have. The love you have, and will always have, for the family member who died is part of this life, and that is a blessing.

 

 

 

 

Harriet Hodgson

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Harriet Hodgson has been a freelancer for 38 years, is the author of 36 books, and thousands of print/Internet articles. She is a member of the Association of Health Care Journalists, Minnesota Coalition for Grief Education and Support, and Grief Coalition of Southeastern Minnesota. In 2007 four of her family members died—her daughter (mother of her twin grandchildren), father-in-law, brother (and only sibling), and the twins’ father. Multiple losses shifted the focus of Hodgson’s work from general health to grief resolution and recovery, and she is the author of eight grief resources. Hodgson has appeared on more than 185 radio talk shows, including CBS Radio, dozens of blog talk radio programs, and dozens of television stations, including CNN. In addition to writing for Open to Hope, Hodgson is a contributing writer for The Grief Toolbox website, and The Caregiver Space website. A popular speaker, she has given presentations at public health, Alzheimer’s, hospice, grief, and caregiving conferences. Hodgson’s work is cited in Who’s Who of American Women, World Who’s Who of Women, Contemporary Authors, and other directories. For more information about this busy wife, grandmother, author and family caregiver, please visit www.harriethodgson.com.

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