Art therapy, music therapy and pet therapy are all familiar and accepted forms of therapy.Another form of therapy that is gaining in popularity is journaling.
The therapeutic power of getting your thoughts down on paper has now been linked to everything from decreasing depression to better stress management.
For family caregivers of a loved one living with a disability or chronic illness: writing can help to express the fears, sadness and stress that the caregiving role can create in your daily life.
Starting a journal isn’t hard to do, and it doesn’t take a lot of time. Here is a simple five-step process to help you get started:
1. Write for 20 minutes per day for four days.
2. Write about a major conflict or stressor in your life, something personal and important; you can write about the same one four times, or write about different ones.
3. Write without stopping; don’t worry about spelling and grammar.
4. Write this for your eyes only.
5. If writing about something makes you unbearably upset, stop.
After you’ve made it through this process, you can move on to develop your own style of journaling. Most experts suggest a stream of consciousness journal. They recommend just using a plain spiral notebook so you won’t feel like the contents have to be pretty. Then just write whatever comes to mind. Don’t filter your thoughts or worry about polishing your grammar.
When you first start writing each day, you will probably find the first few minutes of your time will be spent documenting the activities of your day. Once you relax, your subconscious will take over and you will find yourself writing about your real struggles, fears and emotions from the day.
Give it a try! Journaling is a great outlet for coping with the challenges of caring for a loved one.