Does Journaling Help After A Breakup? Experts Explain The Benefits Of This Simple Habit
Post-breakup emotions can be super overwhelming. It can be hard to focus or think clearly when you’re feeling so much at once. If you’re looking for a way to process these emotions, and feel like yourself again, you might want to try journaling. At first you, might wonder if journaling helps after a breakup. But according to Elle Huerta, breakup expert and founder of the breakup app Mend, it does.You may just have to stick with it for a bit. Huerta says, "Research shows that regularly reflecting on how you’re coping with your breakup in a structured way reduces post-breakup loneliness and distress because it helps you redefine your sense of self." She stresses that regularly journaling about your breakup for set amounts of time can really help your healing.
"It’s also a really great way to practice letting go," Huerta says, "and release the thoughts and emotions that have built up during a breakup." Another study shows that writing specifically about your breakup is the most healing way to journal. Huerta recommends journaling specifically about your split because writing helps you process emotions and get clarity on your thoughts. When you experience complicated feelings, it can be hard to pull apart all of the different thoughts you might have about what you’re going through. By sitting down to journal, you are taking the time to slow your mind down, and really think slowly about different aspects of your current experience.
If you don’t know where to start, don’t worry! Huerta has provided helpful guidelines for journaling so that you can make it a habit that helps you heal.
Focus on the silver linings in your writing.
When it comes to journaling, you may stare at the blank page wondering what to write. Huerta recommends that you look at it like you are crafting your own story. Start with how you are feeling, and go from there. If you feel stumped, Huerta offers the following questions that can guide you along the way.
- "What have you learned?"
- "How have you grown?"
- "How have you turned a negative experience into a positive one?"
Make it a habit.
If it seems like this may be an emotional task, that’s because it definitely can be. However, that isn’t a bad thing! Because journaling about a breakup can uncover some difficult emotions, Huerta explains that you should choose a certain time of day to do this activity. "Writing about your breakup brings up emotions," she explains, "so find the best time of day that doesn’t interfere with your school or work schedule." Your lunch break might not be the best time to write about your breakup because it could ruin the rest of your work day. Journaling can definitely be a healing practice if it doesn’t negatively impact other areas of your life.
Huerta explains that journaling about a breakup works best when it becomes a habit. You can do this by choosing a set amount of time to write each time. Huerta says that 15 minutes is a great goal. You don’t need to write for too long because you don’t want to get stuck dwelling on your thoughts. "If 15 minutes feels like too much, you can start with five and work up from there. It’s all about what works for you," she explains. You can journal as often as you’d like, but according to one study, participants showed signs of reduced distress after four consecutive days of journaling.
Don’t worry about length, spelling or punctuation.
Journaling is just for you, so the important part is just that you write. Huerta stresses that you don’t have to worry about grammar or punctuation — just write. Try not to place expectations on yourself and just see what you end up needing to say.
If you’re reading this, you’re already taking steps towards processing your post-breakup emotions. Breakups can be hard but you can definitely get through this challenging time. In a few months, your journals can even give you proof of how much you can really handle.
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