3 Ways Non-Writers Can Find Healing Through a Journal

In Writing as a Way of Healing, author Louise DeSalvo says, “I use my writing as a way of fixing things, of making them better, of healing myself.” We know what you might be thinking right now: Writing helps some people but not me. I’m not a writer. Don’t worry—even if you feel this way about writing, this blog is still for you.

Writing can be a healing activity for anyone, and it doesn’t have to be intimidating. When you write to heal, you’re not writing an essay for your high school English class—you’re writing totally for yourself. Consider keeping a journal, and your journal doesn’t need to just talk about what you did that day.

When you write in a journal, there are lots of things you can try. Maybe the first thing you think of is expressive writing where you sit down and write whatever comes into your head without censoring yourself. That’s one way to approach healing writing, but consider trying some of these other ideas:

1. Focus on gratitude

One of the 5 Strategies to Reclaim Hope that participants at The Haven Retreat learn about is Acknowledgement, and a good thing to acknowledge is all of the good that’s happening in your life. In your journal, spend some time writing down things you’re grateful for, and try to be specific. Don’t just say, “I’m grateful for my family.” Say, “I’m grateful for my healthy son who did the dishes today without being asked.” Maybe you can write down one thing every day.

2. Journal a ten-word story about yourself.

If you’re stressed by writing lots of words, try writing just a few. It can be a fun challenge to tell a story with a limited number of words. List positive words that describe you and then try to craft a single sentence that tells a story about you—something like “Sensitive, intelligent heroine looking for a hopeful and inspirational adventure.”

3. Think about the future.

Part of healing is having Faith that things can be different and better than they are now. In your journal, use writing to envision the future you want. Write in vivid detail about what you want your life to look like in one year, five years, or ten years. Think about what is most important to you and write about your future like it will happen.

Variety can be a good way to move forward on your healing journey. If you haven’t tried writing for a while—or if you always do the same thing when you write—try mixing things up. Writing in a journal is a flexible activity, so experiment to find ways it can help you. Give healing writing a chance and see what it can do for you.