Feeling can be messy, especially when it concerns the hard parts of life. Like loss. Or illness. Which are similar because illness does involve loss in one way or another.
But those feelings? The ones that surround loss and sickness?
They can be scary things. So painful.
Have you ever been afraid that if you started crying you’d never stop?
I know that fear. It caused me to stuff emotions so I could avoid actually feeling them.
But did it make those emotions go away? No. They hung around because I never dealt with them. They even affected how my life unfolded. The decisions I made. The things I did.
Feeling is one of the keys to a healthy life
Because feeling is a necessary part of getting through life. Oh, we can put it off. But in the end, the piper must be paid.
That is, if we want a healthy life.
Grief was hard for me. A dark cloud of sorrow followed me wherever I went but even so, I tried hard not to feel into it. What I finally realized was that as long as I avoided feeling my grief, that black cloud would stick with me. Once I began to feel and even express grief, only then could I begin to heal.
I think it’s that way with sickness, too. I have friends with Crohn’s, with lupus, with MS who write about it, and in the writing, they feel. Sure, those feelings are messy. But these sharers are miles ahead of those who try to avoid it.
Expressing feelings helps with side effects & symptoms
I know a bunch of people undergoing cancer treatment. Those who talk about it, refer to it, share about it seem to do better than those who don’t. Some people may not want to read social media posts about those feelings, but expressing them seems to be helpful. Doctors and researchers are beginning to see the healing value of expression, too.
A small study of breast cancer patients divided them in three groups. One wrote about their deepest fears, including dying. Another wrote about the positive things that came from their disease. The third group was asked to just write facts about their treatment. The groups who wrote about their feelings had fewer symptoms and doctor visits–by 1/3.
Will writing cure disease? No. Expression is not a substitute for medical treatment. But it CAN support healing in important ways and at the very least, can help ease anxiety.
What if you could have fewer symptoms and doctor visits?
That’s what inspired the development of my supportive products at A Healing Spirit. Most of us know that affirmations can be powerful, so it’s no surprise that my healing affirmation deck is popular. If you’re fighting a disease like Crohn’s, IBS, cancer, M.S. or another challenging issue, positive, healing thoughts support your efforts to deal with your reality. We know that.
Guided Journals are a newer thing. They ask you to respond to questions. The responses allow you to express your feelings–both the hard ones and the happy. Not everyone likes to write, but there are other ways to use the journal. If you’re lucky enough to draw or paint, you can do that. I like to make little collages to respond to some of the prompts. I’ll cut things out of magazines and use mementos to respond.
The guided journals–one for healing and one for grief–are 5×7 and bound to lay flat. They’re portable. You can take a healing journal to treatment to focus on healing or to doctor visits when you expect a long wait. You can use a grief journal privately to express overwhelming grief.
To show you how to use a guided journal, I made a short video to show you how you can collage or draw to express your deepest feelings. You’ll find it on each of the guided journal pages. (I’m risking total embarrassment, because I am the world’s worst artist.)
All of these beautiful, helpful products can be found at A Healing Spirit.
Got questions? Email me at carol (at) ahealingspirit.org
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