Keeping a Journal actually reduces stress!
Good news! A scientifically proven method for relieving stress is, literally within your grasp: grab a pen and write. You need to reflect on your situation and explore your thoughts and feelings in-depth in a process called expressive writing. You don’t have to share your words with anyone; you write for your eyes only. Spelling, punctuation and grammar don’t matter. What matters is that you…translate your emotional experiences into language. (Barg The Fearless Caregiver p 178)
Writing does its magic by bringing us into the present. Keep a daily journal. Write down anything and everything that comes to mind. A good writing exercise is to keep the pen on the paper for 10 minutes, continuously writing. It doesn’t matter what you write; keep at it and you’ll see that it gets easier…and leads to more writing.
When you embark on an expressive writing session, you might consider treating it as a sacred time by lighting a candle. Your writing medium is a personal choice. If you write on a computer don’t edit…just write write write and let your deep-down hidden feelings easily float to the surface.
This exercise can be combined with the life storytelling. Here you are telling your own story. Some recommended topics are: “what life means to me,” or “what makes life worth living.” If you begin with the end in mind, a good place to start is to write your eulogy today.
Wondrous things can happen with this exercise. You can review your yesterdays and preview your tomorrows. By that I mean if the person being revealed to you as you write is not to your liking, you still have the time to become the person you would enjoy writing about – a preview of things to come! And in reviewing your life, you begin to credit yourself for all your accomplishments. You begin to affirm your gifts and track the continuum of your growth and development.
A Eulogy speaks to the essence of you, what defines you as the unique individual that you are…The word eulogy means “good words.” (Cochran, Last Rights 7)
Seeing your eulogy project as a life review may make it easier, but remember, we all have to keep a certain sense of humor about this work. Use this exercise (and it really is one of the most valuable in this entire book) as a growth experience. Where do you want to go with your life? Let the exercise grow as you develop it; don’t just do it once and leave it at that. What an opportunity you have here! If he’s open to it, help your loved one with the same exercise: recording and having fun with the creating of his eulogy.
Caregiver Revolution :For families, loved ones and professionals who want to change caregiving into a positive, life affirming experience.