Divorce is an emotionally exhausting process. No two people heal from it the same way. Some seek therapy, others look to their friends and family for support. Research suggests that adding journaling to your post-divorce healing could be beneficial – but only if you do it a certain way.
Findings to be published in the journal Psychosomatic Medicine: Journal of Biobehavioral Medicine suggest that narrative journaling could be a useful tool for divorcees. The findings are based on a study of 109 separated and divorced men and women who split from their partners an average of three months before the start of the study. The participants were split into three groups. One group was told to write about their most deeply held feelings about their relationship and separation. A second group was told to write their feelings, but in a format with a beginning, middle and end. A third group was asked to write non-emotionally about their day-to-day activities during the study.
The study found that those in the second group were found to have lower heart rates than those in the other groups. They also had higher heart rate variability. Both of these traits are associated with good physical health. Essentially, by writing about their divorces in a story-like format, divorcees were found to have better stress management and lower stress in general.
So, even if you’ve never written a story in your life, journaling in a narrative format, with a beginning, middle and end, can contribute to a more positive outcome for your physical as well as emotional health.