10 Alternative Point of View Journaling Prompts To Help You Get Unstuck In Grief

By Heather Stang, MA, C-IAYT

Posted: May 25, 2023

If you feel stuck in your grieving process, alternate point-of-view grief journaling prompts can be a much-needed catalyst for emotional breakthroughs and new insights.

As the author of one of From Grief To Peace, one of the most beloved grief journals out there, and as a "journaler" myself, I know firsthand how powerful writing is to help metabolize the difficult narrative and changes that occur after a major loss. 

Freewriting, also known as stream-of-consciousnessis the most common technique when  journaling for grief, and is helpful when you want to record thoughts, feelings, and precious memories.

But if you catch yourself telling the same story over and over - or ruminating - it may be time to switch your point-of-view. In writing there are three perspectives, first person (I, me, my), second person (you, your), third person (he, she, they), and third person omniscient (he, she, they with the narrator being all-seeing). You probably remember this from grade school.

Switching your narration from the standard first person - what you see - gives you access to new angles that can help you feel less "stuck" in your grief, uncover previously unseen details, and reveal a deeper understanding of yourself and those around you.

Instead of writing about the last time you saw your loved one from your perspective, try writing from your loved ones point of view - or from an objective observer's standpoint as if they were an all-knowing observer. This creative exercise allows you to explore your emotions from fresh angles, fosters a deeper understanding of your grief and enables you to process your feelings in new ways.

Members of Awaken, my online grief support program, often express a deep sense of comfort when writing from the perspective of their loved one, and are surprised by the tenderness that emerges when writing through the lens of a compassionate observer. 

Alternate point-of-view journaling can help you develop empathy for yourself and others. By putting yourself in another's shoes, you can gain insight into the emotions and motivations of the people involved in your grief story, allowing for a more nuanced understanding of the situation. This can lead to increased self-compassion and forgiveness, helping you to move forward in your healing journey.

This form of journaling can also encourage personal growth by challenging your thought patterns and beliefs. As you write from different perspectives, you may uncover biases and assumptions you were previously unaware of. By recognizing and addressing these cognitive distortions, you can develop a healthier, more balanced outlook on your grief.

Alternative Point-Of-View Writing Prompts for Grief and Loss

  1. Write a letter from the person who died to you, expressing their feelings about their life, your relationship, and their hopes for you as you move forward.
  2. Imagine that your grief is a separate entity or character. Write a conversation between you and your grief, discussing your emotions, struggles, and the lessons you've learned.
  3. Write a story from the perspective of a close friend or family member who is also grieving the same loss as you. Describe their emotions and how they're coping with the situation.
  4. Write a letter to your future self, reflecting on how you've changed and grown from this experience, and the wisdom you've gained along the way.
  5. Envision a wise, compassionate guide or mentor (real or fictional) offering advice and comfort during this difficult time. Write a dialogue between you and this guide, discussing your emotions and how to cope with your grief.
  6. Write from the perspective of an object or place that holds significance to the deceased or your relationship with them. Describe how this object or place has "witnessed" your grief and the memories it holds.
  7. Imagine a conversation between the person you were before the loss and the person you are now. Explore the changes, growth, and challenges that have occurred as a result of your grief.
  8. Write a poem or short narrative from the perspective of nature (e.g., a tree, the ocean, a mountain) observing and responding to your grief.
  9. Write a scene where you meet someone who has experienced a similar loss. Describe the conversation, the emotions shared, and the insights gained from each other's experiences.
  10. Write a letter to your grief, expressing your gratitude for the lessons and growth it has brought you, and your intentions for moving forward.

These writing prompts can help you access alternative points of view and gain deeper insight into your grief, ultimately fostering healing and personal growth. In summary, alternate point-of-view journaling is a powerful tool that can help you get unstuck in your grieving process by fostering empathy, promoting personal growth, and offering a broader understanding of your emotions. By exploring your feelings from various angles, you can gain the insight and self-compassion necessary to move forward in your healing journey.

Heather Stang, MA, C-IAYT

About the author

Heather Stang, M.A. is the author of Living with Grief and the guided journal, From Grief To Peace. She is the creator of the Mindfulness & Grief System that is featured in the Handbook of Grief Therapies (2023) and is the founder of Awaken, a mindfulness-based online grief support group. Heather also hosts the Mindfulness & Grief Podcast, and offers mindfulness-based grief support online through her organization, the Mindfulness & Grief Institute. She holds a Masters degree in Thanatology (Death, Dying, and Bereavement) from Hood College in Maryland, and is a certified Yoga Therapist. She currently lives in Falling Waters, WV.

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