Writing prompts for coping with chronic illness

writingA little reflective writing can have a transformative impact in chronic illness. Maybe you need to work something out or your mind feels a little chaotic. Perhaps you just need a break.

Writing is a proven therapeutic technique and various studies have examined its impact in people with chronic illness. The general consensus is that writing can help you work through some of the very normal and typical issues related to the life change a diagnosis can bring and leave you feeling more positive, less stressed and maybe even healthier.

Consider setting aside some time every day to write. One of the writing prompts below can help you get started with or continue this potentially beneficial practice.

  1. Reflect on difficult periods or events you’ve navigated in your life. How did you overcome them? Think through what helped you, who or what supported you and what you gained from the experience.
  2. Find a poem that you like. Write about it. Need inspiration? Check out this article about poetry and chronic illness.
  3. Think about how you view living with purpose. Has chronic illness impacted that? What does purpose mean to you today? And what did it mean in the past? What might purpose look like for you in the future? If it helps, read other peoples’ writings on purpose. Or, try this exercise from Elephant Journal on writing a Life Purpose Statement.
  4. What does healing mean to you? What did it mean before compared to after your diagnosis? Do you play a role in your own healing? What roles do others play? What might be missing from your healing journey?
  5. Has your illness provided you with any gifts? What positive changes has it brought to your life? Are there unexpected benefits? Have you learned things about yourself?


If you enjoyed those prompts, you might want to check out: “Tips for Creating a Great Chronic Illness Blog.”


Kelli Yoder, Publishing Editor
Kelli Yoder has a bachelor's degree from Goshen (Ind.) College and a graduate degree from Elon (N.C.) University.

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