Why Writing Works!

You're upset but don't feel like reaching out. So you keep to those feelings to yourself or shove them aside. But those feelings don't go away.

This is the perfect time to try writing. It's a quick way to vent and you don't have to worry about the other person's reaction. 

Talking to a friend, getting some exercise, and taking a break are all great options but they take planning. Writing is something that you can do alone. It provides relief - and it works. 

Writing gets to the root of the emotion

Feelings aren't fun. 

If feelings weren't validated, you probably learned to ignore them. But they eventually leak out because you can't hold them in anymore.

When you can get to the root of the problem quickly, you feel empowered. You can face your past and start to heal. Writing does that.

How writing helps

The next time you feel upset get out a notebook. Start writing whatever thoughts come to mind.

Don't worry about the grammar or spelling because it'll slow you down and keep you in your head. Writing is about expressing yourself freely without hesitation. Don't think too much. 

Writing things out lessens anxiety. Doing it before bed improves sleep because it empties your mind. This is great when you have a busy day and you can't let go of the details. Once it's on paper, you can let it go!

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Get to the trigger

Writing provides clarity about what's happening in the moment. You get to the heart of the problem because you don't have to censor yourself.

When you know what you're really upset about, you can find a solution.

Example: 

Your husband is late and you notice that your feelings are a bit intense for the situation.

You start writing and remember that your dad was late a lot as a child. You felt like he was never really there for you - and that's where you go emotionally  when your husband is late.

Writing helps you recognize when the present situation is triggering past hurts that haven't been healed.

Those unexpressed emotions (from the past) are causing you to overreact. Once you deal with those, your reactions in the present get less intense. You feel more aligned with today.

When you find yourself getting upset, here are some questions to get you started.

Helpful questions 

  • Why is this situation so upsetting? 
  • What assumptions are you making that you need to check out?
  • Is this bringing up anything from the past that's unresolved? 
  • Are your emotions more intense than the situation?
  • What does this remind of you?
  • What do you need to do to take care of yourself? 

These questions clarify patterns that keep you stuck. Getting to the original upset means tracing the emotion back to a past event. If there is no past event, trace the feelings to whatever comes up.

Example:

Your spouse tends to interrupt you during arguments. This infuriates you and leads to a yelling match. You're shocked at how mad you get but don't know why.

Writing gets to the original upset. Keep writing. If you still have trouble, use this statement. 

"I feel afraid because...." fill in the blank. Why afraid? Because fear is often underneath hurt and anger.

Repeat this sentence until you get to a memory that's connected to the present issue. It'll feel like an ah-ha moment. That awareness pushes you to grow!

Now you know what the original problem is and what's causing the intensity.

Benefits of writing

Writing helps you get you back to center. You can't do that when emotions are running wild or being stuffed. Relationships get easier when you can handle difficult feelings and take care of yourself. Knowing your triggers can decrease everyday reactions because you know where your upset is coming from versus getting lost in all that emotion. 

How does writing help you? Leave a comment! I'd love to hear from you.