Feelings need to be heard or they can turn into physical or psychological symptoms. In fact, many studies indicate that over 75 % of mental health problems and physical illnesses comes from our thought life. Stress plays a large part of this. Unheard or unprocessed emotions are stressful for the body.
One way of hearing your emotions is by writing about them. Of course, we can never write painful events out of our lives, even if that sometimes would be preferable. But writing about difficult events can start the healing by helping get emotional closure and lessen their emotional charge, gaining some distance and making the event and associated feelings more graspable.
This can be done among other thing by going through the time line of the event as in the exercise of Monday logging all events and moments you remember and at the same time writing about the feelings and associated needs and reactions that emerge, including what you would like to happen. It is important to accept all feelings that emerge without shame or judgement. Instead, acknowledge the reason for every emotion that occur, if understandable, or otherwise just accept the feelings as they are.
One method for this is the psychologist Pennebaker’s exercise, a way to help people deal with difficult events their lives that in repeated studies has been shown to help improve health and well-being in various studies.
Remember, if you know that you are suffering from a serious trauma or feeling very resistant to this exercise you should not do this by yourself but together with a licensed therapist:
Think of an event or worry that has been most on your mind recently. Set aside at least 15 minutes at the end of the day for 4 days in a row to write about your thoughts and feelings about that specific problem. As you write, don’t pause or second-guess yourself, just write without stopping.
#feelingsexercise #reframing #affectawareness #emotionalclosure #pennebakerexercise