Label Your Emotions When You Write
Many people religiously journal. The purpose may be to document what happened, to get-it-off-the-chest, to vent, to have a space to express privately.
If it serves you, wonderful. Please continue journaling.
However note that journaling doesn’t help decrease suffering unless it meets few conditions.
One, when we are writing a painful incident down, during the process of writing we are very much in our mind and body. In NLP terms, we call this being associated with the event. We are feeling and reacting to the event in question.
You become dissociated when you read what you have written. I note most journal writers do not read their entries.
Two, the fact that you expressed your viewpoint legitimizes and validates your story, your take on that incident.
However all viewpoints are but stories created by selective perception of events, an experience born out of deletion of certain aspects of that event. When you privilege one story over the other, you strengthen your attachment and association with that issue. You continue to suffer its negative memory.
To cease to suffer, is to sever the anchor to that unresourceful memory.
Three, often journal writers describe events and blame others for certain actions or words. The entry is about what others should have done. Unfortunately, no matter how many times you write, others will not change. What is more important, you writing this story in this specific way repeatedly will not help you resolve your issue.
The first step of owning your experience of the situation is to observe how you feel about it and label it. Label the emotion that you sense, know its contours. When you label your emotions when you write, you will find the intensity of emotions has decreased in your body. You can think clearly and wisely.
In my Writing as Therapy workshop, I demonstrate the above through live exercises and help you journal better. I also show how to recover deleted parts of a story and write the Other Memoir as well as how to write about trauma.
This and many more techniques to help you use writing as your personal therapist.
Writing as Therapy
One day workshop in Bengaluru, July 15, 10 am – 5 pm
Venue: Chili Pili Loka (Quest Alliance), 108, 6th Cross, 2nd Main Road, 1st Block, Koramangala
Call: +91 9886602117
(July 14: Nurturing a Relationship with Writing, 10 am -5pm, Bengaluru. Venue same as above)
[I will be conducting it in Hyderabad and Mumbai soon. Email firstname.lastname@example.org for information.]
For full training calendar, click here.