When bad things have happened

If you have had a traumatic experience, or have avoided dealing with an upsetting topic or situation that has plagued or worried you for years, there is an effective fix that can get you on the road to recovery. It is called expressive writing and works like this:

  1. Commit 20 minutes a day – for 4 consecutive days
  2. Then in a quiet, private place, and write for 20 minutes a day for 4 consecutive days
    • Make it personal and private
    • Ignore grammar and misspellings
    • Be honest – are you happy ,sad, glad, mad or all of the above?
    • Be reflective not corrective (Don’t try to fix what is bothering you but rather write about what is bothering you.)
    • Only write about what you can handle thinking about – sometimes dealing with a fresh hurt or pain is too intense.
  3. Optional step: Write about same topic from the perspective of others involved . . . tricky but helpful, if you choose to do so.

notebook-731212__180Expressive writing is a concrete action, which is a much better way to deal with problems and challenges than ignoring them and ruminating about the dark situations and sides of our lives. For a video about emotional writing, and additional instructions and insights on how to do it, click here.

Research shows that emotional writing may leave you feeling sad immediately after you write (This is similar to how a sad movie might make you feel.), or you may cry while writing; both are normal and okay.  But, if writing  causes you major distress, simply stop and try again at another time when you feel more ready to explore your feelings.

Expressive writing will leave you feeling happier and healthier. Studies show the positive effects can impact immune functions and last for months and maybe even a lifetime, if you continue the writing as needed.

Pick up a pen and paper, find a cozy spot and write to change your life. It’s free, takes very little time, and may reward you with peace of mind and a much more positive perspective on life.

James W Pennebaker, Ph.D., and Professor at University of Texas at Austin is a leader in the research on this topic. Click here to visit his web page and learn more on the topic.

Gain

FEAR P. Robson www wishfulthinkingworks com

 

 

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Your life story . . .

Life story

Your life grows in direct proportion to how much and how often you let your fears direct it. Recognizing and examining your fears is a good thing, letting them control your every move and your emotions is not.

Take time to figure out who you are, what you want and how you want to be remembered, and then honor those insights with attention and action. Let that knowledge direct your actions, not your fears.

And, that is how you create the life you really want.

Enjoy!

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Dealing with the difficult

10155870_10153163026192264_5380110213652015956_nAs hard as it is for me to fully accept that difficulties can hold rewards, especially when I am in the midst of the pain and chaos, everytime I am open to that possibility, if even for a moment, I come out happier.

I don’t believe we need hard times to make us stronger or to appreciate the good times, and I am not a believer in “looking for a silver lining” (Click here to find out why.), but I do believe that we can learn from every situation – good or bad, especially when we are open to it.

Have a great day, and breathe . . .

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Dialing down your fear meter – redux

Something to think about . . . from Eckhart Tolle’s The Power of Now . . .

“The psychological condition of fear is divorced from any concrete and true immediate danger.”

Hmm. “The psychological condition of fear is divorced from any concrete and true immediate danger.”  How many times are we in real life or death or seriously scary situations and how many times do we create (exaggerate) them in our minds?

“It [fear] comes in many forms: unease, worry, anxiety, nervousness, tension, dread, phobia, and so on. This kind of psychological fear is always of something that might happen, not of something that is happening now.” The Power of Now

When you catch yourself raising your fear meter by imagining negative or disastrous outcomes . . .

  1. Take a deep breath.
  2. Note that the situation you are thinking of is scary to you – “Wow, I’m more worried about this than I realized.” (Be honest with yourself; keying in and admitting you are afraid can quickly reduce the stress you are feeling by interrupting your negative thought process.)
  3. Take another deep breath.
  4. Do something physical to switch gears. Move! Get up. Stretch. Rollover. Sit up. Walk away. Turn around or shimmy, shake, hop, skip or jump yourself away from your fear. :-) (Making yourself smile never hurts.)
  5. Repeat as necessary, and don’t be discouraged if you have to repeat these steps often, because that means you are serious about change!

MH900387812Later when you aren’t worrying about the topic, you can review the situation by brainstorming your options, assessing your strengthsrecalling pass successes dealing with tough situations – and why they worked, predicting a positive outcome (Try it; it can work wonders.), and then you can decide how, or if,  you need to deal with the situation.

But for now, learning to interrupt your thought cycle is all you need to do to dial down your fear meter and gain some peace of mind!

Let me know if this works for you! It always makes me feel better – if I remember to do it!

PS This post is updated from its original posting on Wishful Thinking Works in 2013.

Weekend stress relief

Feeling stressed? You can find relief this weekend by lying down, breathing deeply, and listening to an hour of relaxing music. This 2013 HealthDay News story notes that listening to music may be as positive a mood enhancer as getting a massage . . . and it’s much less expensive.

A new study shows that patients, on average, had half the symptoms of anxiety three months after getting a series of 10 [one] hour-long massages. But researchers were surprised to find that massages didn’t reduce anxiety anymore than lying down and listening to enjoyable music.

“We were surprised to find that the benefits of massage were no greater than those of the same number of sessions of … listening to relaxing music,” Karen J. Sherman, a senior investigator at Group Health Research Institute, said in a news release from the institute. “This suggests that the benefits of massage may be due to a generalized relaxation response.”

The study is the first to examine the effectiveness of massage as a treatment for patients with generalized anxiety disorder.

The researchers randomly assigned 68 patients with anxiety to one of three treatments. Some received 10 one-hour massages as music played, while others breathed deeply while lying down and listening to music. Patients in a third group had their arms and legs wrapped with heating pads and warm towels as they listened to music.

The groups didn’t show any difference in their level of relief after three months.

“Treatment in a relaxing room is much less expensive than the other treatments [massage or thermotherapy], so it might be the most cost-effective option for people with generalized anxiety disorder who want to try a relaxation-oriented complementary medicine therapy,” Sherman said.

The findings were published recently in the journal Depression and Anxiety.

Dialing down your fear meter

Something to think about . . . from Eckhart Tolle’s The Power of Now . . .

“The psychological condition of fear is divorced from any concrete and true immediate danger.”

Hmm. “The psychological condition of fear is divorced from any concrete and true immediate danger.”

How many times are we in real life or death or scary situations, and how many times do we create them in our minds?

“It [fear] comes in many forms: unease, worry, anxiety, nervousness, tension, dread, phobia, and so on. This kind of psychological fear is always of something that might happen, not of something that is happening now.” (The Power of Now)

When you catch yourself raising your fear meter by imagining negative or disastrous outcomes . . .

  1. Take a deep breath.
  2. Note that the situation you are thinking of is scary to you – “Wow, I’m more worried about this than I realized.” (Be honest with yourself; keying in and admitting you are afraid can quickly reduce the stress you are feeling by interrupting your negative thought process.)
  3. Take another deep breath.
  4. Do something physical to switch gears. Move! Get up. Stretch. Rollover. Sit up. Walk away. Turn around or shimmy, shake, hop, skip or jump yourself away from your fear. :-) (Making yourself smile, never hurts.)
  5. Repeat as necessary, and don’t be discouraged if you have to repeat these steps often, because that means you are serious about change!

MH900387812Later when you aren’t worrying about the topic, you can review the situation by brainstorming your options, assessing your strengthsrecalling pass successes dealing with tough situations – and why they worked, predicting a positive outcome (Try it, it can work wonders.), and then you can decide how, or if,  you need to deal with the situation.

But for now, learning to interrupt your thought cycle is all you need to do to dial down your fear meter and gain some peace of mind!

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