Tips from a chronic pain recovery therapist.
Expressive writing can be one of the most powerful tools for releasing chronic pain and anxiety. It certainly has been for me.
But sometimes, you may find that when you journal your emotions, they just get stirred up into a spiral that amplifies pain and anxiety levels instead of decreasing them.
So how do we reverse the emotional spiral and redirect our feelings into a release?
There’s no one magic technique that works for everyone. But here are some ideas that you can try…
1. Release the Pressure
Whatever emotion is spiraling, let it “act out” on the page all the way to completion.
If it’s anger that wants to completely destroy someone, let it act out that desire all the way to full completion (on the page, where nobody can actually be harmed!)
Then let the anger breathe a sigh of satisfaction as it releases some of its steam…
2. Get Clarity
Now that some steam has been released, get to the bottom of why your emotion was having a tantrum.
Ask your emotion:
Dear emotion, what are you feeling?
What would you like me to know?
What are you afraid of or trying to protect me from?
3. Get Practical
Now that you have a sense of what your emotion is concerned about, find out what it needs in order to feel safe and honored.
Ask your emotion:
Dear emotion, is there an action you’d like me to take on your behalf? (Like setting a boundary, connecting with support, practicing self-kindness, etc.)
4. Take Action
Nothing soothes an emotion like taking action on its behalf!
But take it slow. You don’t need to throw yourself into the deep end of the pool — especially if you’re trying something that feels unfamiliar or risky.
You can take things one little, doable step at a time. Maybe you start by simply imagining the action you will take, or journaling about it. Then, practice a teeny weeny version of the action a few times and build up from there.
When in doubt, slowing down and practicing self-compassion are always the way to go!
What’s the kindest thing you can do for your body in this moment? Maybe that one thing is all you need right now.
Sending loads of warmth and gentle encouragement your way,
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