Why does writing down your thoughts when you’re stressed cause you to feel better?

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Why does writing down your thoughts when you’re stressed cause you to feel better?

Elisabeth Horowitz has been working for years on symbolic acts, “these simple, free and immediate acts that make it possible to materialize a problem and, therefore, to exteriorize it in order to free it more easily”. For the therapist, specialized in psychogenealogy and brief solution-oriented therapy, the mail-therapy method she has created is part of this approach. “Writing letters,” she says, “is in itself a symbolic act. ”

This epistolary therapeutic practice has hidden benefits: it would soothe many symptoms, such as depression, anxiety attacks, but also chronic pain. To narrate a situation, to lay down one’s feelings on paper would save precious time to all those who live emotions or difficult situations. Writing by hand is important, it is a form of commitment stronger than a computer, which allows you to delete a text and leave no trace. Similarly, the writing of a mail is different from that of a newspaper: by definition, it is sent to another, which puts us in direct contact, even symbolic, with him (a deceased parent, our critical voice) , and allows us to take both things in hand and perspective on the problem and the emotions associated with it. Awareness, clarification, emotional distance, stress reduction and uncomfortable or painful affects are some of the benefits of this therapy “easy to implement, effective and free,” says Elisabeth Horowitz.

The resource letter

The goal : this mail is intended to help you when your morale is down, and you will need to be supported and encouraged.

The user manual :write this letter at a time when you feel good about yourself, both confident and centered. Choose preferably a paper whose texture and color you will be comfortable with when you really need comfort. Start by listing all your personal qualities, skills and competencies, from minor to major. Then all your successes, from the most insignificant to the most important, from the most recent to the most distant. Then evoke your great moments of happiness (alone, in couple, in family, with your friends …). Finally, the activities and relationships that really make you feel good. Once your letter is written, put it in an envelope and seal it. Store it. You will only open it when you need it. At this moment,

The bonus: enjoy your birthday to write a special letter. You can choose a very pretty card (and a matching color sheet of paper) for your strong self to give enlightened advice to your vulnerable self. After a series of compliments, you can offer advice (concrete and effective for you) so as to chase the wave to the soul, to de-stress you, to win your trust in you, or to make you happy.

The letter of the child

The goal: to identify and free yourself from feelings of resentment, frustration and disappointment with one or both of your parents (note that this is not physical or moral violence). Love is always ambivalent, one can be attached to one’s father and mother and, at the same time, blame them for not having been enough present or supportive. This exercise helps clarify your feelings, become aware of your ambivalence and “treat” leaving your “me child” to express themselves.

The user manual :choose a picture of one or both of your parents taken during your childhood or adolescence, then, looking at it, ask yourself which of your needs have not been met. Choose a piece of paper and talk to them (or your mother or father), explaining what you missed, disappointed, or pained in their behavior. Whether it was punctual or recurrent. Let the child talk to you freely, without censoring or making fun of him. These are the needs and emotions that he could not formulate at the time he is expressing today. You can then read your letter aloud while looking at your parents’ picture. Or send it symbolically (find nicknames to your parents or anagrams of their first and last names and invent a whimsical address that makes sense to you).

The bonus: you can also write a letter or a card of support and comfort to your child, that is to say to the one you were at the age where you have suffered from this or that behavior of your parents . For example: “You are a wonderful little boy, your parents are very lucky to have you …”

The healing mail

The goal: this correspondence is intended to help you free yourself from difficult situations, painful, in your professional or private life, by relieving yourself of negative emotions (guilt, anger, resentment …), so toxic, associated with them .

The instructions: it will be necessary to formulate in writing the story of the painful situation. Then write the same text a second time with the other hand. This exercise, inconvenient, allows to emerge in you the totality of emotions, especially the most ambivalent (for example, a resentment mixed with nostalgia or an attachment harboring a desire for revenge). The third step is, after several readings aloud, to pronounce all the words without anger or sadness, trying to be as neutral as possible, as if you read the text of another author than you.

Evacuate guilt: Being the victim of an injustice or a bad spell does not prevent you from feeling guilty. The classics “I should have” and others “I could have” eloquently translate our sense of guilt. Whatever the subject of this guilt, write a message as short as it is positive. For example, in case of dismissal: “I was conscientious and competent, I always did my job my best. When you feel overwhelmed by negative emotions (shame, anger, sadness, resentment), pick up your message, read it aloud again and then copy it three times with your other hand.

Discharge the hostile emotions: in this letter, you will express without taboo, in a direct way and even in a raw language, all that you feel towards the situation and / or the person who can be the cause of it. The more negative the words, the greater the emotional drain. Once your letter is written, you can burn it and watch it burn, paying attention to the gradual disappearance of ink and paper. Or post it symbolically (send it to the planet Mars, to hell, or to the office of the treatment of great injustices …). Or tear it into a thousand pieces. Let it decompose in the water …

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