We all have negative and worrisome thoughts. Often we don’t know how to overcome them. Here is a proven way to banish your negative thoughts and worries.
The tool that I recommend you is simple and powerful. All you need are papers and a pen.
Before I explain you how to go about it, let’s see its benefits. Several studies have shown that writing down your thoughts and negative emotions has many health benefits.
A study conducted by Dr. Elizabeth Broadbent, professor of medicine at the University of Auckland in New Zealand, found that writing down emotionally distressing events help you reduce your anxiety.
In another study Dr. Anne Mangen and her team at the University of Stavanger in Norway discovered that when writing by hand, there is a greater a connection between what you feel with your body and what you understand. Therefore writing down your worrisome thoughts or negative emotions will help you make sense of your emotionally charged experience.
Write by hand
Computers dominate our lives. We prefer tying at the keyboard because we are used to it. However, when it comes to expressing your emotions, the pen is mightier than the keyboard.
Writing by hand stimulates the brain in a different way than using a keyboard. Your brain receives feedback from your arm muscles and fingertips, which makes the experience more physical. It helps you rearrange your memories and emotional experiences.
When you write by hand, you exert more physical and mental effort. This stimulates different regions of your brain. Moreover, as writing by hand is slower than typing, your unconscious mind has more time to filter out undesirable thoughts.
Moreover, your subconscious mind works best with symbols and metaphors. Writing by hand becomes a symbolic act to pour down on the paper all your worries and thoughts. This way you build an emotional distance from the distressful events.
How to do it
If you have worrisome thoughts or some emotionally charged issue that causes you anxiety, here is an assignment that you can perform for two weeks:
Commit to do the following assignment for two weeks in order to notice the benefits. It is important that you follow the instructions to the letter.
Set aside 30 minutes to one hour a day to do this task. Make sure you are alone. Avoid listening to music so you can concentrate on the task.
Set an alarm clock for the allotted time. Take several white papers and start writing by hand.
Write all your thoughts and feelings. Let your mind wander freely and write anything that worries you. Just write any emotional issue, any negative memory or even traumatic experiences that have not been healed yet. It could be a fight you had with your sister or brother or even a death of someone you loved.
As you write, let go of your analytical and judgmental mind. Just write down all your thoughts and emotions without censuring them. Any word or expression is valid. Therefore you can write whatever thoughts that pops up in your mind, even if they are nasty words.
No need to write in an orderly fashion. You can jump from one issue to another, or from the present to the past and to the future. Any issue is ok: yourself, partner, friends, parents, relatives, etc.
You can l go of any emotion. If you feel like crying, cry! If you get angry and feel like shouting, shout! As you write let go of your emotions and express them.
Since you will be writing every day you can repeat certain topics or issues. You can write about the same issues or experiences over again, or write about different topics each day.
Remember you are not writing an essay. It is an emotional, expressive and intuitive writing. So you are allowed to make spelling and grammar mistakes.
Start writing and when the alarm goes off, stop writing!
After the alarm goes off, avoid reading what you wrote. Tear up the papers and throw them out. This way your writing is confidential.
Some people may fear that concentrating on negative thoughts would make them worse. This will not happen because you dedicate a very specific time to it that has a beginning and an end. In this way your mind learns to start and stop negative thought by will. This will give you more control over your worrisome thoughts. Even though the assignment is counterintuitive, the results are positive and beneficial.
As Lao Tse put it: “To reduce something, one must deliberately expand it; to weaken something, one must deliberately strengthen it; to eliminate something, one must let it flourish.”
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