Short HELP Talk: Expressive Writing for Anger Management
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Today we are going to explore the concept called Emotional Writing also called as Expressive Writing specifically in the context of managing anger. Now while we speak about it in the context of anger you might want to use it also in the context of any other emotion that overwhelms you for e.g. extreme sadness or depression as the case may be Now emotional writing as a process is a therapeutic process that can be done very safely by yourself in the privacy of your room. What emotional writing states is that if there is a situation, person or incident that disturbs you greatly and therefore makes you extremely agitated, angry, upset or sad try and have the process of writing it out so that there is a healthy venting of those emotions without having to bottle it up or suppress it, so the writing process is such all you do is make sure that you have a safe quiet space for just about 15-20 mins everyday and you have enough pen and paper, and all you do is think about the situation for a few seconds and just start writing; there is only one rule: once you start writing you do not stop for 15-20 designated mins which means you simply start writing and let the pen guide you and remember this writing is just for you and therefore its not about showing it off to anyone, you do not have correct language, grammar, punctuation or good handwriting Its just about writing and let the conscious and the unconscious both flow and not be suppressed Now traditionally the process of expressive writing ought to be done for atleast 4-5 days in a row and we sometimes use the time and space anchoring techniques from NLP into this process which means let say on the first day you have done this writing process at 3 pm in your bedroom at you writing desk, we try and do this for next 5 days and at the same time, at the same place because the space and the time tends to anchor that particular emotion and therefore its easier to access that emotion and write it out and then purge it in the process Now my invitation to you in the context of anger management is this Lets combine expressive writing with the principles of emotional intelligence and use a simple process to structure your writing in a manner that while you deal with your anger you also deal with it in a healthful way and in the process perhaps create space for empathy Now the process here of combining emotional intelligence with expressive writing is very simple All you need to do is have a structure in mind as you start writing The structure is simply this: step 1 is self awareness so what are my emotions answer this question for yourself as you write so what are the emotions that I am feeling at this point and remember this needs to be absolutely uncensored writing which means you allow yourself to express any and every emotion that comes up without judgement so its ok to feel extreme anger, violent, judgemental, guilty; any emotion is acceptable and this is absolutely only for yourself, not to be shared with anybody which means that at the end of the process you might just decide to burn away the writings, throw it in the trash can, shred it with your own hands and feel the satisfaction of destroying it absolutely any mode of destruction is ok. So the first step is self awareness so write out what your emotions are Step 2 is to explore is there a possibility that I can regulate my emotions so what are the ways in which I can regulate these emotions In the process of writing you might realize that ‘I am not able to regulate these emotions at this point in time and that’s perfectly ok so just keep writing till the time you arrive at the space where you say ‘Ok, I am able to find some way of regulation’ Regulation would simply mean is there a healthful way of expressing it So if I am feeling extremely about somebody and really want to hit somebody is there a possibility that I might do that with a pillow Is there a possibility of expressing that emotion in a safe, healthful way The next step if I am able to find any manner of regulation is then what is the step that would motivate me to actually follow this regulated expression, so is there a way I can go to my room by myself now and hit a pillow, is there some way that I can do I really feel motivated to do it right away? Or do I want to do it may be tomorrow, may be after an hour today How motivated am I to actually give expression to this particular healthy emotion? there are two optional steps you can look at of writing. The fourth step if you wish to explore is Is there a way I want to approach the person who may be involved in bringing up this emotion Do I really want to explore this, so you might write about it and say ‘Ok, suppose I meet this particular person now how am I likely to react?, what am I likely to say to him?’ try and prepare a dialogue in the process of your writing and the final step is explore again in your writings ‘Do I wish and am I in the space to offer empathy to this person? in the sense, ‘Am I in the space to say, Ok I am open to have a healthy, calm dialogue with you?’ and explore what is your side of the coin. Why is it you made me angry? Why is it that you reacted in this particular way in the situation? and caused this particular anger, hurt or sadness in me Now remember we are combining this process in the context of emotional writing which means the first step you would do is write out this entire process and only if you feel at the end of it you are ready to act on it would you actually go out and enact each of these steps so that the enactment that happens finally is calm, resourceful and healthy for you and the other people involved

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