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Power of the Pen

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Power of the Pen

Let words on paper heal your heart.
Denise  Marek
Denise Marek More by this author
May 27, 2012 at 10:00 AM

One of the simplest ways to banish stress in mere minutes is by putting pen to paper. Writing about your worries is an effective way to let them go and calm your mind. It’s a mental detoxification process that allows you to dump your concerns onto the page, creating the space needed for new insights that will help you deal with those issues. You can’t gain this perspective just by thinking about your troubles; you must get them out and look at them. Only then can you decide what to keep and what to discard.

If you’re like many women and have written the words “Dear Diary” at the top of a blank page, you know precisely how powerful this process can be. It’s important, however, to understand the difference between journaling—specifically for worry management—and keeping a diary. Unlike those notebooks, where you record the events happening in your life, the key in journaling to reduce anxiety is writing about how the events in your life make you feel.

One of the best ways to get the pen rolling is to begin with the phrase “Today I felt….” Don’t be too surprised if this task is uncomfortable at first. Many people spend an inordinate amount of time trying to suppress and avoid anxious feelings, so give yourself some time to allow your emotions to surface. They may be buried very deep! Get comfortable and say to yourself: I’m going to sit here for the next 10 or 15 minutes, and I’m going to write. I’m going to do more than list events. I’m going to take away layer after layer of thoughts, distractions, concerns, and perceptions until I uncover my true feelings.

Initially, excavating what you’re really experiencing may seem to create more mental clutter than it clears. However, journaling is similar to cleaning out a really messy closet: You first have to pull everything out of the space. If you were to stop there, it would look as if you’d just made an even bigger mess. Yet as you discard those things that no longer serve you and deal with those that do, it quickly becomes apparent that you’re creating a fresh new space. The initial mess was a worthwhile and necessary part of the process.

Along with helping you let go of worry, journaling also gives you the opportunity to vent your true feelings, divulge your innermost thoughts, and express your concerns without ever being judged or interrupted. It’s interesting, however, that many people will still be careful about what they write because they’re worried that someone is going to find the journal. Obviously, repressing your emotions by censoring your writing defeats the purpose, but the good news is that you don’t need to keep what you’ve written in order to receive the blessings of this process. In fact, you can scrawl your true feelings down on paper, tear it up and throw it out, and still reap the benefits of the “closet cleaning” without having to hold on to the garbage bags.

Please remember, if writing about your feelings becomes too painful or emotionally overwhelming at any point, you may wish to seek professional assistance. Your first instinct might be to quit and ignore your emotions, but sweeping them under the rug won’t help. They’re an indication that you’ve hit on something that needs your attention. Getting professional help to deal with those issues can help you let go of worry and truly move forward in your life.

After 10 or 15 minutes of writing about your feelings and concerns, end your journal on a positive note by listing three to five things for which you’re grateful. Shifting your attention to what you appreciate will help you refocus your thinking, regain your perspective, and remember that there’s more to your life that what’s currently preoccupying you.

The next time anxiety hits, grab a pen and write it out. As you look inside yourself and uncover your true feelings, you’ll be amazed by how much more calm and content you become. “Ink it” to help yourself reconnect with the peace and joy that worry crowds out.

About Author
Denise  Marek
Denise Marek is known as “The Worry Management Expert.” An international speaker and television personality, she has helped thousands of women transform their feelings of worry into feelings of inner peace. In June 2001, Denise earned the coveted Toa Continue reading