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Negative emotions can be very damaging

When we hold on to negative emotions the impact on our mental and physical health is huge. It is so easy to walk around carrying those heavy weights, ruminating on things which have upset or hurt us. 

It may be an argument you had with someone or a hurtful comment that was made in passing that has stuck in your head. Before you know it, it is eating away at you and you are obsessing. 

Before I continue I would like to qualify that actually I don’t believe any emotions are “negative” because they all serve to show us things and teach us about ourselves, but for ease of discussion I am going to call them negative in this article.


What are the physical consequences of carrying negative emotions?

Well, they are pretty significant. We know that people who tend to be more negative and who spend more time experiencing negative thoughts are more likely to have cardiovascular problems, digestive issues, degenerative brain diseases, they suffer more from stress, struggle with hormone imbalance, compromised immunity and they take longer to recover when they are sick. These sound like things we would like to avoid in an ideal world, don’t they?

How can writing help?

Well, since writing is proven to lower blood pressure, boost your immune system and reduce anxiety and depression, just by writing anything you will be improving many of the things on that list.

There are some specific writing activities which will help you go even deeper and allow you to really work through those difficult emotions that you are carrying around with you. 



Writing activities to release negative emotions

Write in your journal

When you write about how you are feeling it allows your unconscious mind to process events in a different way and may allow you to see things from another person’s perspective, or to be more objective when thinking about a situation. Write for as long as you can, and then write some more, and see what appears on the page. Don’t be afraid to be 100% honest, you can always burn or shred the paper afterwards, no one else ever needs to read what you write.

 Write a letter

Writing a letter to someone who has upset you or made you angry is incredibly therapeutic. The clever thing about this activity is that our brain can’t differentiate between a letter that you write and send and one you write and don’t send. Write everything out and destroy the letter. You will feel so much better for having got it off your chest and it will stop you from ruminating on all the things you should have said. 


Where can you feel it in your body?

Often you will feel negative emotions in your body, either as a tightness in your stomach or perhaps in your shoulders. Take a moment to think about where you are feeling this emotion and then write about that and how it feels.

 Write a frustration list

This is the opposite of a gratitude list. Write a list of all the things that are annoying you, causing you grief or frustrating you in some way and get it all out of your head. Then turn it around and write a gratitude list. 


It doesn’t have to take a lot of time, but 5-10 minutes writing out your emotions could change your whole attitude. It could help you move through some tough emotions. Because emotions are transient. They don’t last for ever. But they can feel like they do when something really upsets or angers you. You go round and round and round and after a while it’s hard to get off the merry-go-round of negativity. As you go round next time, grab a pen and a piece of paper and try one of the techniques above and see how your mood can shift and those negative feelings move on and past and you can start to see the blue sky appearing from behind the big black clouds again.

Give it a try. You won’t regret it.

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