Monday, November 20th, 2017

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Stressed? Let it All Out

It’s been a rough week, possibly even a rough month. Some clients claim it’s been a rough few years! I’m not about to debate what constitutes rough, but I will say there are a whole bunch of people out there under a whole lot of stress. Some days there is no way around it, but there is always a way to handle it.

Ugh, another thing for my to do list. Maybe. The problem is that if you don’t deal with it, it accumulates in your body and that’s how a rough day can turn into a rough year. There’s an easy way to just let it out that doesn’t involve creating heated politics in the workplace or being a total grump at home.

Write it down.

If you’re into the old school paper journal that will work fine. For those of you who haven’t put pen to paper in many years, keeping a log in your computer or other device is just as good. The point is to release all of your frustrations in a focused way. There is no length requirement; whatever feels best to you.

The purpose of writing it down is to guide you in identifying what’s really triggering your stress. There are a lot of thoughts, beliefs, and feelings swirling in our unconscious mind that contribute to both our stress levels and how we react to situations. The objective is to ditch your focus on the writing itself (punctuation. spelling, etc.) and allow yourself to write without stopping. I refer to it as a daily dump to my clients. You are literally dumping the unnecessary contents from your brain.

It may feel a little awkward at first. My coach mentor, Abigail Steidley, has created starter questions to help get you going with the process. Here are a few:

• Recently, who have you felt angry with in your life?
• The most frustrating thing in my life right now is…
• I hate it when…
• What is your worst fear?
• The most stressful thing about today is…
• I notice I feel stressed about… frequently… because
• I put a lot of pressure on myself to be/do

Try this exercise daily or as close to daily as possible. As you work with this practice, you may notice more clarity in your thinking and a reduced amount of stress.

Laura Tirello is a Career and Life Coach. Her company, Core Life Design, works with people who are successful, but not satisfied, and are ready to reinvent themselves in the workplace and beyond. Get a copy of my *free* special report: “Career Gridlock: 4 Ways to Get Unstuck”. Visit corelifedesign.com for more information. Laura can be contacted at Laura@corelifedesign.com

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One Response to Stressed? Let it All Out

  1. Megan says:

    I am very much a supporter of daily freewriting, or what this article calls daily dumping. But it seems, especially for people who are very stressed, that it isn’t important what you write about as long as you are writing. For example, as a writing teacher, graduate student, and young widowed mother of a preschooler, I am no stranger to stress. As I teach in my classes, if you freewrite–meaning don’t lift fingers from keys or pen from paper and constantly write, even if you’re writing “I don’t know what else to write” over and over, your mind will eventually get to what it wants to get out. Sometimes these may be good thoughts–positive things. The problem with limiting yourself to writing about what stresses you out is that you may not always know what is stressing you out. I think this article does a great job of introducing a great tool for dealing with stress. However, the list of prompts to jumpstart your writing process should be revised to include more neutral or positive prompts, like “Today I noticed…” or “If I could run away for a day, I would…” or “Somebody said _________ and I thought ____________” You can benefit from focusing on what you’re doing in the day, focusing on what you want or look forward to, AND focusing on what you stress out over. And no matter which one you focus on in our writing, you will eventually get to the root of the stress, and, as Laura argues, “you may notice more clarity in your thinking and a reduced amount of stress.”

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