Anger Journaling, a.k.a. Rage Writing
The Benefits of Expressing Emotions like Anger and Frustration
As artists, and as human beings, we’re sometimes bombarded with obstacles. And with obstacles, invariably come negative emotions.
Emotions such as anger or frustration are indicators that something happening in our life is out of alignment with our beliefs – our beliefs about how our creative life should be going, for instance. In an effort to come back into alignment, we often try to change the world to meet our beliefs. And since the world often does not change in our favor, we experience frustration.
As we human beings are normally seeking a way out of our frustrations, likewise, our negative emotions are always poised to release themselves in some way. And so it takes a lot of energy to repress emotions, even when we do it unconsciously.
So when we consciously allow them to release via some kind of expressive act such as anger journaling, or journaling in general, we gain back the energy we were using to keep them hidden inside us. This gives us more energy as well as temporarily freeing our mind of the negative thoughts that caused the emotional response in the first place. We become more peaceful, and feel lighter, because we’re no longer carrying around the burden of that negative emotional state.
How Anger Journaling Can Help:
A.k.a. rage writing, anger journaling is a means of expressing destructive, pent up emotions that can have numerous benefits. In the process of unearthing the thoughts that are the cause of our anger or frustration through anger journaling, we are able to see more clearly the patterns of our thought-caused frustrations. This makes it easier to understand our thinking, and gives us a better opportunity to work with the triggering thoughts around our emotional states.
Anger journaling also allows us to explore potential solutions or alternative perspectives on a situation. It enables us to gain a bird’s eye view on our thoughts, so that we can more easily resolve a problem without having to change anything or anyone that initially triggered the frustration in us. This is the beauty of expressive writing – it allows us to see that we don’t need to find an external solution for our frustrations – that we can change our way of thinking around whatever triggered the problem. This way of approaching negative emotions can lead to emotional intelligence and wisdom – our ability to clearly see how our minds function, and how our thoughts trigger our emotional states.
As well, through expressive writing such as anger journaling, we can easily uncover our core, underlying beliefs. This can be a very helpful tool for us, because we can then examine these core beliefs, and begin to change them if they aren’t serving us. Our beliefs are not set in stone, they are malleable, workable. So with a little bit of effort, we can learn to supplant new beliefs that better resonate with us and with the direction we want to go in life.
Furthermore, when we see our thoughts written down on paper, instead of swirling around in our heads, anger journaling helps us to realize that our thoughts and beliefs are not us, and that we don’t have to relate to them so closely. We gain space between ourselves and our thoughts, and they therefore have less power over us; it becomes evident to us that we can just let them be, as thoughts, and let go of them if we choose to do so. (As we do in sitting meditation practice.)
Here’s a way I like to do anger journaling:
The 6 step method for Anger Journaling:
1. Find a quiet spot where you won’t be interrupted.
2. Grab a pen and a pad of paper, (or you can use your computer, but paper is more effective for pure expression, in my experience.
3. Close your eyes for a minute and feel your whole body, and feel the emotions of frustration or anger inside the body – get in touch with them at a core, physical level.
4. Start writing, without stopping, letting thoughts come up naturally, as if you have just opened the flood gates of your mind, and are just letting the thoughts come up and out on their own. The key, here, is that you’re just the gatekeeper – your only job is to let the thoughts release themselves onto the paper.
5. Write for half an hour without stopping, or longer if you feel like that’s not enough time.
6. Feel your whole body again. What has changed? Do you feel different? You may want to make notes about changes in your emotional state, or how the writing experience altered your mood.