Stress is a gruelling and common problem and as a result, people are continuously searching for ways to reduce their stress levels. We are always being asked to recommend stress management strategies and techniques. Every time our answer is the same; confession.
Recent research backs-up the age-old adage that confession is good for the soul. However, before you rush to your local church to confess let us consider what this means.
Talking about the soul takes us to a metaphysical minefield. So we’re saying that confession is good for your state of mind.
However, whilst unburdening yourself of all the truths you have been dying to spill may indeed be good for you, I must advise a hint of caution. Many a political career has been ruined by uncontrolled encounters with the truth! Also, if you find yourself under police questioning, it is probably best to stick to the truth; though you may wish to see a lawyer first, especially if you happen to be a politician…
If I’m not advising complete confessions, what am I on about? It’s all about getting your hopes, fears and worries out into the open.
Opening up is a difficult step for many people as they have to admit two big things:
1. There is a problem.
2. They should do something about it.
It never ceases to amaze me how many people don’t even get to stage one. They hope the problem will disappear so that they won’t have to deal with it. Sometimes they bottle it inside, hoping they can sort it out. But this often ends badly.
Once we have admitted these two things, we must try and frame them. Setting a problem out so another can understand it is a great way to focus our minds on a particular problem. If a problem is plainly set out a solution can be easier to find.
Next comes the question of who gets the unburdening…
Top of the tree are the psychiatrists. Being the most qualified they are the most expensive. That reminds me of an old joke…
“I went to the psychiatrist because I was slightly cracked and now I am completely broke!”
Then we have the counsellors. You can happily bend their ear for a modest fee whilst you air your problems. Non professionals can include family or friends, though a note of caution here, you could drive them away.
I find that the best tools you can use to unburden your stress are a pen and some paper. I use a stress journal by writing down all the things that stress me out. Rather than a shrink jotting notes at an extortionate hourly fee, I do it myself.
Here’s how you do it:
Sit down somewhere comfortable with some paper and a pen. Make sure you have a few sheets of paper – you do not want to run out when in full flow. Also use a sturdy ballpoint pen rather than a fountain pen or pencil. It might get a little heated and you want it to last the session.
Write everything down that is playing on your mind or ‘stressing you out’. If you have had a lousy day say so. Nobody is going to see what you have written, so let rip! Don’t worry about spelling and grammar. It’s not an essay so nobody is going to mark it.
If the thoughts come quicker than you can write, speed up your writing rather than slow the downloading of stress. Use abbreviations, scrawl and scribble away!
If people have caused you grief, stress or annoyance say so. Call them every name under the sun if it will help you unload.
When you’ve finished don’t read what you have written, that’s dwelling on the past. Just tear it all up and throw it in the bin. Think of it as ripping your stress to shreds. Scrunch it up into a tight ball and then throw it and your stress away. You’ll be amazed how good you will feel.
It may sound mad but it does work – try it.