If ever I have had a problem in life, it has always made me feel better to just talk about it to someone who matters to me. So, what happens when there is no one to talk to, or it’s a problem I don’t feel like talking about? Buying a blank book to record all my feelings is a perfect alternative says Matthew D. Lieberman, UCLA associate professor of psychology.
Merely writing down the words that we are feeling can take away some of the stress and hardship that surrounds the events that cause those feelings within us. During Lieberman’s study, he projected two different types of images on a slide reel. One type of slide presented a person projecting a specific emotion on their face–under each photograph, the name of the emotion being expressed would come up. The second slide had just a picture of a person on it–then the gender of the person would show up under the photo. In the case of the gender identifier, there was no marked reaction that happened in the person’s brain.
However in the case of the emotional projections, once the label showed under the picture there was a reduction in response patterns in the brain. Therefore, it is reasonable to conclude that writing down one’s feelings can decrease the emotional reaction that surrounds the event that caused the reaction.
In order for it to work as applied, you have to be able to label exactly how it is that you are feeling. For example, “right now I feel sad,” or “right now I feel angry.” As you do that, the emotions become easier to identify, thus making the exercise more effective (because it negates the possibility of mislabeling emotions). Eventually you can get to the point where your brain can reduce the severity of, or negate entirely, the emotional reaction that your body experiences.
Having emotions is healthy, make sure that you don’t turn yourself into a emotionless robot. Sometimes, humans need to grieve, need to cry, need to love and have normal emotions. However, if you ever feel the need to move on from any negative emotions like anger or sadness (which you most definitely should after a reasonable amount of time for such reactions has passed), then this exercise may help you reduce the reaction.
About the Author
Jordan Freis is a freelance writer for MyCollegesandCareers.com. My Colleges and Careers helps people determine if an online education is right for them and helps them understand which online courses and top jobs they can choose from to reach their goals.