How to Process Big Emotions
1. Get Big Paper. When thinking about how I would work through some of my emotions, they felt huge and overwhelming. The only way I could see to get them down was on a big sheet of paper. I use a big white craft roll and lots of markers, starting with a big sheet and pulling out more paper from the roll as I need it.
2. Write “I am ANGRY” (or sad, or frustrated, or afraid, or…) in the center. (I started with “I am ANGRY”, since that was my prevailing emotion.)
3. Write everything in the world you’re angry/afraid/sad/etc about. Write big, small, haphazardly, or in pretty colors. Just write everything you’re feeling, no matter how black, how un-ladylike, how scandalous, how ridiculous, how small. “I am angry because I can’t control…” and “I’m angry because I wish ____ would….”
4. As soon as you’re prompted to start a new emotion, do it, and go back to each one as needed. I ended up with a big panel each for “I am angry”, “I am afraid”, and “I am empowered.” (Writing my angry emotions lead to a feeling of empowerment. I’d be interested to see if that happens for you, too.) “I am afraid if I don’t…” “I’m afraid ____ will…”
5. Keep going until you feel better. This was incredible cathartic for me. I put on some music, spread out on the floor, and started writing. All the weird fears that have popped up that I hadn’t acknowledged came out. All the little things I’ve been angry about but ignoring are out there in bright markers.
6. Pay attention to the one-offs versus the recurring themes. There is no emotion too small to acknowledge, so write them all down- but you might notice that you have a recurring theme of being undermined at work, or are constantly fearful about a simple thing you can change, now that you can see it’s a major issue for you.
7. Go forth and make a difference. Pay attention to your emotions. Are they motivating you to act? Take a little step and see how it feels. You’ll make a difference and you’ll feel better.
Share the love
Get free updates