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How to Get Unstuck

Do you ever get stuck? I don’t mean literally, like you might do in one of those revolving doors, which reminds me of a time when I got my bag stuck in one and couldn’t move the door either forward or backwards, oh the shame of it. I mean mentally stuck, stuck on a problem, stuck with an emotion, stuck with anger when you want to release yourself but can’t? If so, I wonder if you ever thought about writing it down? Maybe you did but perhaps not in this way.

Expressive writing is a tool I sometimes use with my clients when they are stuck with unwelcome or difficult thoughts. The results can be quite powerful and this is how it works.

If you’re struggling with an emotional issue which is getting on top of you your task is, over the next four days, to write about it, but not in the conventional way you might think. You need to follow these simple rules;

  1. You must write about what’s troubling you (in its entirety or a particular part of it, whatever you feel) for a minimum of 15 minutes each day for four days. You can write for longer but you must not write for less.

  2. The idea is that you allow yourself to explore how you’re really experiencing the problem, so no worrying about spelling, punctuation or whether you’ve put your point well. You can swear as much as you want as well because nobody is going to read it. In fact using the language that you really feel, however colourful, is positively encouraged.

  3. Once you begin your days writing you mustn’t stop for at least fifteen minutes, that is to say, you must keep the pen moving on the paper constantly. If you get stuck on an idea and it just keeps revolving round and round in your head just keep writing the same thing down over and over again. There’s a reason you’re stuck on it.

That’s it. After four days you can throw your writing away, burn it or keep it somewhere safe if that’s what you want. You might find your thoughts are clearer than they were when you started, and it might even feel as if what seemed insurmountable has become just a little more manageable.

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