When really bad things happen in our life, such that there is no direct action that can or will fix the problem, there are really only 2 methods that we use to try and cope:
- Avoid what has happened, and look for drugs, alcohol, denial or some other form of escape to try and hide the pain, or
- Understand what has happened, and see it as an opportunity to grow and gain strength, wisdom and perspective from it.
There are a number of effective strategies to help us to overcome our troubles and move from avoidance to understanding, but the simple act of writing about them is highly effective around two-thirds of the time.
Write continuously for 15-20 minutes, on 4 separate occasions, about:
- what happened,
- how you truly feel about it,
- why you feel that way, and finally,
- what good you might derive from it.
Don’t worry about getting it right or wrong, and don’t feel pressured to come up with a solution straight away. Just focus on writing, in private, about your deepest thoughts and emotions that arise when thinking about these things.
This very process doesn’t just tend to heal us emotionally by helping us to gain the insight, clarity and perspective needed to grow from the adversity. It also, quite remarkably, heals us physically, and results in significantly:
- less doctor visits,
- improved immune functioning,
- reduced blood pressure, and
- improved liver and lung functioning.
Our biggest adversities in this life can, ironically, end up being some of our life’s most wonderful gifts, as they offer the potential to contribute to our growth and expansion in ways that ‘good’ things rarely can.
And sometimes, all we need to see this is an hour of time, a piece of paper, and a pen.