A stressful situation, trauma, or series of situations that happened over some time, in a sense is the ‘fire that is still smouldering,’ or the ‘water that keeps building-up behind the dam wall,’ continuing to put pressure on the wall to the point where it can crack!
A period of high stress today, can be the trigger that causes the fire to flare-up again, or the dam wall to be ripped-open, causing emotional distress to flood out.
This emotional release reduces the pressure, but only temporarily as the pressure starts to build-up again. This is because the earlier problem has not been dealt with – it has not been laid to rest.
- ‘I am anxious and sad. I feel flat and can’t be bothered.’ ‘I just want to stay home.’
- ‘I don’t have (or have lost) confidence with people.’ I think they are saying things about me.’
- I’ve lost my conviction at work. My belief in myself. I’m getting anxious over trivial things.’
- I’m sitting watching TV, and for no reason I get panicky.’
- ‘I wake-up at night anxious. I don’t know what I’m worrying about, my life is going well,’
- ‘I feeling miserable, sad and teary.’ ‘I feel tired all the time.’
- ‘I panic in a shopping centre or where there are crowds.’ ‘I’m too anxious to drive.’
- ‘I obsess over-and-over about worries, my past, and about things I can’t control.’
A person may know what is causing their distress but don’t know what to do about it. But exasperation and resignation are common; ‘why did this happen,’ ‘if only things had been different,’ all of which are understandable, but are usually exhausting, and ultimately lead nowhere.
ACCEPTANCE & RELEASING DISTRESS
Past trauma needs to be ‘put it to bed.’ The chapter needs to be ‘closed off.’ The fire needs to be extinguished.
This is the ‘emotional release’ process, where the energy driving the anxiety, depression, or other problems ‘runs out of steam.’ Once a person is released in this way, they can suddenly feel lighter, more refreshed and renewed. They can do things more easily without feeling ‘weighed- down’ like before.
This is the design and aim of the 3-step emotional release journalling process, condensed here in a rapid-release technique called ‘the Unsent Letter.
If you feel wronged or violated by what has happened to you, you might feel much frustration and anger towards the situation or person considered responsible for your stress or trauma, or at yourself for making poor decisions.
Through the process of emotional release journaling, an acceptance of ‘what was’ can be reached. This allows us to let-go, and stop holding onto irritation, resentment or other emotions that are holding us back. Coming-to-terms with and accepting what has happened is usually necessary before we can genuinely move-on with our lives.