Tuesday, November 18, 2008

An Anger Drawing Exercise

Expression anger appropriately is imperitive. Some people get stuck with anger they have not expressed and fall prey to inappropriate outbursts, rages, or depression. Anger will be expressed one way or another. You can help control how it is expressed by making an effort to express it creatively.

Materials: Paper, markers

Process: Draw a picture that represents how you the anger. It could be a realistic representation of the situation or person that is causing the anger. It can be an abstract representation of the anger such as a monster. There is no right or wrong way to picturally represent your anger. You may find yourself just scribbling furiously. That's fine. However you need to express the anger on paper is fine.

When the drawing is finished, take a few minutes to look at it. Ask yourself some questions related to the drawing. If the cause of the anger needs to be addressed, plan how you can do that. Do you need to communicate with someone in order to let go of the anger? Sometimes, we are angry with situations in the past that cannot be remedied. In those cases, it's still important to express the anger. Then, work on letting it go, and that's the next step of this exercise.

Rip up the drawing. You are taking control of this anger. It can no longer control you. Rip it up and throw it away.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Dealing with Loss

Journaling is a useful tool when dealing with a loss such as death. Journaling is writing that is for your own use. It is pure expression.

Here are some journaling exercises for loss:

Freewriting- Writing anything that comes to mind without worrying about how it looks or if it even makes sense is called freewriting. Try taking 10 minutes to just write down everything that pops into your head. It can be jibberish. You might spend the first two minutes writing "I don't know what to say." But, often, the free flow of words leads to feelings or thoughts that you might now have even realized that you had. This exercise can be especially helpful if you are feeling a certain way, such as depressed or frustrated, and you aren't sure why you are feeling that way.

Letters- Write a letter to a loved one. This is for you, not the person you address the letter to. You don't have to share the letter with anyone. Just focus on expressing your feelings about the loss. Sometimes, writing a letter to yourself can be helpful. If you were a friend of yours, what would you say?

Stating the Facts- Sometimes seeing the facts of an event or situation can help you challenge any thought distortions you may struggle with. For example, if dealing with guilt for something that was out of your control, telling and seeing the facts without blame or judgment can give you a new perspective that is more true than one that carries misplaced blame or shame.

Poetry- Taking care to select the right words can help clarify and express your true feelings. The form of the poem is not important. It can rhyme if you want it to, but it doesn't have to. If you would like to explore poetry as a journaling tool and would like to learn more about writing different forms of poetry, you may want to check out my blog: Poetic Forms

Drawing- When words fail to capture how you feel, drawing is another form of journaling that may help. Don't worry about the quality of the drawing. It's for your eyes only unless you choose to share it with someone else. Again, it's all about expressing your feelings. A time of reflection and relaxation before drawing can help you get in touch with those feelings that need to be expressed. Playing music helps some people.

Haiku: Feeling Connected to Nature

Sometimes, the best way to feel grounded and not pushed around by life's chaos is to appreciate nature. A haiku is a short poem that focuses on nature. The English versions are composed traditionally of 3 lines with 5 syllables in the first line, 7 syllables in the second line, and 5 syllables in the third line. Don't think of the specific syllable count per line as a necessity. It's bette to think of 17 syllables as the maximum limit for the whole poem. Though haiku is often taught as being restricted to 3 lines, they can have more than 3 lines.

Here's an example of a haiku:

Death of a Rose

Death-tinged petals
crisp, crunch
Pale pink paled

As you can see, it is much shorter than the common 5-7-5 syllable count. The important thing is to be concise. Also, the haiku should be completely objective and avoid stating any judgment. Words like best, beautiful, or any words of value should be avoided. Though the haiku can elicit emotion, emotion should not be included in the wording.

In haiku, the poet offers a glimpse of nature. The reader has the freedom to ascribe their own meaning or significance to the poem. If you can't take a walk in nature and write a haiku about what you see, numerous, nature photographs are available online.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Self: Lost & Found

Creativity is a powerful tool. Everyone is creative. I've heard lies that deny the existence of the creative element that lives in all of us. Some people claim to not be creative. It's not a matter of whether or not someone is creative. It's whether or not they have found an appropriate outlet for their creativity.

Poetry, painting, flower arranging, writing, sculpting, decorating, cooking, woodworking, sewing, and crafts are merely a sample of the infinite number of tools of expression. Some people enjoy numerous creative outlets. Others have not taken the time to explore many options.

I encourage everyone to find creative tools to deal with stress and reconnect with themselves.