In the movie Broadcast News, Holly Hunter plays a frantic television news producer. Every morning, before she starts her day, she takes five minutes to … cry. There is always something to cry about, so she cries, gets it out of the way and gets on with her day. That might sound crazy, but then again, it a crazy way, it makes sense. She took time to express her emotions and get it out of her system instead of bottling it up.
Buried and suppressed emotions eventually bubble up to the surface, often with unexpected and disastrous consequences. Finding a way to manage your emotions (as much as emotions can be managed) makes sense. While making time for tears each morning might not work for you, think of something that will.
How can you productively express your emotions? I'll give you some techniques that work for me.
I vent. When I’m frustrated at work, on the way home, I call a girlfriend of mine and I vent. I get it all off of my chest. The key is I never do it in front of co-workers and I don’t vent to a co-worker. My friend lives out of state.
I make a date with depression. After a particularly jarring setback, I called my dad and my closest friends and told them I would be unreachable over the weekend. I had a date with depression. I sat at home and gave completely into my frustration and discouragement. I cried. I ate ice cream. I watched ridiculous movies on cable. I made a playlist of depressing songs and sang along as I played them over and over. I wrote incessantly in my journal. By Monday morning, I was so tired of being depressed that I was actually ready to move on!
I write letters. Yes, letters, not emails. I write letters with no intention of sending them (it’s way too easy to accidentally send an email). Sometimes, the people I’m angry at or harboring resentment towards are not in the picture and writing them wouldn’t do any good (a recently departed ex-boyfriend for example). Other times, writing lets me get everything off my chest, so when I do confront this person, I will be able to do so without a lot of extra emotion getting in the way.
What are some constructive ways you handle your emotions. I’ve shared mine. Now it’s your turn!