I would like to talk about a topic that is near and dear to my heart. Create your outlet. What do I mean by that?

We all have stress occurring in our life on a daily basis. It can be from work, finances, academics, family, friends, or other areas that are beyond our control. We can sometimes be bombarded with emotions that we would rather not have and we don’t have a great way to release these negative emotions.

Instead of dealing with these emotions, a lot of people turn to addictive non-productive alternatives to try to escape from their emotions. It can be through smoking. It can be through drinking alcohol or doing recreational drugs. It can be through gambling. It can be through eating a lot. It can be through not eating at all. It can be through playing video games. It can be through watching television or movies. You get the picture.

For me, the way I create my outlet is through writing. I have a notebook that I write in at least fifteen minutes every night. It doesn’t matter how tired I am or if I feel like I have nothing to write about. I still write. I typically write about things that may be bothering me at that moment. I write about my stresses. I write about the things I am grateful for. I write about the people and situations in my life who have made me better. I write how I feel about these different situations I’m in and the people that I am interacting with at the time. There are times I write fluff! There are times my writing turns into stories or poetry. For me, writing is the best outlet I have found. It has benefited me in many ways including:

  1. It helps me find and keep my voice. We are constantly overwhelmed with other peoples’ opinions and propaganda on a daily basis. We all need a space we can go to that allows us a moment to remember who we are and bask in our individuality.
  2. It helps me see how I am viewing myself in the situation. It is easy for us to fall into a pattern of being a certain type of person during a conflict. For me, writing it all down allows me to find out how I really feel about myself. Am I trying too hard to make it seem like I was the victim in the situation or am I merely stating all of facts of what occurred? Am I too hard on myself or giving myself too much slack? Again, this gives perspective.
  3. It gives me clarity on my situations. It helps me figure out if I over-reacted, under-reacted, or reacted appropriately. Sometimes, a situation appears one way in our head, but once it gets put on paper, the situation suddenly doesn’t seem as detrimental.
  4. It helps me realize when my emotions have nothing to do with a current situation. We all have childhood scars. With this come emotional triggers that we may or may not realize we have. For me, if a person does something to remind me of a negative person from childhood, I automatically go in defensive mode and over-analyze everything the person does afterwards even though the person in general is nothing like the one from my past. By writing everything down, it helps me realize when this occurs. It helps me realize what my emotional triggers are. It helps me remember not to do it again.
  5. It helps my seemingly terrible issues melt away. I feel more at peace after I write. I feel like it was a way of getting everything off my chest without accidentally reacting inappropriately in a situation.
  6. It helps me react better to situations. Because I am constantly letting go of my stressors, I am able to react well to new stressors. Instead of constantly feeling overwhelmed and waiting for that last straw, I’m throwing off the weight every night. I feel that, for me, I tend to over-react less and I am able to analyze the current situation better than I would if I didn’t write.

Writing isn’t for everyone and I fully acknowledge that. Writing about stressors may not be for everyone either. If your negative emotions only feel stronger when you write about it, then that may not be the way to go about it. I’m just sharing what works for me.

Your outlet could be drawing, painting, or some other arts and crafts project. Your outlet could be working on your car or athletics.

The important thing is, create an outlet. Don’t just settle for the things everyone else does.

Instead of only playing a video game, why not come up with the idea for a video game? I don’t know how easy it is to invent a game, but with the advancements in technology, it seems like it’s possible to make some pretty amazing games on phones, internet, and gaming systems.

Instead of only watching a television show or a movie, why not write a script for it? Or, why not get some friends together and perform a skit? You can even get it recorded and put it online to share with others.

Instead of only listening to music, why not take part in creating music? If you like singing, sing! If you want to learn an instrument, then learn it! If you want to create an album, create it! Again, with the way technology is now, you could record an album from home.

As long as your outlet is safe and helps decrease your stress, you ought to venture out to find it.

By no means is this post meant to take away from people in the mental health care field. I am not a psychologist, psychiatrist, therapist, or any other certified person in that respected field. It can be a rewarding experience to go to one of these credentialed individuals to get professional help. This post is not providing professional help. This post comes from personal experience and nothing more than that. If you feel that your stressors are overwhelming to the point that you feel that you may hurt yourself and/or others, you should seek professional counseling immediately.

Thanks for reading! Go forth and create!

Dr. Chesten

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