If you’ve ever been tempted to text your ex, you can probably relate to this article. What you might be surprised to know, however, is that expressing your negative feelings towards someone you’ve had a falling out with might actually be good for you.
According to Blushing Confetti Psychologist Kathryn Smith, expressing your feelings towards an ex-lover, former-friend or foe can be therapeutic and quite frankly it is a vital to moving forward from a negative ordeal – but the benefits come from doing this for yourself.
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“We use writing as a form of cognitive behaviour therapy to create a stream of consciousness, allowing us to discover deeper feelings than previously thought,” Ms Smith said.
“However it is in writing without a communication platform that we allow this – as text messages can be so easily shortened for convenience, and when sent, often lack the full picture and come with some regret,” she added.
In fact, a study from the University of Auckland demonstrated that those who spent at least 20 minutes a day candidly writing about their negative experiences and emotions towards a traumatic life event showed accelerated healing of physical wounds, compared to those that wrote daily without mentioning their feelings.
“Venting about the pain someone has caused you through writing is a successful way to heal when done for yourself, and not to cause pain or drive a response from the other person,” Ms Smith said.
Here are 5 reasons for why you should confess your feelings for an ex anonymously:
1. Stop ruminating and start radiating:
Have you ever caught yourself in the act of whinging about the guy that broke your heart or the friend that screwed you over and thought, man, I talk about this a lot? Dwelling on negative emotions can affect your mood, making you look at everything more negatively. Ditch the anger by getting this off your chest properly, once and for all.
2. Get a better night’s sleep:
Stress and feelings of sadness cause hyperarousal, which often results in difficulty getting to and staying asleep. As a result, a lack of sleep can make us even more stressed and more tired and can lead to low mood, poor health, and limited concentration in the workplace.
3. Improve your health:
Hanging on to negative feelings can affect your mental health, meanwhile sleepless nights can reduce your immunity. If you find that feelings of anger or sadness are impacting your life, seek out professional support from a psychologist who can help you move forward.
4. Restructure your thinking:
Often it is not until we recall our feelings and why exactly we are angry that we reflect on what has happened, and perhaps what role we played. A stream of consciousness can provide the opportunity for us to shift our thinking on the situation, and understand why something may have happened.
5. Move on:
So your friend turned out to be less-than-worthy of your time, or your ex treated you badly – but this does not mean that everyone will! Expressing your feelings through words will empower you to digest what happened, and although you don’t plan to send the letter and get an apology or a response from your ex, that is okay. In fact, simply writing the letter is therapeutic enough for many of us to let go and move on.