speak your feelings

Here's an article from ScienceBlog about how putting our feelings into words changes the strength of our emotional response.

This explains (on the simplest level) why Chazal in a number of places tell us to say certain psukim in order to respond to certain situations. Situations like a dog barking and threatening, as the gemara mentions, or situations like seeing inappropriate things as mentioned in the Tzeitel HaKatan of Rebbe Elimelech of Lizhensk. [I'm sure there are endless examples but these are two that come readily to mind.]

Personally, when I was overwhelmed emotionally (usually with depression) I found the thing that was most helpful, and that I was most compelled to do, was to create something. Painting and poetry were the best, I found, to channel emotional energy. Afterwards I always felt better, having both created something, and loosed all of that built up emotion; sort of like how crying makes you feel better. The paintings and poetry were my brain sort of crying on its own, I guess.

I also appreciate more how my teenage sister (I've got three so I'm not giving any identities away here) puts all of her emotions out there in poems and stories so often. It's a really healthy way for her to deal with everything it means to be a teen.


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