an easy exercise for shifting stress 

dr. habib sadeghi’s purge emotional writing

Over the summer, I started having sleep issues. I’d fall asleep fine, but wake up in the middle of the night worried. Forget about being able to go back to bed. I knew I needed to do some waking hours work to process feelings and that’s how I found Dr. Sedeghi’s technique in his book The Clarity Cleanse.

Even though there’s Thanksgiving break coming up, it’s still stress season with finals and end of the year projects looming on top of an already wacky year. This practice, called purge emotional writing, helps you move out of worry and overwhelm and into calm and clarity. Bonus: it only takes 12 minutes.

Instructions:

  1. Grab a pen and paper 
  2. Set a timer for 12 minutes 
  3. Write anything and everything. Dr. Sedeghi says to write about anything that’s “disturbing your peace.” I just just go to town with whatever’s in my head. 
  4. After 12 minutes, stop writing, and do not go back and read what you wrote.  
  5. Burn the paper in a safe outdoor space like a driveway or patio. If you’re a college student or live in an apartment, do not burn your paper! Rip up your writing into a teeny, tiny pieces and throw it away outside not in the house. 

A huge part of this exercise is that you do not go back and read what you wrote. You are not trying to ruminate or get into a loop thought. It’s about getting stress out.

Some extra major mentor tips!

  • Do this exercise at the same time everyday. I do it right when I wake up. If you wanted to use it before you go to bed that would be good too. 
  • A timer tip: I play meditation music, ambient sounds, or piano music when I write and set my timer to “stop playing” to signal the end. After 12 minutes instead of a jarring ring or beep, the music just stops playing to let me know it’s time to move on. 
  • After 12 minutes stop writing. You’ve done it. You’ve completed what you need to complete; then immediately burn or throw out the paper. I LOVE this part. I can say whatever I want and burning it really lets it go for me.  It truly gives me freedom to say whatever it is that I need to say. 
  • **extra credit** I think it would be a really great idea to do a meditation after the writing exercise like this grounding practice or an acceptance meditation.

This ritual is PERFECT during finals or if you’re swamped at work. You just kind of spew out all the things you have to get done. Anything weighing heavy on your heart you just let out on the paper. I’ve been doing it every morning and can attest to it’s magic.