We’re good. We’re reliable. We keep our tempers at bay and we’re polite.
We want to be good team members. We want to keep our best face forward.
So, when do we deal with the feelings about all that?
Work brings up a lot of stuff. We have to work with difficult people under less than idea conditions.
Most people are taking on more and more responsibility with fewer resources. The world is a stressful place.
Let me introduce the power of the rage journal.
You’re going to need a not nice notebook (sorry, designer friends. Save that stack of beautiful journals for something else). This calls for spiral bound, or something your kid had laying around from the last school year. Even scrap paper will do.
And you’ll need a writing utensil - your choice.
What is rage journaling?
Its a place to dump your feelings, write about them unedited and freely. It’s the one place you can be completely honest with how you really feel.
It’s not precious. It’s not an heirloom. It’s not the time to be a “good writer”.
Rage journaling is a place to lay it all out. Rage journals are for the raw reactions, the petty thoughts, and the unfairness. It’s the place to get your side of the story out unedited and in its entirety.
To be able to admit and express the raw emotions to yourself is a gift. We don’t always allow ourselves space for that. Especially when things are upsetting at work. We think we should be clear minded, strategic, mapping out next steps in a mature manner. The truth is that underneath our professional sheen, we all have a raging three-year old screaming “It’s not faaaair!”.
“It’s fine.” We tell ourselves as we pour another big (big) glass of wine and scroll.
Research supports this
Research has found that journaling about a traumatic experience for only 10 minutes a day has positive returns. Most of us associate journaling with having the right journal, saying nice things that make sense, and preparing some document our ancestors will find and treasure. And that’s amazing if it rings your bell.
The truth is that we can find some peace from an upsetting situation and make some deep realizations about ourselves if we give ourselves 10 minutes to write it down.
We are journaling to give ourselves a listening ear.
We journal to better understand our the cogs and gears that drive those feelings.
We journal to admit what we really, really know.
How do I start a rage journal?
Think of a situation that is unfair, frustrating, enraging or draining. Something that has emotion around it and something that you want to find some relief from.
- What happened? Just give yourself the time to write what happened.
- What feelings were brought up? As you remember what happened, what emotions were brought up? Write those down.
- Specifically what condition, event, conversation brought on the emotion?
- Take a break- sometimes that enough to just get it out.
But if you have time to reflect or if you’re feeling calmer, you might want to go further:
- When that feeling arises, what do you believe about yourself?
- Does this remind you of other times you feel this way? What happened?
- What’s one truth you really know after reflecting this situation?
I always shred, burn or otherwise destroy my rage journaling. It helps me know that the experience is gone forever and I can move on.