How can I release pent-up emotions?

John Preston, PsyD
One way to release pent-up emotions is through therapeutic writing, a form of writing that has been shown to improve high blood pressure, strengthen the immune system and reduce depression. The technique is surprisingly simple.

Step 1. Pick a time and a place where you won’t be disturbed. If you need to first relax and center yourself, consider using progressive muscle relaxation and mindfulness meditation.

Step 2. Start writing about an important, difficult , and painful event that’s on your mind. This can be a recent event, or it may have happened a long time ago. You can probably think of several such events right now, but write about one that has strong emotional resonance for you. Trust your gut. Usually, the first incident that comes to mind is the one to write about. If you can’t think of anything immediately, think back to the most recent time that you felt deep sadness, disappointment or pain. Write about these experiences as honestly as you can. Don’t worry about sentence structure, coherence, grammar or spelling; you are the only one you’re writing for. The point is to deeply feel the experience again and to write down these feelings. The deeper you go emotionally, the more effective this exercise will be. Write for only twenty minutes. Be sure you stop writing after twenty minutes, even if you have more to say.

Step 3. Repeat steps 1 and 2 once a day for at least four days. Schedule a time to write, and if necessary, set an alarm. It doesn’t matter when you write, but it’s likely to be helpful to write at the same time every day, when you have twenty undisturbed minutes and can focus on your writing.

Research has shown that doing this exercise for only twenty minutes a day for only four days may help you to experience more positive moods, fewer illnesses and improved immune system function, which will help you feel better overall.
Depression 101: A Practical Guide to Treatments, Self-Help Strategies, and Preventing Relapse

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Depression 101: A Practical Guide to Treatments, Self-Help Strategies, and Preventing Relapse

When you have depression, it can feel like there's no way out. To begin changing the way you feel, you'll need an arsenal of proven techniques for lifting your mood and preventing relapse. The...

Continue Learning about Emotions



Medical science recognizes a mind-body connection and that your emotions may affect your body's physical health. Being down or depressed can cause fatigue, aches, and pains. If you are having problems and are also stressed, it's a ...

good idea to let your doctor know. This can be part of the diagnosis. Seeking an emotional balance and developing some resistance to bad feelings can be an important step to improved health. Techniques to improve your emotional health can range from medication to talking with an advisor, eating healthfully or exercising.

Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.