Self-Motivation
David Goggins
Former Navy Seal
Career Development
Bryan Cranston
Actor
Critical Thinking
Liv Boeree
International Poker Champion
Emotional Intelligence
Amaryllis Fox
Former CIA Clandestine Operative
Management
Chris Hadfield
Retired Canadian Astronaut & Author
Learn
from the world's big
thinkers
Start Learning

It Sounds Ridiculous, But Sometimes You Should Write Yourself a Letter

You can manufacture a cathartic experience by writing out what you’re feeling.

So, if you’re like a lot of people, some of the emotional habits that you have in our life are that sometimes you get upset and you feel like you can’t control it.  Right?  This is particularly an issue for people at work.  Something bad will happen, someone will snap at them or criticize them and they react emotionally. 


All of a sudden, you feel like you’re on the verge of tears and you can’t cry at work because that’s totally unprofessional.  That’s the same habit.  Right?  There’s something about, we know what the cue is, someone just snapped at you or they criticized you, and we know what the routine is, that these tears kind of spring to your eyes, that you’re suddenly knocked back on your heels.  And so the question becomes, so what reward is there?  Why do you feel like crying?  And what we know from studies is that probably the reason you feel like crying is because it’s an emotionally cathartic activity.  Right?  Like, after you have a good cry, you usually feel better.  You’re able to sort of process this emotion through an activity.  

And so what you need to do is, if you don’t want to cry at work, if you don’t want to have this emotional reaction, you need to find something else to channel that need, that craving for the catharsis into.  

And so actually what studies tell us is that if you feel like, if you’re at work and you’re having this emotional reaction and you want to cry, the best thing to do is actually sit down and sort of start typing a letter to yourself.  Right?  It seems like totally ridiculous, nobody ever types letters to themselves.  But in study after study, they have shown that this works.  That if you sit down, you can sort of manufacture this sort of cathartic experience by writing out what you’re feeling.  And that way, you don’t burst into tears in the middle of a workplace.  

In Their Own Words is recorded in Big Think's studio.

Image courtesy of Shutterstock

LIVE ON MONDAY | "Lights, camera, activism!" with Judith Light

Join multiple Tony and Emmy Award-winning actress Judith Light live on Big Think at 2 pm ET on Monday.

Big Think LIVE

Add event to calendar

AppleGoogleOffice 365OutlookOutlook.comYahoo

Keep reading Show less

Scientists see 'rarest event ever recorded' in search for dark matter

The team caught a glimpse of a process that takes 18,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 years.

Image source: Pixabay
Surprising Science
  • In Italy, a team of scientists is using a highly sophisticated detector to hunt for dark matter.
  • The team observed an ultra-rare particle interaction that reveals the half-life of a xenon-124 atom to be 18 sextillion years.
  • The half-life of a process is how long it takes for half of the radioactive nuclei present in a sample to decay.
Keep reading Show less

Space travel could create language unintelligible to people on Earth

A new study looks at what would happen to human language on a long journey to other star systems.

Cylindrical space colony.

Credit: NASA Ames Research Center.
Surprising Science
  • A new study proposes that language could change dramatically on long space voyages.
  • Spacefaring people might lose the ability to understand the people of Earth.
  • This scenario is of particular concern for potential "generation ships".
Keep reading Show less

Your emotions are the new hot commodity — and there’s an app for that

Many of the most popular apps are about self-improvement.

Drew Angerer/Getty Images
Personal Growth

Emotions are the newest hot commodity, and we can't get enough.

Keep reading Show less
Scroll down to load more…
Quantcast