Frustration, annoyance, rage — there’s a writing exercise for stress of every kind. The kind where you need to get things done but are so upset that you just want to scream, or curl up into a ball and hide? Here’s an idea for that and it includes your best friend.
Let’s just be honest: feelings aren’t evil and they’re not here to make you suffer. They’re part of this built-in navigation system. It’s safe to give yourself permission to feel your feelings — they’re signaling what’s working and, in the case of this post, what’s not working.
This writing exercise is inspired by something I learned about from high-performance coach Brendon Burchard (here’s the podcast episode).
If you’re having a bad day (or a bad week) and something is just irking you, pushing your buttons, keeping you from moving forward with freedom and ease, try this: pretend you’re telling your best friend how to handle the situation.
In the video, Brendon suggested the following exercise to turn a bad day (or week) around:
- Imagine that you were talking to your best friend. If they were going through exactly what you’re going through now, what kinds of things would you say to them? What next step would you advise them to take?
- Pretend you’re now that best friend, saying those same or similar things to yourself.
- Get out a piece of paper and a pen or a computer and write a letter channeling your best friend: written from their perspective, offering you advice on what to do next in your situation.
A couple of weeks ago, I wrote about how cathartic writing is, especially following trauma or major upheavals.
This is a writing exercise specifically for those feelings of frustration, anger, impatience, and stress caused by things not going the way you’d like them to be going. It really helped me, so I wanted to share.
Here’s my sample letter from my best friend to me, written by me (and even though she didn’t know about it, her advice really helped me).
Best friends have a way of making things better.
Think like your best friend. Then be that best friend to yourself.
A Writing Exercise for Stress Relief: My Sample Letter That I Wrote to Myself, “from” My Best Friend
That’s really frustrating. I’m so sorry you’re having such a rough time with this project — I feel like you’ve worked so hard already!
I love you.
Are you by the lake today? Maybe you can go wash it all off. I don’t need to tell you how healing that is. You know.
Do some more yoga. Shake it off. Sweat is good for the soul too.
I know you can do this. I’ve seen you get through so much worse — that doesn’t make this any less frustrating, I know, but I know you can do this. If anybody can, it’s you!
Just get all the ick out of your system before you work on anything and when you do, it’ll probably be a million times easier.
Remember the line? “Just add love.”
When you’re finished, let me know and we can sneak out of the house and celebrate with a drink.
Love you forever and ever, my person.
Your Best Friend
Read this next: prompts to honor your feelings & the journey.
Need a little more encouragement to shake off the stress? Here are 5 activities that take 5 minutes tops.
In the comments below, let me know:
If your best friend was going through what you’re going through, what would you say to them?
Share this writing exercise with any friend who wants to get unstuck and move forward.
Be a best friend to yourself.