How does Lucia Kappachione’s approach differ from the expressive writing method developed a little later by James Pennebeijaker? The essence of his method is to respond and “throw out” negative emotions in a crisis situation. Pennebaker suggests writing about his experiences for 20 minutes a day, thus relieving stress.
The writer himself chooses the direction of his writing; he does not have a special “action plan”. Keeping an “expressive diary” by Lucia Capaccione is aimed at personal growth. It allows you to better understand yourself, comprehend your emotions, learn to make choices, think through changes and bring them to life.
For this, the author has developed a set of exercises located in a certain sequence. They combine writing and drawing (or collages) and the functions of both hemispheres of the brain, especially the right, are activated, which in turn activate creative thinking.
We selected four exercises from the book “The Art of Finding Yourself” that will give an idea of Lucia’s program and are aimed at liberating our true “I”.
For work you will need a notebook, pen, pencils, pastels or felt-tip pens.
Exercise 1 “How am I feeling right now?”
1. Point your attention inward and ask: “How am I feeling right now?” Close your eyes and reflect on this issue. Pay attention to your physical sensations and emotions. Observe the images or words that arise in your mind that can express how you are currently feeling.
2. While your eyes were closed, you could see images, colors, words or symbols, or simply experienced some kind of physical sensation or emotion. Express them in any way, in any style: with the help of doodles, strokes, any shapes and patterns, in images or words.
3. When you are done, take a look at what happened. Does it cause you any feelings? Describe your reaction on the next page of the diary.
This exercise is especially useful when you are embraced by strong feelings that are difficult to cope with. It makes you stop and think, defuse and express your feelings, analyze and clarify them, and perhaps it is better to realize what is happening to you. And then decide what you want to do with these feelings in a particular case.
Exercise 2 “The Story of My Life: The Timeline”
1. Think about your whole life up to the present moment and ask yourself: “What events and experiences of my life do I consider to be key?” Return to your earliest memories and begin a slow movement through life. Close your eyes to visualize past events more clearly. Pause to reflect on the most important events and periods. Try to recreate the experiences and emotions associated with them as brightly as possible.
2. Draw a vertical line in the notebook. Mark key years on it, starting from the year of your birth and ending with the current year. To the right of the time line, write words or phrases that indicate each key event or experience (for example: “Age 6 years: began to learn to play the piano / became seriously ill with pneumonia, started to draw”).
Opposite these words, to the left of the time line, write down the sensations (physical, emotional) that you experienced during this event or period of life. (For example: “I began to feel happier, I fell in love with the music, I was praised and encouraged.”) You might want to color each period on the “ruler” using a color that reflects your past experiences.
3. When you are finished, examine your timeline. Describe or draw the thoughts / feelings that you have about a particular period of life or life in general when you consider it in retrospect. Tell us about the patterns, cycles, topics, lessons that have emerged through this work.
This timeline is an invaluable tool, a map for further exploration of self using autobiographical notes, stories, poems, drawings of scenes, events or people. This exercise is also useful for exploring the repeating patterns and cycles of your life.
Exercise 3. “My Critical Self”
1. Close your eyes and ask: “What insulting do I say to myself?” Listen to these little voices in your head that attack your self-esteem – to your messages to yourself that you are flawed, bad, unworthy of love, etc. Listen to how destructive your accusations and criticisms sound.
2. Divide the page vertically into two parts. Start writing with the dominant hand in the column on the side of that hand. Name the column “Inner Critic” and write down in it all the offensive messages that you are addressing yourself during this period of your life. Record them in the second person, for example: “You are incompetent. You will never get this job. “” There is nothing good in you. You do not deserve happiness “or” You are stupid and you will never reach your goal. “
3. Reread insults. Express your feelings in the column opposite. Use the other (non-dominant) hand for answers.
This is an incredibly effective tool to counter the negative image of the self and the formation of a higher self-esteem. When performed repeatedly, it helps to cope with self-hatred and doubts about one’s own worth. By fighting annihilating criticism from inside and out, you build confidence.
As the aphorism says, the author of which is considered to be Eleanor Roosevelt, “no one can cause you to feel your own inferiority without your consent.” Noticing the internal attacks on your self-esteem and resisting them, you learn to cope with insults from other people.
Exercise 4. “Five years later”
1. Close your eyes and think about your daily routine. Imagine how you wake up in the morning, do daily chores. Imagine the conditions surrounding you and the people you interact with.
2. Now imagine your usual day five years later. Visualize how you wake up in the morning and begin daily activities. What is your environment? Imagine the people you interact with, the different places you visit, and how you feel in your life. Briefly describe your imaginary day in five years. Write in the present tense, as if it were happening now.
3. Repeat this journey into the future, but this time imagine yourself to be a person of the opposite sex. Write about it.
4. Look at the three visualizations that you have obtained, and check if there are serious differences in them: between the past and the present, between the female and the male? Write down what you found, and then ask yourself: “What am I already doing to get where I want in five years?” “What else can I do for this?” Write down all the thoughts that come to mind in response to these questions.
This exercise can be used to work with any period of time. For example, you can explore your idea of life after a year or less.
Exercise activates your ability to fantasize about the future, and also helps you realize that you are creating your own life – just like an artist paints a picture. You can try different options in your imagination and after that choose which direction you want to move. If you realize what you really want, it will be easier for you to take the next step, that is, develop skills, find resources and develop the behavior necessary to achieve your goal.
Other exercises that allow you to better understand and free your true “I” you will find in Lucia Capaccione’s book “The Art of Finding Yourself. Expressive Diary ”(Genesis, 2019)
From the side it seems that you have a wonderful job, a wonderful family and everything is perfect. But in the morning you can hardly get out of bed because you do not know why to start a new day. At lunch, you actively criticize someone’s bad behavior, and in the evening you are so exhausted that you climb into the refrigerator again, although you promised yourself not to eat at night. This is a dead point, which is difficult to move, if you do not know how.
What have I achieved? Was that what I wanted? What will happen next? By around the age of 40, these questions are prevailing for everyone. Men endure the crisis harder than women – the whole life society requires from them results, achievements, success. What is the peculiarity of the middle-aged crisis in men and how to overcome it?