I’m a singer-songwriter and the the official title of my debut album is “Home.” (See Footnote 1)
It is titled “Home” because making music creates a space for me to feel completely at rest and at home. It’s a place I can escape to and use my imagination to recreate worlds and images and sounds that resonate with my spirit.
In psychology this process is called ‘sublimation’ – a term coined by Freud, the father of psychoanalysis, to describe the process of turning your unwanted or unacceptable impulses into an action that dissipates your anger and benefits your physical, mental and emotional health.
Freud considered sublimation a sign of maturity that allows people to behave in civilised and acceptable ways. This process can lead people to pursue activities that are better for their health, for instance, or to engage in behaviours that are positive, productive, and creative. (Ref: What is sublimation in Psychology?)
Examples of Sublimation
Taking part in sports or hands-on activity e.g. baking, crafting, woodworking is a good way to let off steam and get your aggression out in creative and fun ways. Rather than acting on the urge to be physically aggressive, dismissive, unkind or to backstab others, people may play competitive sports or engage in the creative arts and hobbies to channel that negative energy into something inspiring, beautiful or refined, or funny. Basically, channel all that negative energy, focus it on building something that has positive meaning for you.
As the say, the best revenge is success.
I don’t enjoy explaining or justifying myself, so most of the time, especially when dealing with people who enjoy mud-slinging, gossiping and finger-pointing, I just try and walk away (discreetly), especially dealing with people who have low self-awareness and empathy — being around people like that completely drains me, in no small part because I’m a HSP (Highly-Sensitive Person) and an empath.
But this also means that a lot of unprocessed feelings and thoughts do build up inside of me from time to time.
While it is easy to ignore our inner mental state and just try to “move on” ignoring our feelings and thoughts instead of addressing them exacerbates our sense of unease and feelings of disconnect.
When you make time for self-reflection and try to cultivate self-awareness, you open the window between stimulus and reaction, and can choose how to respond to others instead of merely reacting.
Understanding yourself and knowing who you are is key to breaking free of any mental health issues you might have.
It is fundamental to being kind to yourself.
One of the best ways I have found to get back to “Home” is to be completely honest with myself about where I am at, how I feel about things or people and what I want to do next. So I regularly take the time to write “Morning Papers.”
This is an exercise developed by Julia Cameron, best-selling author and artist who brought creativity to everyday conversation, who wrote a book titled “The Artists’ Way” about tapping into your creative energy.
Out of a variety of exercises she uses to help people tap into their creativity, “Morning Papers” is the fundamental tool Cameron endorses for unblocking creativity — it “brings clarity, direction, and productivity to every area of our lives,” says Cameron.
Here’s how the exercise works (in Cameron’s own words):
“First thing in the morning ideally no more than 45 minutes after waking, write three pages by hand about anything. Seriously, anything. The point is that you don’t stop writing. If you’re bored and can’t think of what to write, write that.
Morning Pages serve as a kind of ‘brain drain that allows you to release the worries, fears, and distractions standing between you and your day — there’s no wrong way to do Morning Pages.”
Just don’t share your writing with anyone — these pages are meant to be a space where you can vent and share free of judgment, so don’t censor yourself. It’s OK if they turn into a grocery list, a rant at your sister or a poem.” (Ref: NPR “How To Make Creativity Part of Your Daily Routine”)
So, I have two separate collections for my journalling
1. Morning Papers
2. Regular Journalling
What distinguishes 1 from 2 is that morning papers are pretty much made up of automatic writing. It is uncensored, unfiltered and best carried out when you’re still not quite fully awake — it’s a low pressure way to express yourself.
That is how it helps you to access your unconscious/repressed thoughts and feelings. Just to reiterate, it doesn’t have to make sense, don’t worry about grammar or spelling or punctuation — give your fingers and unconscious free reign and see what reveals itself.
When I go back and read my journal/morning paper entries, it gives me insight into myself and my needs and what I can possibly do about them to take care of myself and my mental and emotional health.
Sometimes, in the ups and downs of life, it’s very easy to feel discouraged and or lost. Going back and reading old journal entries increases my self-awareness and helps me to have a more accurate picture of who I am and how I have grown between then and now.
Journalling also helps me connect the dots in my life and recognise patterns of behaviour that may or may not be serving me well. From there, I can go on to decide how I want to make my decisions moving forward.
In essence, journalling, especially morning papers, is an essential practice for my metal health and emotional processing. I feel settled and still inside when I’m done with the mind-dump and have more clarity and headspace to take on the day ahead.
I highly recommend it to one and all who are interested in maintaining their mental health and emotional well-being.
Footnote 1: I’m currently in the midst of working on my second singer-songwriter album — many of the songs I wrote came organically after I emerged from an emotionally and physically abusive relationship of 9 years. During the time I was married, I stopped writing music because I felt so much anxiety and fear in the relationship and was struggling with depression.
Within 3 months of physically separating myself from my ex, and giving myself space to process what was happening, I started writing new songs everyday on the piano and also was eventually able to get off sleeping pills and anti-depressants which I had taken for almost the entirety of my relationship with the ex.
If you would like to stay tuned to my next album for which I plan to have a kickstarter, please stay posted on medium or www.meowmeowproject.com. Thanks for your readership!
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