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  • Tamara Sagathevan

Things On My Chest - A Journaling Exercise

For a PDF break down, please go here. Note you don't have to subscribe, you can click the X on the box if you don't want to ;)


When I have a lot of stuff weighing me down, things sitting on my chest, which I cannot express or don't have the space to express. It affects me quickly.


I spiral, I have obsessive thoughts, and if it's a situation where I wasn't allowed to speak my truth...I start feeling physically ill *drama*


I do this exercise if:

  • If I have little time to analyse what's on my chest,

  • or if I prefer to write instead of paint,

  • or if I need an exercise with low barriers to entry

Prefer to watch a video?

What is it?

It's a free flow writing exercise where you will be writing with a ballpoint pen on an A4 page, and trashing the page after - that's about it!


Some caveats and disclaimers, not a doctor not a therapist. This might not work for you but it might be worth a try.


Why do this exercise?

  • It's therapeutic. It feels like the weight on your chest eases up a little bit as you create space for your feelings.

  • No judgment. So that helps you with the ease and with the space.

  • Not acknowledging thoughts/feelings can make you feel shit. And while the thoughts might go away, the body kind of keeps count. So you might get to the end of the day feeling like shit and you don't know why, because you never took the time to put the thought down and this helps you not do that.

So, with that in mind, let's jump into the how of this exercise.

  • The supplies for this exercise are an A4 sheet of copy paper and a ballpoint pen.

  • Add a rectangle in the middle of the page as central as possible within the page.

  • Write the subject of what's on your chest or mind or simply write "things on my chest".

  • I say on my chest because personally this is where I feel the weight of unsaid things or obsessive thoughts for you It could be on your mind or your shoulders.

  • Start writing in a free flow. That means start with a sentence, don't think too much and try and avoid periods which end the sentence and thought. Just keep writing.

  • We're not writing in perfect lines, they're crooked, they overlap, they get progressively untidy, they do what they want.

  • Fill up the page as much as you can.

  • Take a huge breath in and then let it out.

  • Use another pen to disconnect from the writing we've just done and the charge of it all.

  • Take a pen and sweep through the pathways between the lines. We're trying to go around each sentence. Sometimes we're doubling lines, missing text, it's a mess.

  • The aim for us is to get lost more in the action of finding space and creating a long path.

  • We have completed our writing, it is time to trash it

  • Trashing it could mean tearing it, painting over it, or even burning it.


I really hope you found this idea valuable. I was a little bit reluctant to do this, even though this was an idea in my mind for a very long time. That's because I felt like "who doesn't know that you should write things down and if it's extremely like negative or charged, you can just tear it up?!"


But then I realized that I didn't know that! I only discovered this probably two years ago, when I started doing some art courses.

Before that I would write, yes, but I would write when I had the time to write, because it was a very difficult and long process and I would save those things I wrote down.

Eventually I would end up reading them and judging what I wrote or reliving that entire experience because I didn't have an outlet for it.


Thank you for reading my blog post!


Tamara Out!

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