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Guard Against “It Doesn’t Matter”

Guard Against “It Doesn’t Matter”


    I have been reading quite a few books and blogs about writing non-fiction articles recently, putting the styling techniques and grammar tips into practice. I have also been reading more novels to expand my imagination and hopefully, vocabulary, so I might aptly describe what I would like to. I was on a quest to become a more prolific writer.

    So as I drafted a few articles for newspapers, I applied the lessons I learnt and set about editing and re-writing my drafts. I was quite pleased with my efforts and satisfied I had done my best. I decided to leave one of the articles overnight and come back to it one last time the next day with a fresh eye before submitting it to the editor.

    The next morning, I turned on my computer again and expected to run quickly through the article, smile at myself, and attach it to the email to send off.

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    However, I was caught by deflated surprise. Suddenly, I found a number of flaws in the logic and argument. There were typos everywhere, and the writing sounded dull. The article didn’t sound too interesting anymore. I was almost on the verge of tears and was tempted to write to my editor and tell her my dog ate the draft.

    I said to myself, “It’s just an article and it doesn’t matter if I didn’t get printed this time.”

    Julia Cameron warns against this mentality in her book, The Artist’s Way, a book to guide others to discover their creativity.

    Many artists begin a piece of work, get well along in it, and then find, as they near completion, that the work seems mysteriously drained of merit. It’s no longer worth the trouble. To therapists, this surge of sudden disinterest (“It doesn’t matter”) is a routine coping device employed to deny pain and ward off vulnerability.

    Indeed, it was my way of avoiding the disappointment I felt about my work. I also did not want to spend extra time and effort to further polishing the article. I didn’t want to deal with the perceived obstacle, nor admit that my confidence in the draft is shattered. Suddenly it seemed that the whole world could write better than me.

    I found as many excuses as I could:

    • There were more proficient writers
    • My topic was boring
    • Others could write the same topic so it didn’t matter if I submitted my draft or not
    • No one would read what I wrote
    • I won’t die if I didn’t write
    • There was no point in trying to become a writer

    Self-doubt blinded my passion for writing. The effort required to reach the goal I set for myself seemed too much for my psyche to bear.

    I consoled myself that even if I didn’t reach the goal, it doesn’t matter.

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    And with that, my enthusiasm and energy slowly dwindled away. I was establishing a defensive wall around my self-doubt.

    This is why many of us never write that book, or that guest post, or paint that picture or design that graphic.


    We think: it doesn’t matter. But it does – even if only for ourselves

    I finally picked up my weary soul and went about editing the article. It took me another 2 hours, but after I sent it off to the Editor, I felt good about myself, that I had conquered the self-doubt in me.

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    Next time you find yourself saying “it doesn’t matter” – stop yourself, and focus doubly hard on that exact task you think doesn’t matter. For it does, and each little step you spur yourself on will create all that difference in life.

    That article I submitted led to a subsequent invitation to write again, and again…and now I write regularly for that paper.

    It does matter.

    (Photo credit: Tower on Beach via Shutterstock)

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    Science Says Screaming Is Good For You

    Science Says Screaming Is Good For You

    There are many reasons why people might scream – they’re angry, scared, or in pain (or maybe they’re in a metal band!). Some might say that screaming is bad, but here’s why science says it’s good for you.

    “For the first time in the history of psychology there is a way to access feelings, hidden away, in a safe way and thus to reduce human suffering. It is, in essence, the first science of psychotherapy.” — Dr. Arthur Janov

    Primal Therapy

    Dr. Arthur Janov invented Primal Therapy in the late 1960’s. It is a practice that allows the patient to face their repressed emotions from past trauma head on and let those emotions go. This treatment is intended to cure any mental illness the patient may have that surfaced from this past trauma. In most cases, Primal Therapy has lead Dr. Janov’s patients to scream towards the end of their session, though it was not part of the original procedure. During a group therapy session that was at a standstill, Dr. Janov says that one of his patients, a student he called Danny, told a story that inspired him to implement a technique that he never would have thought of on his own.

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    How it Started

    “During a lull in our group therapy session, he told us a story about a man named Ortiz who was currently doing an act on the London stage in which he paraded around in diapers drinking bottles of milk. Throughout his number, Ortiz is shouting, ‘Mommy! Daddy! Mommy! Daddy!’ at the top of his lungs. At the end of his act he vomits. Plastic bags are passed out, and the audience is requested to follow suit.”

    It doesn’t end there, though. Dr. Janov said that his patient was quite fascinated with that story, and that alone moved him to suggest something even he believed to be a little elementary.

    “I asked him to call out, ‘Mommy! Daddy!’ Danny refused, saying that he couldn’t see the sense in such a childish act, and frankly, neither could I. But I persisted, and finally, he gave in. As he began, he became noticeably upset. Suddenly he was writhing on the floor in agony. His breathing was rapid, spasmodic. ‘Mommy! Daddy!’ came out of his mouth almost involuntarily in loud screeches. He appeared to be in a coma or hypnotic state. The writhing gave way to small convulsions, and finally, he released a piercing, deathlike scream that rattled the walls of my office. The entire episode lasted only a few minutes, and neither Danny nor I had any idea what had happened. All he could say afterward was: ‘I made it! I don’t know what, but I can feel.’”

    Delving deeper

    Dr. Janov says he was baffled for months, but then he decided to experiment with another patient with the same method, which lead to a similar result as before. The patient started out calling “Mommy! Daddy!” then experienced convulsions, heavy breathing, and then eventually screamed. After the session, Dr. Janov says his patient was transformed and became “virtually another human being. He became alert… he seemed to understand himself.”

    Although the initial intention of this particular practice wasn’t to get the patient to scream, more than once did his Primal Therapy sessions end with the patient screaming and feeling lighter, revived, and relieved of stresses that were holding them down in life.

    Some Methods To Practice Screaming

    If you want to try it out for yourself, keep reading!

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    • Step 1: Be Alone — Be alone. If you live in a place that you can’t be alone, it might be a good idea to talk to your family or roommates and explain to them what you’re about to do and make sure they’re okay with it. If you’re good to go, move on to step 2.
    • Step 2: Lie Down — Lie down on a yoga mat on your back and place a pillow underneath your head. If you don’t own a yoga mat, you can use a rug or even a soft blanket.
    • Step 3: Think — Think of things that have hurt you or made you angry. It can be anything from your childhood or even something that happened recently to make yourself cry, if you’re not already crying or upset. You could even scream “Mommy! Daddy!” just like Dr. Janov’s patients did to get yourself started.
    • Step 4: Scream — Don’t hold anything back; cry and scream as loud as you can. You can also pound your fists on the ground, or just lie there and scream at the top of your lungs.

    After this, you should return your breathing to a normal and steady pace. You should feel lighter, like a weight has been lifted off of you. If not, you can also try these other methods.

    Scream Sing

    Scream singing” is referring to what a lot of lead singers in metal or screamo bands will do. I’ve tried it and although I wasn’t very good at it, it was fun and definitely relieved me of any stress I was feeling from before. It usually ends up sounding like a really loud grunt, but nonetheless, it’s considered screaming.

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    • Step 1 — Bear down and make a grunting sound.
    • Step 2 — Hiss like a snake and make sure to do this from your diaphragm (your stomach) for as long as you can.
    • Step 3 — Breathe and push your stomach out for more air when you are belting notes, kind of like you would if you were singing.
    • Step 4 — Try different ways to let out air to control how long the note will last, just make sure not to let out too much air.
    • Step 5 — Distort your voice by pushing air out from your throat, just be careful not to strain yourself.
    • Step 6 — Play around with the pitch of your screams and how wide your mouth is open – the wider your mouth is open, the higher the screams will sound. The narrower or rounder your mouth is (and most likely shaped like an “o”), the lower the screams will sound.
    • Step 7 — Start screaming to metal music. If you’re not a huge metal fan, it’s okay. You don’t have to use this method if you don’t want to.

    If you want a more thorough walkthrough of how to scream sing, here’s a good video tutorial. If this method is too strenuous on your vocal chords, stop. Also, make sure to stay hydrated when scream singing and drink lots of water.

    Scream into a pillow

    Grab a pillow and scream into it. This method is probably the fastest and easiest way to practice screaming. Just make sure to come up for air.

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    Always remember to make sure that you’re not going to disturb anyone while practicing any of these methods of screaming. And with that, happy screaming!

    Featured photo credit: Sharon Mollerus via flickr.com

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