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How to wallow constructively

Suzy Greaves has the lowdown on why a little wallowing actually helps when we feel miserable

by Psychologies

how to wallow constructively

First, accept yourself

Feeling miserable? Good, says therapist Tina Gilbertson. Allowing yourself to feel bad feelings instead of fighting them is a healthy route to feeling OK again and is the key to self-acceptance.

‘When we push away part of us that feels that way, it creates a fragmented self with an acceptable me and unacceptable me,’ she says. But when we let ourselves be honest, and are compassionate with ourselves while we have a good wallow, the feelings dissolve and we can move forward again.

You don’t have to rant and vent – the objective is to get real about how you feel using the TRUTH technique. It takes courage but it also takes less than two minutes, says recent research, for a particular feeling to move through you.

Try the TRUTH technique

T: What’s upset you? Tell the truth in one sentence: ‘My neighbour played loud music till 3am and I didn’t get any sleep.’

R: Realise what you’re feeling: ‘I feel angry, frustrated, outraged.’

U: Uncover self-criticism. Look out for ‘should’ language: ‘I should have gone round there and given her what-for.’

T: Try to understand yourself. Why might a person feel this way? ‘I’ve always been taught to put others’ needs before mine.’

H: Have the feeling. Be kind. ‘I feel angry that my neighbour/people in general are not considerate. It’s like I don’t even matter. I feel ignored and unloved.’

Constructive Wallowing: How To Beat Bad Feelings By Letting Yourself Have Them by Tina Gilbertson is published by Piatkus, and costs £10.99