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Rewrite Your Dread

Ten Percent Happier
November 14, 2022

Dread can feel so heavy, most of the time we don’t even want to talk about it. But what if we tried to express our dread in a different way? Welcome to Day One of the Dread Project Challenge, a five-day series that investigates an emotion so many of us are struggling with lately – from our dread of the next Zoom meeting to worries that have life-and-death stakes. Each day of the Challenge, we tackle dread in a different way, and offer you a fun exercise for feeling a little better, even when you’re anticipating the worst. 

In today’s episode we rewrite some of the stories we tell ourselves about dread. Clinical Psychologist and Poet Dr. Hala Alyan gives us a journaling prompt to get some distance and make even our scariest feelings more approachable.

Today’s Challenge - Estimated time 10 - 15 minutes:

Offered by Hala Alyan, adapted from questions by psychologist Trysa Shulman and provided to Hala by her meditation teacher, Yael Shy. 

Take out your journal, a legal pad or even some blank printer paper and get ready to try this writing prompt. First, you’re going to write yourself a letter from your Dread’s point of view. You can even address it to yourself, like “Dear Saleem…” and sign it “Love, Dread.”  The letter Dread writes to you should answer the following questions: 

  • What are you hoping to achieve? 
  • How do you think it's going?
  • What’s your intention?

Once you’ve finished, read it over and start a letter responding to Dread. Reflect on what it told you and let Dread know: did their letter give you insight into why they’re showing up? What’s Dread trying to warn you about, or make you focus on? How does it feel to know that?

Saleem's Journal
Hala's Journal

Please share how this Dread Project Challenge, “Rewrite Your Dread,” went for you by sending us a voice memo at morethanafeeling@tenpercent.com. You can find instructions in our FAQ about how to record one. Don’t forget to say your name and where you’re from. You may hear yourself on an episode! 

And be sure to follow More Than A Feeling on Twitter at @podfeelings

Where to find Dr. Hala Alyan:

Additional Resources:

If digging into dread is very difficult or intense for you, some additional resources that could help are listed below.

Search for a therapist: 

Mental Health Resources:

Apps:

  • Try the Ten Percent Happier app for free for thirty days by visiting tenpercent.com/more and check out the meditation pack made especially for working with dread.
  • Dare App - free app to help with anxious moments

If you are currently experiencing a mental health crisis, please click here, text 741741, or call 988