4 Ways to Shift Stress with Free-Flow Writing: Demonstrated by Kobe Bryant

You probably know that we carry our stress in our body.

Holiday stress. Relationship stress. Financial stress. Health stress. State-of-the-world stress. Busyness, overload, overwhelm stress.

Did you know that free-flow writing helps move stress out of our body and onto the page (or screen)?

Here's how it works:

I learned about Kobe Bryant’s 2013 Facebook rant at a writing retreat. His unedited “emptying” is a gorgeous example of how free-flow writing softens stress and creates space for something new and helpful to bubble up.

#1: Empty on the page.

In free-flow writing, you ‘empty on the page,’ – stream-of-consciousness style. No stopping to think. No editing. No judging and censoring.  You “let it all out” -- all the angsty emotions. 

Henry Miller said, 

"The more I wrote, the more I became a human being. The writing may have seemed monstrous (to some), but I became a more human individual because of it. I was getting the poison out of my system." 

So be monstrous! Free-flow write and get the poison out.

Kobe Bryant did that in his Facebook rant. It was right before the playoffs and he tore his Achilles heel.

He begins: This is such BS! All the training and sacrifice just flew out the window with one step that I’ve done millions of times! The frustration is unbearable. The anger is rage. Why the hell did this happen??? Makes no damn sense. Now I’m supposed to come back from this and be the same player OR better at 35?!? How in the world am I supposed to do that? I have NO CLUE.

#2: Name the intense emotion(s).

  • He’s specific: “The frustration is unbearable. The anger is rage.” 
  • He says what he fears: coming back from the injury at age 35.
  • The writing is simple and honest.

He continues: Do I have the consistent will to overcome this thing? Maybe I should break out the rocking chair and reminisce on the career that was. Maybe this is how my book ends. Maybe Father Time has defeated me…Then again maybe not! It’s 3:30 a.m., my foot feels like dead weight, my head is spinning from the pain meds and I’m wide awake. Forgive my Venting, but what’s the purpose of social media if I won’t bring it to you Real NO Image?

#3: FEEL the emotion(s) and embrace being messy, real, and vulnerable.

  • He feels into the frustration and uncertainty of his situation and allows his true thoughts and feelings to be witnessed, be they whiny, complaining, terrified, freaked out, outraged, overwhelmed, petty, bewildered… All is welcome.
  • Kobe Bryant isn’t afraid how he sounds to his fans. He’s “bringing it real, no image.” His ability to be real and vulnerable makes him more relatable and admired, not less.
  • He’s getting the poison out.

His post ends like this: After ALL the venting, a real perspective sets in. There are far greater issues/challenges in the world then a torn Achilles. Stop feeling sorry for yourself, find the silver lining and get to work with the same belief, same drive and same conviction as ever.

One day, the beginning of a new career journey will commence. Today is NOT that day. “If you see me in a fight with a bear, pray for the bear.” I’ve always loved that quote. That’s “mamba mentality,” we don’t quit, we don’t cower, we don’t run. We endure and conquer. 

I know it’s a long post but I’m Facebook Venting LOL. Maybe now I can actually get some sleep and be excited for surgery tomorrow. First step of a new challenge. Guess I will be Coach Vino the rest of the season. I have faith in my teammates. They will come thru.

Thank you for all your prayers and support. Much Love Always.

Mamba Out
April 13, 2013

#4: Trust that writing creates shifts in your life, great and small.

How quick was that? In just a few minutes of writing, he feels and expresses his frustration and rage which allows him to touch a more compassionate and resilient part of himself.

Shifts can be big or small, and you never know what will happen until you start writing!

  • His agitation and wakefulness shifts to relaxation and preparation for sleep and surgery.
  • His victim perspective (“why the hell did this happen?”) shifts to seeing himself as a survivor, and then a calm leader.
  • His rage and frustration shifts to gratitude for the abundance in his life. He sees the bigger picture and greater perspective.

I heard Bono say in an interview,

“You’re writing to get yourself through something.”

It's true. And it works. This is why many therapists recommend that their patients free write. Writing helps you lean into the pain, versus avoiding or denying it, which is what gets you through. It opens the door to a change in mood, feelings of gratitude, self-compassion, empathy, new perspectives and insights about yourself and your situation, and courage to take action.

Try these 4 techniques for yourself. See what happens!

#1: Empty on the page.
#2: Name the intense emotion(s).
#3: Feel the emotion(s) and embrace being messy, real, and vulnerable.
#4: Trust that writing creates shifts in your life, great and small.

Do you know someone in your life who might benefit from this article? Share this link with them. They’ll be happy you did.

With love,

Want to write?
Take a pen & prompt journey:

writing prompt


Grab a pen & notebook. Write the prompt at the top of the page. Set a timer for 10 minutes. Or 5. Or 2!

Write whatever arises in your thoughts, feelings, and sensations. Don’t stop to think or edit - keep your pen moving.

Accept ALL that you write - the pretty & ugly; absurd & boring. Discover what wants to be felt, known, expressed, released...