I know for sure that what we dwell on is who we become.
- Oprah Winfrey
Do you often end up thinking yourself in circles? Whenever something is bugging me, especially something that’s causing me worry, stress or anger, I end up thinking in an endless cycle. I think about what I should do, what I shouldn’t do, what drastic change should I make, and why I shouldn’t change anything or rock the boat. I argue in my head as I walk, and I do it so well that I end up frustrated and with no solution.
Or at least this is how it used to be for me (sometimes, it still is) but on good days, now I remember that I have a solution.
You need to get through the thinking process, there is no question of that. Unless you are a super-evolved person, who’s managed to control their stray thoughts, you need to move past the Fog of Confusion and make your way to clarity.
You could do this in your head, but that’s bound to make you more confused. You could try talking to someone else, but it might be a private issue, or your listener might get fed up, having to listen to the same thing over and over again. But there is a better, more effective way, and you don’t need anyone else to make use of it.
You can use your journal to make your way to clarity, and simplify your thought process.
JOURNALING TO SIMPLIFY YOUR THOUGHTS
- Make a list. At the top of the page, write your main problem in capital letters. Then, underneath it, make a list of everything related to that problem. Write fast, for at least 7-10 minutes. Don’t think about what you are writing. Don’t worry if you end up repeating things.
- Draw a mindmap. Even if you aren’t a visual person, try this techniques. Use colourful pens. Make branches, and draw images. You don’t have to be an artist, you can draw stick figures. Just go with the flow, and let some creativity in, and see if you come up with anything different.
- Focus on feelings. Just for this exercise, forget about the facts. Journal about how this problem makes you feel. You are allowed to be as unreasonable as you like. You don’t have to justify anything, or prove anything. Just be honest with your feelings, and admit them on the page.
- Focus on the facts. Now, it’s time to be objective. Write down all cold, hard facts related to what’s troubling you. Be ruthless about focusing on facts. If you find your subjectivity creeping in, cross it off. Immediately.
- Free write. Don’t try to worry about a topic or anything. Just write what comes to your mind, and your brain will automatically focus on things that are troubling you. Let your subconscious take over.
- Focus on other people. Make a list of everyone you think will be affected by your decision. How will they be affected. These are the people who are influencing your decisions. Are you stuck because you are trying to please everyone, and make sure everyone is happy with it?
- Look to your past. Have you faced this particular problem before? How did you deal with it then? Did you make a choice, or did you just ride it out? How did that work out for you? What can you learn from the past to either do now what you did before, or do something different?
- Project yourself to the future. Write in your journal, as if you are writing one month, or six months, or two years from now. How do you think has your choices affected you? If there are several avenues you could go with, do this exercises from each of those choices point of view. What do you think your life would be like if you went down Road A, as oppose to Road B?
ACTION YOU CAN TAKE TODAY:
Pick the one issue that is troubling you the most right now, and try some of the above exercises. Try them all if you are up for a challenge, but at the very least, pick a handful that resonate with you, and you will end up with insightful results.