Often clients tell me that their brains never shut down and because of this, they feel tired, overwhelmed and frustrated. Sometimes their thoughts are about tasks that need to be done or unresolved issues. They lose sleep and find that they are plagued by worries. There is a good strategy that can help you. Writing things down:
- Minimizes the overwhelm - When people state they have "a thousand things" in their head, I suggest that we work together to write them all down. Usually the "thousand things" become a list with less than seven items on it. You see, it is confusing to have thoughts going around and around in your head but writing them down gives them a beginning and an end as well as a realistic view of the situation.
- Provides clarity - In order to put everything down on paper, you need to focus and then choose words that clearly describe your thoughts. Reading what you have written often helps you to understand exactly what is bothering you and might even hold the keys as to what needs to be done.
- Clears your head - Downloading things onto paper frees up your mind. You then have the ability and freedom to think new thoughts or develop strategies to resolve issues.
- Allows you to focus on solutions - Once you have written about the things that are bothersome you will be able to start thinking about ways to deal with the problems and steps you need to take.
- Provides opportunities to review and edit your plans - We usually don't get into trouble overnight and therefore need to be realistic about the time that will be needed to get out of trouble. Once you have made your list and identified some options for dealing with them put your writings in a drawer. Go back to them in a day or two to make revisions. You might be surprised at the new perspective and ideas you have adopted since beginning this work.
- Helps you to remember - Putting things in writing means you no longer have to keep them in your memory or worry about forgetting them. You can let go because you have everything outlined on paper.
- Preserves information that you can share with others - Rather than having a conversation with someone, you can now provide them with a written document that can be reviewed over and over again. This is particularly helpful when there are many details or a large quantity of data.
Make sure that you schedule time to work on your writings so that you won't continue to obsess about the thought. Aim to find positive strategies that can resolve the problems. Using a journal will also help you to keep everything in one place. That way you will not be looking for individual sheets of paper that can easily be misplaced.
Don't think that you have to be an expert writer or perfectionist to use this method. The important thing is that you get the thoughts out of your head and down on paper!