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Spontaneous Overflow Reflecting in Tranquility

The Official Blog of Michael Schoenhofer, Executive Director

A Tip from Mike

Write a New Story

I have been journaling daily for almost 20 years. I write to-do lists, things I've learned, summaries of books, brief stories, memories of conversations, and details from trips. I find my journal such a great place to pour out all of my thoughts and feelings, even those that are troubling or difficult. By doing this I don't have to keep thinking the same worry thought over and over again. It clarifies for me how upset I feel, and why I am feeling this way. I can sort out the difference between what is in my control and what is not.

Writing helps me see my worries objectively and break the cycle of believing everything I think and feel.

OK. Here are a few tips on how to get started on a Worry Journal:

  1. Schedule a time of day to show up to your journal to write.

  2. Write whatever comes to mind without trying to filter it. Just write the thought or feeling as it appears in your mind.

  3. Set a timer for each session; five minutes or ten minutes. My time is 20 minutes. And once you write, don't stop until the timer rings, even if all you write is: "I don't know what to write.”

  4. Set the timer again and look over what you've written – now you can see what is helpful and what is not. Strike-through anything that is out of your control. Look at what you decide is in your control.

    1. Set a schedule to work on this – ask yourself: "What's the very next thing I can do?" No matter how small the step, just do one thing toward problem-solving, and the rest will follow.

    2. The second thing you can do about big worries is try to think about them in a novel way. I often tell myself stories and end up “awfulizing" or "catastrophizing" a situation. In my journal, I reframe the problem into a new account where I write out what I would like to happen.

I feel so much more energy and passion focusing my attention on something that looks manageable, where I define the scope of what is in my control. Instead of feeling paralyzed by fears and worries, I feel motivated to action. What a relief!

OK. Nothing is stopping you now. Go out and buy a cheap journal at the Dollar Store and a pen to keep with it and get going.


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