My apologies in that this is a post I’ve been meaning to write all of this past week – (and I specifically did not want it to be like a Sunday note. Oh well!)
I wanted to share a few tips that some people might find useful, when it feels as if there are too many issues, all stress and pressure in your mind. As I am a Christian, and this is a Christian blog, I will naturally suggest a Christian way of dealing with these issues (prayer!) However, I hope that it will still be useful even if you don’t want to embrace the prayer aspect.
Now this is very very simple. As a person I like simple, easy solutions. What I do whenever lots of things seem to be playing on my mind and I feel confused and I don’t know where to start, is simply this:
I get a notebook, and I literally just write everything down that is on my mind. Sometimes I find that I’m trying to think through a big, difficult issue, which might be conflicting with something that is smaller, but might appear more urgent, and my mind is confused in thinking of how to deal with each thing. Sometimes too, I find that I might be feeling “low” about something – but I am not quite able to identify what it is. It is often in the act of writing everything down that I am able to identify what exactly is causing the negative emotion. So for me, I find it very important to make myself write down literally everything that is on my mind.
It always surprises me to find that, even when I feel that there are dozens of issues dancing around in my mind, there will only ever be around 10 issues maximum that are actually on my mind.
I also find it crucially important to be totally honest with myself about how I feel about these things – rather than trying to pretend to myself that I am feeling gracious, for instance, when I am actually feeling immensely resentful.
This is because my anxiety often stems from what I am feeling about a matter, rather than the matter itself. So simply by honestly acknowledging how I feel about something, I feel as if I have made a big step towards resolving the matter itself.
Once I have written everything down, then I prioritise the different issues.
One big way for me to generate uncertainty in my mind is when I am not sure that I am working on the most important or urgent issue to deal with, when there is that nagging fear that there could be something more important that I am missing.
However, when everything is written down and correctly prioritised, then there comes a peace of mind with that. When I am satisfied that I have correctly prioritised everything, then I sit down and try to work out how to deal with everything. Sometimes it is as simple as telling myself how to think about an issue that has already happened, and a matter that is already closed. As a Christian, I ask myself how God would want me to think about this issue; the most productive and powerful way of using the lessons learned etc. If I am caught up in anger, or in any other highly negative emotion, then I will pray that God will help me to put aside negativity and embrace positive attitudes.
Other times, issues will need more tangible and practical action. So I will then work out what I need to do.
Sometimes, an issue will be completely beyond my control. This is where my faith really makes an impact. I will sit down and work out how I could pray about an issue to deal with it. Often it will not be a case of a one-off prayer, but rather one of implementing a prayer regime specifically to deal with a particular issue. I ask myself – “How much will I need to pray about this?” Sometimes, issues are urgent, and need lots of immediate concentrated prayer over a very short space of time – hours, or days. Other times, issues might be important, but not so pressingly urgent, so I can afford to take weeks or months and schedule my time accordingly.
For me, following this scheme creates peace of mind, and the confidence that issues I am facing are being dealt with in a productive way.
I hope this could be of use to someone else out there! 😉
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