Desire is a tricky thing to understand. You need to think hard about the desires.
Countless people are living without meaning in their lives, just wandering, and going through every day activities without any purpose. They don’t know how to switch from a job which has become toxic. Frustrated with their partners but won’t do anything about it because the overthinking has put them in utter distress. Whenever they get to any solution to a problem in their mind, they tend to circle back to the starting question because they overestimated the number of contexts your memory can hold at a time.
Solution is writing. You just need to start writing every day. In fact, I would suggest you need to write every passing thought which ends up drifting you away from the present.
What to write?
It could be as basic as just writing a sentence or two about how does that thought makes you feel. I’m not kidding, just open up a Word document, and put today’s date on top, and give your thought a title. Maybe it is how you want your daily routine to be, so, just say “daily routine”. And start writing why do you want to change it, what changes do you want to make, how are those changes beneficial, and how much effort will it take?
Not only writing thoughts down gets you to conclusions faster, but also it creates a log of your thought process in certain point of your life to get to that particular decision. You don’t have to be right. You just need to be aware of your actions, and more importantly, the thoughts that lead to those actions.
Why did I start writing?
I started writing in April 2020 after I lost the job due to the acquisition of the startup by a unicorn. Before that, I used to write some gibberish in a random note-taking app, but that’s it. After the job loss, I started writing journal entries every day. I used to outline my day at the end of it. “How I felt during the day?”, “What did I accomplish that day?”, or “Any specific bad or good events of the day which stole the majority of my time actually or just mentally” used to go in that outline. Then I used to do as retrospective in the end of the outline. For example, what did I do which can be improved tomorrow, or any good thing that I did for which I need to give myself a token of appreciation.
Writing helps me get out of overthinking. No doubt I’m thinking a lot when I’m writing down my thoughts, but there is no repetition of thoughts or incessantly going on a loop over some issue in life. It lightens up my mind from constant thinking. Sure, there is a practice called “noting” which I actively try to practice and just observe the thoughts come and go. And I try my best to let one timer thoughts pass away, but as soon as I see a reoccurrence of a thought, I know there will be overthinking succeeding it. That too for days.
Thoughts are emails of your brain
Writing is like going through your email inbox and marking emails as done. The ones you know are spam, mark them as spam. The ones are important should be flagged or segregated in a separate folder. Thoughts are the same constant stream of emails in your brain triggered by external sources. If you let those spam or advertisement emails to hold your attention then you are doomed, but if you can filter them out in proper directories then voilà! You have an empty and more manageable inbox.
That's it for this blog post and if you feel that you've something to add to this or you have a different perspective then share it and discuss it on r/StoicHuman or go to the Reddit discussion post for this blog post linked down below.
Stay healthy, Stay safe!
Journaling is your superpower. It's Free!
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