So I divulged in my private newsletter community this week that I found myself really stressed last week. Worrying, anxious, and I couldn't really pinpoint the source why. Even worse, I really didn't have anything to blame it on. Rather, I have luxurious days to myself where I can spend the entire day working on my creative business.
I start the day with a steady and stable morning routine, including Morning Pages, matcha tea, and sometimes a walk and some Julia Cameron. I have stopped working in my pajama pants, and now wear real pants (that are still comfy). I break up the day with a swim in an outdoor pool surrounded by palm trees and huge cacti plants and flowers; butterflies flutter over the pool and sometimes even a bunny hops by. Sometimes a huge beetle floats onto my face while I’m swimming, but that’s basically it.
10 Inspiring Journaling Prompts for the Beginner!
I get to eat homemade meals that I don’t have to make. Sure, there are things I could complain about (I still can't drive around, for example, there’s a lot of meat, and it can get lonely with no female social interaction.. I know, I know #firstworldproblems!). But overall it's a heck of a good deal. Oh did I mention my own office/studio space I’m slowly setting up?
SO WHY THE NAGGING, HANG-WRINGING FEELING OF CONSTANT WORRY?
As I often do when I can't figure out the root of a problem, I ask the same question, no matter the issue:
What is the early root of this particular issue or pattern?
OR to put it simply:
Was I stressed a lot as a kid?
I have been journaling my Morning Pages for almost 3 weeks now and I highly recommend it. It's been a grounding habit to have developed. Sometimes I meander through my thoughts, but oftentimes I make little discoveries about my business, about my wishes, about my life. And if you need any more convincing, just 10 minutes or whatever you have in the morning will do just fine! Or if you prefer, Evening Pages can work just as well.
So I journaled about it and made some realizations. Or shall I say, confirmations. Reminders. Let me explain.
Was I stressed a lot as a kid? Unfortunately the answer is yes--- stressed, depressed and terrified. There was lots of yelling and banging and things being thrown around, like furniture, and general other unpleasantness. And though, I certainly don't live in anything like that now, thank god, it still remains as what we call in my peer counseling group, a chronic pattern.
What I realized is chronic patterns are sticky-- like the character in Peanuts who constantly had the dirt cloud surrounding him-- Pig-Pen!
Chronic patterns stick to us just like that.
Versus regular patterns which only show up when we are in certain situations. For example, a fear of public speaking or talking to groups of strangers. That pattern only shows up when we actually try to speak in front of a crowd. (Thus why most people avoid it.) Chronic patterns, unlike regular patterns, are with us -- like the cloud of dirt-- all of the time. So I guess it shouldn’t be a surprise that this chronic pattern followed me. To Texas.
I’ve also realized that patterns feed on things. Like a virus or triffids. (Don’t ask.) I guess they figure if they can latch onto a present event going on in our lives then we are more likely to feel it’s real, present, and urgent. And listen to it. (They really want us to listen to them.)
And this worry chronic pattern has decided to attach itself to my business. (Of course.)
Not only that, but it has got in cahoots with its old buddy LOW SELF-ESTEEM as well!
Most of our persistent chronic patterns have been with us all our lives and do not die easily. (Maybe you know what I mean.) At the same time, that doesn’t mean that we can’t shut it off and not listen to it, or decrease its hold on us less and less.
What’s a chronic pattern that YOU’d like to kick to the curb?
Here are 5 strategies for when the chronic pattern pops up and just doesn’t want to leave.
Top 5 Strategies for Dealing with Annoying and Persistent Patterns:
1. Imagine you have a volume dial in your head and you can turn the dial down (remember those?) all the way down to mute. There’s a nice click at the end. Ahh.. you immediately feel better. You also have a radio dial; you can change the channel.
2. If you didn’t have X chronic pattern (worry all the time, for example) what might you be thinking or doing instead? Also, great to journal on.
3. Similar to #1, when you hear the pattern starting to talk in your head, immediately shut it down mid-sentence. Switch your mind to another topic. You may have to do this many, hundreds of times a day. No matter. Just keep shutting it down every time.
4. Get a pattern tracking buddy. You can track your progress together, and most importantly encourage each other.
5. Appreciate yourself, your progress, what have you done well that day? This is always a good ‘contradiction’ for the nagging pattern. Like bug spray to bugs.
Good luck! Here are some journaling prompts below. And just remember, those patterns developed as a survival mechanism at first, so you got them for good reason. Getting rid of them now will be an ongoing process. And being aware is the crucial first step.
YOU SO GOT THIS!
Let me know your thoughts in the comments section below. And if you found this helpful, please share!
What are you presently stressed about? Anything? What is your earliest memory of being stressed? How did you get help with it or did you handle it all on your own?
What is one of your chronic patterns? Where do you think it came from? When did you first notice it?
If you didn’t have X chronic pattern (worry all the time, for example) what might you be thinking or doing instead?
10 Inspiring Journaling Prompts for the Beginner!