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Fear: Why We Can’t “Just Be”

Fear: Why We Can’t “Just Be”

    We are busier than ever. Technology is leading us down the road of being able to be busy wherever we go and at any time. It’s a constant stream of information that comes in, is processed in some way, and then goes out. We tell ourselves that we have to “make something of ourselves” and that we must always be creating to keep our edge. Yet, we have to consume information to “be-in-the-know” to keep that same edge.

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    It’s tough to “just be” anymore. Why can’t we stop for moment and see things for the actual way that they are? Why do we have to keep ourselves busy, obsessed, and “passionate” all of the time?

    Fear of what is real

    For many people the thought of stopping to feel anything that is real in their lives is a distant afterthought to all of the projects and actions that they have forced upon themselves (or been forced upon by others). I know that this is the case for myself. I’d most times much rather check things off a list that I can make endless for myself than stopping, getting out of work mode, and see my surroundings for what they really are. If I stop to take a look at what things truly are, then I may have to make a change in my life and change is hard.

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    The thing that we forget to realize is that this “stopping and being” is just another part of staying productive. If we don’t face the fear of seeing things for the way that they truly are because of the perceived pain of change, then we could be setting ourselves up to take on projects, actions, and even goals that don’t mean a damn to us.

    Fear of the uncertain

    Fear is a strong motivator, but it tends to be in the opposite way that we would like. Fear of uncertainty is another reason we have a difficult time stopping and being. I’m always freaked out that I won’t have enough money to take care of me and my loved ones. This uncertainty of the future motivates me to do things that are possibly not the greatest for me, like take and keep jobs that promise me decent money but don’t give me personal satisfaction in return, or take on side work that I know will help pay for things, but could leave me little time for anything else.

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    We don’t completely know what tomorrow will bring. Or even a minute from now. But that is a constant. We can plan for that uncertainty and face it.

    What to do about it

    The tips below are practical and possibly obvious, but that’s a good thing. The fact is that they work, but only if you work them. Most people won’t work them – they will scan over them and continue on. If you are experiencing the fear mentioned above, don’t scan these and move on. Try them out.

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    1. Plan times to stop and be for a moment every day, multiple times a day. You don’t have to be Buddha, here. Simply stop for a moment outside of your email, phone, notifications, and anything else that keeps you busy. Stop and breath deep through your stomach. You can think whatever you want to think, just try to come back to your deep breaths.
    2. Plan times to write every day. You don’t have to be a poet or autobiographer, here. Simply get out pen and paper or your trusty plain-text editor and write your ass off. You can write about anything that you like. You may find some of these fears mentioned above start to come out. It’s a good think to notice them as it’s the only way to face them.
    3. Plan times to be with your friends and family every day. You don’t have to be the Partridge family or everyone’s BFF, here. Simply hang out with the people you love and remember why you love them. Also, remind yourself why they love you. We tend to think a lot about ourselves and not enough about others that are important.
    4. Plan time to plan for a moment every day. You don’t have to be a professional project manager or Mr. Allen, here. Simply take a look at your workload that is front of you (helps when you have that already defined!) and make decisions on what can stay, what can be gotten rid of, and what you should really be working on next. This step is much, much easier and closer to what you want and need to do when it is followed by the above three steps.

    Conclusion

    Stopping the rat race of your productive life can be tough. Especially since it feels that you never have enough time or energy to get everything done. The thing is that you may not need to get it all done. The only way to find this out is to face your fears of what is real and your uncertainty of the future by stopping and being everyday. Only then can you make the decision of what work you should keep in your life.

    (Photo credit: Crying woman via Shutterstock)

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    CM Smith

    A technologist and writer who shares advice on personal productivity, creativity and how to use technology to get things done.

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    Last Updated on July 8, 2020

    18 Benefits of Journaling That Will Change Your Life

    18 Benefits of Journaling That Will Change Your Life

    The act of writing in a journal often seems daunting or unnecessary to many people. Even authors who work on novels might shun the idea of daily diaries. What purpose does jotting down words on a regular basis do if not contributing to the next novel, play or song? I know from experience many benefits of journaling that I wish to share.

    1. Understand Yourself Better

    Though many people and even writers avoid keeping journals, I vow to do it more often. Not only do I desire to take up daily journaling but also I plan to do it with pen to paper.

    Some of the benefits I’ve found from my more active days include finding myself in the sense of understanding what matters to me and what I want out of life. I’ve been incredibly fortunate to find a spouse who is my best friend and advocate in raising children. I attribute this and much more to what I learned about myself in keeping journals for years.

    2. Keep Track of Small Changes

    I’ll admit that I never got very far with my guitar lessons, but in writing in a journal, I have seen the ability to track small changes like those that come when you practice anything.

    Those learning a musical instrument often fail to see the small improvements that come with regular practice. Writing won’t help you switch chords any faster, but it will help you to develop a better sense for language and grammar just by doing it.

    3. Become Aware of What Matters

    As you continue to write in a journal, following a stream-of-consciousness feel, you can look back on the topics that you chose to write about. Those issues and emotions that poured out of you will provide insight on to what matters most to you.

    You may not even realize that you’re job is depressing you or that you want to spend more time with your kids until you look over your thoughts that you weren’t really thinking about.

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    4. Boost Creativity

    The idea that the brain and its neural activity across hemispheres encourages learning also shows up in increased creativity. Just like with learning an instrument, your increased activity will inspire your thoughts to connect and reconnect in different ways.

    When I wrote in a journal, I often wrote poetry as well as just my thoughts as they came out. I started to hear poems more in my mind; so much so that I took to scrawling lines on napkins and finding metaphors in mundane activities.

    You really are what you do, so writing helps grow more than being a writer. Writing boosts the way you communicate and structure language, which really is a creative process.

    5. Represents Your Emotions in a Safe Environment

    A journal is as private as it gets. You can lock it in a safe or tuck it under a pillow and no one will accidentally share it on social media or have an opportunity to “leave a comment.”

    Write about your sorrow as much as your happiness and frustration and know that you don’t have to keep your emotions inside your body. You can put them on paper.

    6. Process Life Experiences

    When you take the time to look back over what you’ve written, be it a week or a year later, you will have the distance you need to more objectively interpret your raw feelings.

    Everything from losing a job to losing a loved one can emerge in a new light for a fresh perspective. Figuring out how the benefits of journaling affect your perspective on life will create connection and increase creativity.

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    7. Stress Relief

    In combining the exercise inherent in fine motor coordination that comes from the act of writing with the emotional release of self expression, those who maintain a journal relieve stress.

    Try it out. Go home and write about your day. Write about the traffic. Write about the coffee order the barista got wrong but you didn’t have time to change. See how you can physically purge some of that pent-up stress by putting it on paper.

    8. Provide Direction

    Though journaling is often conducted as an activity without much direction, it often provides direction.

    One of the biggest benefits of journaling is that your chaotic thoughts merge to show a direction in which to head. Asking the right questions is the only way to achieve the best solutions, so look to your journal to find your way toward your next goal.

    9. Solve Problems

    Just as in practicing math problems, we all get better at finding hidden solutions through the act of processing.

    Think of your next goal as X and solve your life problems by reading your journals as word problems. The benefit of journaling here is that you write, explore and process to recognize and then solve problems.

    When life is too in-your-face, you have to step back to see reality. Living in the moment allows us to write in the moment and use that expression to solve problems.

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    10. Find Relief From Fighting

    Solving your problems only comes after time to process, recognize and strategize. Just as in the benefit of journaling where relief comes from the act of writing, relief from fighting comes when you decide to “sit this one out” and communicate one-way.

    Fighting is only productive when the fighters care to communicate and find common ground. When the emotions are as high as the stress levels, writing will function as the best time out.

    11. Find Meaning in Life

    Journaling will show you why you are living, whether you are wallowing in things you wish to change or striving to make the changes. Your life will begin to take on new meaning and your own words will reveal the actions that got you where you are so that you can assess and pave a new path for your future.

    12. Allow Yourself to Focus

    Taking even a small amount of time out of every day will provide you with not only peace of mind but also increased focus. Taking a break to meditate in writing and journaling will sharpen your mental faculties.

    13. Sharpen Your Spirituality

    When we write, we allow all the energy and experiences to flow through us, which often provides further insight into our own spirituality. Even if your parents didn’t raise you to follow a specific religion, your thoughts will start to show you what you believe about the universe and your place in it.

    14. Let the Past Go

    I’ve mentioned a few examples where going back over your writing offers advice and direction, but the simply truth is that writing down our feelings can be the best way to let them go. We can choose to literally throw these pages away when they’re filled with negativity and hate.

    15. Allow Freedom

    Journaling is the perfect way to not only express yourself but to also experience the freedom of being who you are. Your books can stay private or you can publish them. Your freedom stems from your sense of self and your perception of your thoughts.

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    16. Enhance Your Career

    Again, the private act of pen-to-paper processing provides the benefits of journaling mentioned above, but you can also enhance your career when you take similar ideas and categorize, edit and publish them in an online blog.

    Your thoughts will often be personal and express emotions, but another benefit of journaling is uncovering fresh ideas about your work.

    17. Literally Explore Your Dreams

    All the benefits I’ve mentioned explore ideas, thoughts and emotions, which is also what our dreams and nightmares do. Through writing down your dreams from the previous night, you can enhance your creativity as well as connect some of the metaphorical dots from the rest of your journal.

    18. Catalog Your Life for Others

    No one wants to think about dying, but we all die. Leaving a journal will act as a way to reconnect with family and friends left behind. The ideas you wish to keep personal while you process the life you’re living will serve to rekindle and inspire those who loved you through the process.

    We consider our partners our life witnesses, but writing provides a tangible mark on the world.

    Now that you’ve learned all the benefits of journaling, it’s time to start writing a journal:

    Featured photo credit: Kelly Sikkema via unsplash.com

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