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How to Solve 10 Life Problems with Insightful Writing

How to Solve 10 Life Problems with Insightful Writing

Putting pen to paper can be very therapeutic when you’re troubled—sitting at a keyboard doesn’t have the same effect as sitting in a quiet spot and getting your thoughts down on paper. You don’t necessarily have to share those thoughts with anyone, although you could decide to show your insightful writing to a counselor or a therapist to help you make sense of what you have discovered about yourself. Here are some life problems that you can make sense of through the power of words:

1. You’re Angry

Pick up a pen and write down exactly why you are angry. Now make a decision to let it go. Holding onto the anger doesn’t affect the other person, the company, or the situation one bit: only you can decide when you’ve had enough.

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2. You’re Stressed

Start by writing down the words, “I’m feeling stressed” and then go on to describe what that feels like. Your brain needs to get off the cycle of spinning around in circles so you can start focusing on solutions.

3. You’re Depressed

Journaling can help you document your recovery as you recover from depression. You can look back over time and see that you are making progress, even if you don’t notice that you are feeling better day to day.

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4. You’re Anxious

Write down the issue that you are concerned about and its consequences; it can help you put things into perspective, and save the response for when you really need it.

5. You’re Confused

We all get stuck sometimes and have no idea what to do next. Start with what you know and build out from there. You may find that you have more answers (and options) than you originally thought.

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6. You’re Afraid

Write down exactly what you are afraid of. Let your words shine a light on it and stare it down. Is it something you can control or do something about? Then take action. If not, you may need to decide to let it go, either on your own or with professional help.

7. You’re Grieving

If you have experienced a loss, your grief may come in waves. Write down memories of your loved one, what it feels like to be without him or her, your anger, sadness, or whatever you are feeling on a particular day. The paper is a safe place for you to unload all of those feelings.

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8. You Feel “Blue”

On days when you feel out of sorts and can’t seem to get out of a funk, pull out a pad of paper and start writing about it. Some people find it helpful to remind themselves that even the worst day will pass and that things will get better. Another approach is to give yourself a limited time (15-20 minutes) to feel icky and write about it. Then get on with your day in a more positive frame of mind.

9. You’re in Physical Pain

People who live with chronic pain have a lot on their plate, even at the best of times. Writing about how you feel about the pain can be a good coping strategy, especially if you share what you have written with your health care team. Your doctor wants to know if you are feeling angry, depressed, frustrated, hopeless, etc. Putting pen to paper can also be a distraction from the physical sensations when you are having a challenging time.

10. You’re Struggling with Low Self-esteem

If your self-esteem has taken a beating and you’re feeling less than great about yourself, it’s time to do some work to build yourself back up. What would you say to a good friend in your shoes? Think of something positive about yourself and write it down. Then add something else. It doesn’t matter what these statements are; no one is going to see them. They can be sweet or silly. The important thing is that they mean something to you. Save that piece of paper and refer to it whenever you need a boost.

Writing can be a wonderful way to relieve stress, help you see things clearly, and give yourself a much-needed boost when you need it. Why don’t you make a point of spending some quality time with a pen and some paper today?

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Last Updated on July 10, 2020

How to Take Control of Your Life with Better Boundaries

How to Take Control of Your Life with Better Boundaries

We all have them—those hurtful, frustrating, offensive, manipulative people in our lives. No matter how hard we try to surround ourselves with positive and kind people, there will always be those who will disrespect, insult, berate, and misuse you if we allow them to.

We may, for a variety of reasons, not be able to avoid them, but we can determine how we interact with them and how we allow them to interact with us.

So, how to take control of your life and stop being pushed around?

Learning to set clear firm boundaries with the people in our lives at work and in our personal lives is the best way to protect ourselves from the negative effects of this kind of behavior.

What Boundaries Are (And What They’re Not)

Boundaries are limits

—they are not threats or ultimatums. Boundaries inform or teach. They are not a form of punishment.

Boundaries are firm lines—determined by you—which cannot be crossed by those around you. They are guidelines for how you will allow others to treat you and what kind of behaviors you will expect.

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Healthy personal boundaries help protect you from physical or emotional pain. You may also need to set firm boundaries at work to ensure you and your time are not disrespected. Don’t allow others to take advantage of your kindness and generosity.

Clear boundaries communicate to others that you demand respect and consideration—that you are willing to stand up for yourself and that you will not be a doormat for anyone. They are a “no trespassing” sign that makes it very clear when a line has been crossed and that there will be consequences for doing so.

Boundaries are not set with the intention of changing other people. They may change how people interact with you, but they are more about enforcing your needs than attempting to change the general behavior and attitude of others.

How to Establish Boundaries and Take Control of Your Life

Here are some ways that you can establish boundaries and take control of your life.

1. Self-Awareness Comes First

Before you can establish boundaries with others, you first need to understand what your needs are.

You are entitled to respect. You have the right to protect yourself from inappropriate or offensive behavior. Setting boundaries is a way of honoring your needs.

To set appropriate boundaries, you need to be clear about what healthy behaviors look like—what healthy relationships look like.

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You first have to become more aware of your feelings and honest with yourself about your expectations and what you feel is appropriate behavior:

  • Where do you need to establish better boundaries?
  • When do you feel disrespected?
  • When do you feel violated, frustrated, or angered by the behavior of others?
  • In what situations do you feel you are being mistreated or taken advantage of?
  • When do you want to be alone?
  • How much space do you need?

You need to honor your own needs and boundaries before you can expect others to honor them. This allows you to take control of your life.

2. Clear Communication Is Essential

Inform others clearly and directly what your expectations are. It is essential to have clear communication if you want others to respect your boundaries. Explain in an honest and respectful tone what you find offensive or unacceptable.

Many people simply aren’t aware that they are behaving inappropriately. They may never have been taught proper manners or consideration for others.

3. Be Specific but Don’t Blame

Taking a blaming or punishing attitude automatically puts people on the defensive. People will not listen when they feel attacked. It’s part of human nature.

That said, you do not need to overexplain or defend yourself. Boundaries are not open to compromise.

Sample language:

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  • “You may not…yell or raise your voice to me…”
  • “I need…to be treated with respect…”
  • “It’s not okay when…you take things from my desk without asking…”
  • “I won’t…do your work…cover for you anymore…”
  • “It’s not acceptable when…you ridicule or insult me…”
  • “I am uncomfortable when…you use offensive language”
  • “I will no longer be able to…lend you money…”

Being able to communicate these without sounding accusatory is essential if you want others to respect your boundaries so you can take control of your life.

4. Consequences Are Often Necessary

Determine what the appropriate consequences will be when boundaries are crossed. If it’s appropriate, be clear about those consequences upfront when communicating those boundaries to others.

Follow through. People won’t respect your boundaries if you don’t enforce them.

Standing our ground and forcing consequences doesn’t come easily to us. We want to be nice. We want people to like us, but we shouldn’t have to trade our self-respect to gain friends or to achieve success.

We may be tempted to let minor disrespect slide to avoid conflict, but as the familiar saying goes, “if you give people an inch, they’ll take a mile.”

It’s much easier to address offensive or inappropriate behavior now than to wait until that behavior has gotten completely out of hand.

It’s also important to remember that positive reinforcement is even more powerful than negative consequences. When people do alter the way they treat you, acknowledge it. Let people know that you notice and appreciate their efforts.

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Final Thoughts

Respect is always a valid reason for setting a boundary. Don’t defend yourself or your needs. Boundaries are often necessary to protect your time, your space, and your feelings. And these are essential if you want to take control of your life.

Start with the easiest boundaries first. Setting boundaries is a skill that needs to be practiced. Enlist support from others if necessary. Inform people immediately when they have crossed the line.

Don’t wait. Communicate politely and directly. Be clear about the consequences and follow them through.

The better you become at setting your own boundaries, the better you become at recognizing and respecting the boundaries of others.

Remember that establishing boundaries is your right. You are entitled to respect. You can’t control how other people behave, but you do have control over the way you allow people to treat you.

Learning to set boundaries is not always easy, but with time, it will become more comfortable. You may eventually find that boundaries become automatic and you no longer need to consciously set them.

They will simply become a natural extension of your self-respect.

Featured photo credit: Thomas Kelley via unsplash.com

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