Think about the last time you were indecisive. Oh wow, yesterday? Really? No wait, Today? When should I post this post? Should I wait until I think it’s good enough? Wait I heard somewhere that it doesn’t matter if it’s good enough, but that doesn’t make sense if I want my readers to like what I’m writing.
Oh haha, sorry, I had a thought train that brought me off topic (juuust kidding).
If you’re like me, this internal dialogue can go off in many directions before it actually finds a solution, much less a good one. Then from there what really sucks is when you judge yourself for having this, ESPECIALLY when you don’t mean to.
If you’re also like me, you probably don’t always have somebody to talk to about your problems. You don’t want to dump that on your friends, and you can’t afford a therapist (they’re pretty pricey when you’re broke), and sometimes, even if you do talk to somebody, they *might* not have the best advice…
So what do you do if you can’t talk out your problems to someone else?
What is externalization? Basically, Externalization is getting your inner thoughts, plans, to-dos, fears, goals, whatever, from your mind to the physical world to see what’s going on in your mind, as well as clear your head. Don’t worry, you won’t feel empty-headed, but what you will likely feel is mental space to be creative, be present, think clearer, basically whatever you want. Here are some helpful ways to use externalization:
1. Write It Down
Grab a pen and paper. And everything you’re feeling and thinking in that current moment, write it down. If you don’t like it, throw it away. If you do, now you can look at it physically instead of holding it in your head. Either you, you’ll now have more head space to use on whatever you’d like.
2. Say it Out Loud
Whatever you’re thinking, just go ahead and say it. Verbalizing what is on your mind is a lot like writing: you can say exactly what you are thinking, or at least hopefully something close. If have something on your mind that you want to keep, however, you might want to record what you’re saying using either a smart phone, camera, or anything else that can record sound.
But Zack, How Do those Tactics Make Me My Own Therapist?
Those don’t… by themselves. Technically, I was born Catholic. I later discovered at age 15 I was happier as an atheist, but then found out I was really an agnostic, but when I was more bought into the concept of the Christian God, whenever I was super stressed, or just looking for clarity, I would just ask the lawd. And somehow, I would “magically” get an answer (crazy right?)
Well let me ask you this: have you ever been to a therapist? If not, just know that basically, therapists help people solve their own problems by listening and asking good questions (questions that identify a deeper than surface level issue). It can be a timely process (hell, in most therapy sessions they’ll limit you to an hour), but eventually (hopefully) you will get to the cause.
Literally Asking Yourself
The way to become your own therapist (besides having a healthy lifestyle, and normal externalizing, but even further), is by giving yourself a Q and A until you reach the solution to the problem. When asked a question, the brain’s automatic response is to come up with an answer.
As a mere experiment, ask yourself this either on paper or verbally (out loud): “What do I want out of life?”
My answer to that would be “I want to become one of the most social and influential people on the planet, have a kickass girlfriend(/harem), have enough money to travel and live comfortably (financial independence), and become one of the most fit people on the planet by learning (in my opinion) the most useful physical disciplines: Parkour, Yoga, Martial Arts (Self-Defense), And Dance, as well as knowing how to grow my own organic food, and making health food ultimately inexpensive for everyone.”
Or something more useful to my situation yesterday: “Why am I stressed?”
I was stressed because I was frustrated. “Why were you frustrated?” Because I couldn’t figure out how to edit something on my website, I skipped my morning routine, I spent like 4 hours developing and also I didn’t take any breaks in between, plus I had an inner conflict of wanting to be around people. “How did that effect your day?” I was super stifled, I couldn’t think straight and when I tried to talk to people my mouth words went into full retard mode. “What will you do now that you know where you messed up?” Do my morning routine no matter what, go to one of the local coffee shops to be around people, and take more breaks to relax whenever I feel myself getting overly frustrated/stressed.
See? Problem (Question) and Solution (Answer). Now I know how to do better the next day and grow from there 🙂
The deeper you go, and the better questions you ask, the better you’ll resolve your own problems. Here’s a bonus list of some questions you may find helpful in the excavating of your own inner conflicts:
- “What’s holding me back?”
- “What can I do right now to work towards my goal?”
- “Is my goal specific enough to achieve/does my goal have a concrete enough end point to know when I achieve it?”
- “What are the action steps for this plan?”
- “What do I need to learn in order to do what I want to do?”
- “Why do I want to achieve this goal?” (You can dig a lot deeper if you keep asking why)
- “What is the absolute worst that can happen?”
- “Is it realistic to know what is going to happen in the future?” (For the most part, no)
The point is that more often than not, you probably already know the solutions to your own problems, and if you discover you don’t know, you at least know your next action is to learn what to do, in one way or another.
Thank you for reading 😉
P.S. If you have any feedback I would LOVE to hear it. Leave a comment below and let me know what you think 😛 Thanks guys <3