Saturday, December 3, 2011

Clearing Emotional Clutter

These days, I find myself immersed and sometimes drowning in the busy-ness of the days. When I stop and reflect, though, I find that the unsettled, tense feelings are due more to Emotional Clutter than actual mundane, physical tasks.
Listing our priorities is one thing, but clearing out Emotional Clutter is another.

After all, I can look at my numbered list of "things to do" and carry through with least eventually.

But the emotional mess in my brain and heart is often more difficult to clear out. So, I find myself talking to myself more often.

How can we, as busy authors, mothers, grandmothers, wives, friends, and general community volunteers quiet the unrest in our souls, in our hearts, and in our minds?

And just what are these "emotional issues?"

Direction: Maybe I'm going in the wrong direction. Writing, editing, and promoting goggles up time. I do wonder sometimes if this is all worth the effort and the emotional turmoil it often causes. But if I were not writing, what would I do instead? Is there something more worthwhile? Or do I even need to find "something more worthwhile?"

Isolation: Generally I am a social person. But over the years, my social groups have disintegrated or they have merged into something else. As a result, I tend to stay home more, isolating myself from those I love and care about. Writing has filled the gap, yes, but it is an isolating type of venture, isn't it?  

Tension: I'm not an overly emotional person, tending to bottle up tense, unhappy, unsettling feelings. Some people cry, others throw something, and someone else might just scream. I don't do anything like that...but maybe I should.

Worry: What, me worry? I'm the world's champion worrier. I worry about my grandsons, I worry about the world economy, I worry about students and the loans they can't pay, I worry about all those hungry children out there, I worry about homeless people, I worry about everyone's health. No wonder I'm an emotional wreck at times.

What do you do to calm yourself in the midst of overwhelming duties and tasks, either self-made or something that barges in from outside your realm?

I can't claim to have any magic potions or spells, but there are some things you might do.

~*~*~My best calming method is to lie down, flat on my back, on my bed, cover up with a light quilt, and close my eyes. In those moments, I concentrate on breathing, and I may think of something lovely and pleasant...waves crashing on the shore, a slow walk through a dense, dark, quiet forest, or a very hot, aromatic bath. Soft, soothing music might help some, but me? I love complete quiet.

~*~*~I do like to write, so I might say, "Celia, you are having problems here. What is wrong? Write down your feelings, things that might be causing your agitation." I like this exercise because I often find myself writing something I hadn't even been aware of. When I do become aware of this thing, then I'm able to say, "Well, I can fix that," or, "Well, I can just forget that."

~*~*~Don't agonize over things you cannot control. Recently, I learned I can say, "I refuse to agonize over this." And you know? It worked fairly well. I'm in a small group that has the responsibility of seeking out persons for leadership. This is very difficult, but from the beginning I said to myself--"I'm not going to worry this to death. I cannot make something happen, so I'll carry out my duties and things will either fall into place...or they won't." Now, that removes quite a lot of stress.

Celia Yeary-Romance...and a little bit 'o Texas


  1. "Writing, editing, and promoting goggles up time."
    I truly hope this was not a misprint. The image it creates is poetic and -in my case, anyway - accurate.
    My wife often complains that I put blinders on when I get behind the keyboard.

  2. Hey, Celia : )

    I have learned not to sweat the small things. Take care of what is most important, and the rest will take care of itself. When numerous issues are pressing, make a list or two, and accomplish what you can without overstressing. Give yourself a break, even if it's a small one. Sit down, sit back, close your eyes and allow yourself the time to savor a good cup of coffee--or your beverage of choice. It's a simple thing, but it feels indulgent. There's something about a fresh hot cup of coffee that is bracing and comforting at the same time. Just one of the small life-savors that helps the sun break through the clouds ; )

  3. Hey, Bob...I don't think I'll even correct that. If you think it's poetic, I'll leave it. And yes, it's an error--I'm on Google a lot, and it certainly Goggles up my time.
    Sometimes our minds make us do something we didn't intend. Thanks so much for the lovely words.

  4. Ahh, thank you, Virginia. I do have some ways to sit back and relax, and I find myself looking forward to those small escapes.
    Oh, I'm a list-maker of the first order! But it's to-do things, not how to stop worrying and fretting.
    Thanks for the sweet words of old as I am, you'd think I'd be wiser, but much of the time I feel like a novice.

  5. Celia,
    We all get overdone at times (stick a fork in me - I'm done). I believe when the load gets heavy, that getting momentum going helps. Sometimes just acknowledging an aspect that's of concern is enough, othertimes more attention is needed.

    Another thing that helps me is a reverse mindset. Instead of thinking of all the things I can't do, I think of all the things I can do. Just that shift in attitude makes a big difference in my well-being.



  6. Celia,
    In a way, I'm glad I'm not alone in this. Writing, as much as I love it, is an isolated act that requires devotion and concentration. Since there aren't enough hours in a day to handle all our different roles neatly, they overlap and create that emotional clutter. Thanks for the tips. I have a CD of nature sounds (waves, birds, leaves,) I might settle in a quiet corner, close my eyes, and imagine myself on that beach or walking in that forest.

  7. Celia, recently when I have problems or physical ailments, I close my eyes and start counting my blessings, and then say to myself: "relax, things are not THAT bad, think of this person and that one, and be happy, or else you may lose more with bad mood."

  8. Celia, when my mind is cluttered with too many things I need to do, I find it really helps to put them all down on paper and then check them off at the end of the day. Leftovers go on another list with add-ons. Of course, this only takes care of the things I can do, or change and not the things I have no control over. I try to stay focused on what I can do something about. But I admit I am a professional worry-wart.

  9. I love complete quiet, too. My other motto is, when in doubt, make soup! By the time the aroma of the soup is wafting through the house, I've found some kind of answer to whatever is bothering me.

  10. MAGGIE--I'm going to try your reverse mind-set method. See if that works.
    I feel better now than when I wrote this whiny post. I promise, the next one will be happy!

  11. Hi, Su--oh, you're definitely not alone. Most of us just don't voice such misgivings, but me? I just whine like crazy. Now I feel better.
    The term "overlap" is a good visual. If we saw one thing at a time to accomplish, we might do a better job. But another intrudes before we a result, that "overlapping." Good choice of words.

  12. MONA--That's a good technique. I do that, but I recite The Lord is My Shepherd..but I always get the last lines mixed up, so I start over. Sometimes I go through it ten times...and get it...or have to get up, open my Bible and read it!

  13. Linda--yes, of course you're a professional worry-warts. Sisters usully act alike!
    Thank you for the tip..I, too, am a listmaker. I try to keep one list, as you do--that works better than tiny bits on Post-Its all over my desk.

  14. Liana--don't you have a blog by that title? You should--"When in doubt, make soup!" I love it...and guess what I'm making this afternoon? Soup.
    This is made with Amish Country Noodles, the "thin" variety, chicken bouillon, small cubes of carrots, celery, and onion. This soup will heal your soul.

  15. Celia, another great, insightful post. Thank you!! My mother used to sing a song about "Stop the world, I want to get off..." -- even for a moment. Thanks for your fantastic ideas. (I love silence too!) Blessings on you and your work.

  16. What a heartfelt blog. I loved it and I loved the responses to it as well. Looks like we're not alone in the tied-up, crazy-making baggage.
    I used to read my gratitude cards every morning after I lit my calming candle and incense and it always brought me such peace to start my day. About 2 weeks ago I twirled back into the "worry" mode so I wrote a thank you note to God on 4 index cards and started to read them every morning before I started my day. This small practice has really helped me get centered and calm.
    I loved this blog subject, Celia and all the contributions from the commentors, too.

  17. Every once in a while I run across a blog or other social media entry that says all the right things at the right time. This was exactly what I needed. I think wondering if I'm doing the right thing is the biggest question on my mind these days. With the busyness of days balancing all the aspects of this life are not easy. Thank you for showing me I really am not as alone as I sometimes feel in my insecurities.

  18. Celia, great tips to get through the holidays. Thanks so much for sharing.

    It's hard for explain how I keep it all straight. For me, going to work, is my "me" time, and that's when I unwind. That's when I read. That's when I write and really enjoy my writing. That's when I play Angry Birds. That's when I just get in touch with me so that when I go home I'm there and focused for my boys, my marketing, my promo, etc.

    I also think it's important to not sweat the small stuff. If sweated the small stuff I'd be spaz right about now. *wink*


  19. In Steph's words, I could spaz out. Especially when I find myself overwhelmed. I'm a praying person but I pick things up more than I should. So I try to lay back and breathe too.

    As I lay there, I pray for wisdom on what I should deal with first and what steps to take, then what Isn't mine to deal with. Of course I also need to learn the word No too. Usually after I relax I can see things clearer.

    Sometimes I have to set things aside till the fog clears and sometimes I seek prayer and counsel from others.

    I've written my feelings down and done something creative or exercised to give me a lift.

    The magnitude of the things before dictates the steps.

  20. Gina--silence is always best.It soothes my soul, calms my nerves, etc. I have to be warm, though. Three layers of blankets--ahhh, such bliss. I feel better already.

  21. Thank you, thank you, Sarah. I do believe our inner thoughts and musings can make or break us. I'm usually a calm person, in mind, body, and spirit. But sometimes, things get overwhelming, and I can't seem to get back on track.
    Yes, the commentors have some wonderful hints and advice.

  22., we're not alone. Usually, as wives, mothers, grandmothers, friends, we think of others more than ourselves.
    But I've found if I'm a mess inside, I'm no good to anyone else. I cannot perform my duties at all.
    It's a common malady. Bless you...we'll all make it through!

  23. Steph--your job is so different, and such a blessing that you have all that free time. Me? I taught high school, and I could never think of myself at all...not once...during the day, and I often took it home at night.
    You're such a good mother...and organized author and promoter! Keep it up!

  24. TINA--what a wise young woman you are. More and more I find that absolute quite, lying down, closing my eyes, and praying and thinking will put me into another place. I always feel much better when I take myself out of the whirlwind in which I find myself.
    Thank you....

  25. I'm a bit like Liana. But instead of making soup, when I feel emotional clutter setting in I do the housework. For some reason, I find a tidy house provides me with a tidy mind.

    I'm also of the philosophy that I there's no point worrying over the things I can't control. And I'm a big believe that nothing is worth having a heart attack over...

    Great post, Celia. With some great responses x

  26. My favorite way to push all the clutter out is to exercise, including yoga. There's something about taking control of myself physically, doing something good for me, that both relaxes and recharges. Of course I play some of my favorite music at the same time. I also tend to read at night, nearly every night. They say 12-15 minutes of reading a day cuts stress by an incredible amount. Helps me.

  27. SUZIE--Yes, I've enjoyed the comments more than anything I've ever written about--except the time I ranted about how people drive and park. That was sort of a temper tantrum. But like you, I like tidiness in my environment--fortunately, my husband is the same way--probably more so. But if I have numerous chores and mundane task around the house, I can't write or edit or promote unless all those things are done.
    We're all such complicated creatures.Thank you for the wonderful comment.

  28. Loraine--I'm not that much of a physical person---little on the lazy side---but walking away from the house--or driving--and doing something else helps me tremendously. I love to go to the library during these times, and then I go home recharged. If I found a treasure there, I feel even better.
    Thanks for your comment..