Make that big “thing” that’s bothering you physical by writing it down, and then take control of it by locking it away in a box for a while.
Nag Nag Nag Nag Nag
No matter how hard I try, I feel like I’m always being nagged or burdened by something.
Some days it’s money – am I making enough? Will I be able to provide? What is my paycheck going to look like?
Some days it’s creative – are these lyrics going to come through any day now?! Are my blogs engaging enough? Should I do more SEO work? Should I hire someone to do SEO work? What’s SEO?!
Some days it’s a little more about others – am I helping enough people? Is any of this working?
And other days it’s completely benign – when is the next Stranger Things coming out? Why do they keep messing up my favorite shows like Magnum PI? Oh my god, what if they completely screwed up Simon & Simon?! HOW COULD I LIVE?!
Thank God these things don’t all come at me at once! I can’t imagine what that would be like.
At the same time, when I feel I’ve got one burden out of the way, one of the others takes its place. Not only is it worrisome, but it can be downright difficult to be productive when things like this are nagging at me.
The Monkey On Your Back
I’m not telling you anything you’ve never heard or experienced before. These nagging things that often keep you from getting enough sleep aren’t so much worries as they are what people refer to as “the monkey on your back”.
Unfortunately, this monkey is not always as simple to acknowledge and defeat as the stuff I’ve noted above (which are more akin to “unreasonable worries“). Sometimes he’s all over you about something and you simply can’t get away from it. When that happens, it goes beyond a nag (or, again, a worry), and really starts to take over your life.
Maybe it’s an issue you can’t resolve. Maybe it’s a thought you need some time away from. Maybe it’s a bad memory that you aren’t escaping, or a bad dream that keeps haunting you. Maybe it’s an idea you can’t get to turn into something.
In any event, whatever it is, it’s driving you up the wall and making you (and probably the people around you) miserable.
But there’s a way to get that monkey off your back —
— Just leave him alone!
Lock It Away
“Leave him alone?!”
“Yes,” says I.
“But he keeps scratching at my eyes and pulling on my ears and the other night when I was sleeping he wrapped his legs around my neck and tried to choke me!”
“Also, he’s a she!”
Yes, that monkey is crazy! But the problem is that you keep feeding him – her – your thoughts. Your attention to this monkey is like super-bananas to her.
Stop feeding her! Stop giving her the attention!
And here’s how you do that:
Whatever it is that this monkey represents, write it down. Put it in a box. Leave it alone for a while.
The idea isn’t necessarily to forget it, it’s to make it so that this “thing” – this monkey – isn’t so prevalent on your mind.
If you make this thing physical by writing it down, you can see it on a piece of paper. And when you put it in a box, you can see this thing go into the box and get locked away from you! You’ve all the sudden taken this abstract, intangible thing, made it tangible, and then did something with it!
Before you start thinking this is the equivalent of running away from your problems, consider that this isn’t permanent. This isn’t locking it away forever. Often-times, these monkeys that get on our backs aren’t mere, unreasonable worries – they’re real things we actually do have to deal with.
But that doesn’t mean you need to be run over and controlled by it. You just need a little distance and – at the very least – a break.
Write it down, put it in a box, and take a break from it! You’ll be surprised the weight that comes off, and how prepared you are to deal with it later on.
And remember, to definitely quote a saying that completely exists and is absolutely famous: “If a monkey can’t eat super-bananas, it can’t scratch your eyes, pull your ears, and try to choke you in the middle of the night!”
What’s bothering you right now that just won’t let you go? Try writing it down and locking it up somewhere. Have you tried this before? How did it work for you? Share below!
And if you’re the creative sort and you’re just not getting sparked by something, try this method as well – you may find you come back to it with new ideas and fresh perspectives.