I’ve always been a thinker. I can remember as a kid I’d stare into the clouds and wonder what was behind the blue sky. I’d follow a caterpillar on the ground just to see where it was going and what it would do next. I’d watch movies and think about the scenes for days.
When I got older and my responsibilities increased, my thoughts got more stressful. Mental reminders, reflection on tense conversations, worry about deadlines, or anxiety about what could go wrong.
The year my life suddenly flipped upside down, my thoughts nearly forced me to come undone. If I wasn’t focused on being busy, my brain would feel attacked by a swarm of bees. I was so tired I felt like sleeping for days, except I couldn’t sleep more than 4 hours per night…and that was a good night.
I woke up each morning, masterfully applied makeup to conceal any sign of fatigue, and I got myself out the door to lead my 13 hour workday. Despite what was happening in my life, I continued to excel at work leading one more project and one more promotion after the next.
My career was on fire, and I was the one burning.
When I share these stories and how I regained my life, people always ask “where did you begin, Alyson?”
My answer: I began to write.
I was so used to writing things down so I wouldn’t forget…a reminder, an appointment, or an important fact. I wrote things down to stay on track. It still didn’t stop me from worrying about everything on my plate.
In the middle of one night, after suffering several sleepless nights, I wrote down all the invasive thoughts that were keeping me awake. Bingo! That relaxed my mind enough to go back to sleep. From that point forward, I kept a notebook near my bed and wrote whenever my thoughts woke me up. Before I knew it, I created a sleep ritual that guaranteed uninterrupted sleep nearly every night of the week.
I became so used to writing to clear my mind, that I noticed my thoughts started to change. Anxious mind chatter slowly disappeared as my brain came alive with ideas, observations, and wisdom. What I learned about myself was fascinating:
Patterns of thought and emotion. Because I wrote so much about my thoughts and feelings, I could make the correlation between what I was feeling and events of the week (i.e. stressful meetings, difficult conversations, or working 10-13 hours straight with little or no break). I saw these triggers and the pitfalls of my behavior in plain ink. For the first time, I had insight about myself and how to course-correct. BOOM!
Ideas and solutions. Those ‘aha’ moments led me to constantly connect dots between problems and solutions. My notebook pages were flooded with ideas (everything from solving a renovation issue in my home to solving a major launch delay at work, to solving a conflict with my child). Anxiety melted away once I reminded myself that every problem has an answer. Just needed to give my mind some space to let the ideas come to me.
Dreams and desires. The confidence I gained sparked the curiosity I once felt as a kid. Soon I wrote lists of things I wanted to do, explore, and learn. I wrote things like “travel by myself,” “take a class on spirituality,” “learn to Latin dance,” “become a mentor,” “buy land.” By declaring my dreams on paper, I conditioned my mind to see those opportunities when they presented themselves to me. In the past 6 years I have met the most unique people, seen the most breathtaking landscapes, and experienced more than I ever have in my life.
Observations and meaning. The coolest thing about writing things down is that I could look back and reflect. Just recently I found a notebook from 6 years ago. What I found in that notebook was a snapshot of me – a driven, accomplished, and professional woman downtrodden with worry, uncertainty, and fatigue. What I found through writing is the snapshot today – an accomplished, professional, spiritual woman – driven by purpose, strength and well-being.
Where did I begin? I began to write.
If you are ready to feel better, CLICK HERE and let’s schedule a chat. I’ll share other techniques that can help you feel better in less than 24 hours and change the trajectory of your life.
Until then, grab a piece of paper and write.
Stay well. Be beautiful…xo.