Week 2 is all about looking at yourself and figuring out why I am struggling with this issue. It can be quite intense as it is all about looking at yourself and the factors that have led up to why me?
So, we are starting to create our own “clutter model” and we begin by talking about:
1. Vulnerability Factors such as mental illness, trauma and loss, family values and role models, physical limitations and other factors. Putting your attention to these issues can be difficult as it really brings it to the forefront.
We then look at
2. How we Process Information.
Problems with Attention – I am sure most of us can relate to this . There is so much vying for our attention every day that can really make it hard to stay focused on the task at hand. We will share some tips on how to do this more effectively coming up.
Problems with Categorization – because everything can feel so special it can be hard to figure out how to organize items. Overwhelm and Emotions can really get in the way which makes it easier to not make any decisions.
Elaborate Processing – lots of very creative people with many ideas on how to use an item. We always say that if we passed around a bottle cap we could probably get 10 different ideas on what to do with it.
Problems with Memory – again something that most of us can relate to specially those of us who are getting older. The thought process is that because I am worried I will forget about this bill I will leave it here on this pile in plain view. The problem is that when it becomes too many things it is just overwhelming, piles can fall over and we can’t remember anyway. We often have participants say that they have empty drawers or filing cabinets because of this.
We then start to examine some of our
3. Thoughts and Beliefs. These beliefs can really keep us stuck and can add to the clutter or cause us to be stuck and not able to move forward. Later on we will question some of these and see if they still fit. But for now…. These are a few of them
Beliefs About Usefulness, Waste and Responsibility – not being able to dispose of something in an environmental way causes me to keep the items even though they are in my way, etc. Our thinking process about the objects can be that this is still good, I can fix it, recycle, give it away to someone, etc.
Perfectionism – Wanting to do things perfectly can really keep you stuck. Are you going to make a mistake and throw something away that you regret? Possibly! Is it the end of the world? Can you get the item again if needed? Maybe? Waiting to do things perfectly is unrealistic and will keep you stuck.
Sentimental Attachments – having a strong belief about possessions and their importance. Items feel like they served as a tangible record of a happier time or of a loved one and throwing this away can cause a lot of anxiety and uncomfortable feelings.
These three areas help individuals to start to build their own clutter model which is the homework for the week. Next week we will look at the emotional responses to these thoughts and beliefs and examine them further. People will start to see how these emotions positive and negative both contribute to the clutter issues.
So, how did I do with my challenge from last week? My challenge was to get up off the couch nightly and do something I have been thinking about (and not doing) every evening. It doesn’t have to be a big thing but significant enough to make me feel good about myself and maybe create a new habit. This has been really great and I plan to carry it on again this week. Also, to add to my challenge this week my plan is to clean off my dresser which tends to gather lots of possessions, dust, etc. Seems to be a seasonal project.
How are you all doing? What challenges do you have with your thoughts and beliefs. Thank you for following along with our progress.