Week 3 is fun!! Participants are starting to get into the swing of things and are starting to develop some awareness around their acquiring behaviours and their thought processes. They are also starting to develop some trust with each other. Mostly everyone was able to report that they worked on their challenge but there is usually someone who says they weren’t able to get to it. Upon further questioning, we usually find that they are working on other things that may have become a priority or they had some other life situations come up. Often they are doing the work and are underestimating their progress.
We talked about the emotional responses that come up when dealing with clutter ie: sorting, organizing, moving things around, (churning), letting go of some things or not acquiring something. Positive feelings come from saving or acquiring something and offer short term benefits like excitement, joy or other happy emotions which make one want to continue to collect and keep things. For example, think about the joy of finding a treasured item that has been buried for a long time.
Negative feelings such as fear and anxiety about losing items, about vulnerability and about safety can also come up. Grief may stem from beliefs about identity defined by possessions, and anger could result from perceived threats to free choice and personal control. Acquiring, saving, and churning allows one to avoid the negative emotions that may come up. We discuss how positive feelings and negative feelings both contribute to keeping the clutter an issue.
We also did a fun exercise this week around the Reasons Not to Change and the Reasons to Change. We always start with the hard one first in order to end the group on a positive note. This is what they came up with:
Reasons Not To Change
– It is easier
– I can’t cope with the emotions
– What’s the point, it’s too much, too overwhelming
– “they are always right” “I will be giving in to them”
– I don’t know what to do or where to start
– I don’t want to be wasteful or irresponsible
– I don’t have the time
Reasons To Change
– I will have a better view
– I will have a vision for my space
– I can walk into a room with next to nothing in it
– I will enjoy buying a van (there is definitely a story here)
– I will be happier
– I can change some of those labels ie: lazy, hoarder
– I won’t be embarrassed anymore
– I can have people over
– I can see the things I like or love
We always like to point out that they always come up with a longer list for Reasons To Change which is a great motivational factor.
Homework for this week is a CBT (Cognitive Behavioral Therapy) form called a “Thought Record” Here is an example:
These are the headings: Trigger Behaviour, Thoughts or Belief, Emotions and Actions/Behaviours (with columns of course)
An example of a trigger would be that you are going through a pile of papers on the desk, come across a phone bill which did not get paid, thoughts and beliefs could be “I am so stupid, I can’t do anything right, my phone might get cut off, I feel disappointed with myself, mad, depressed, etc. and the action might be to move the bill to a new location where it now sits or deal with it immediately and get the bill paid.
We are looking forward to some great examples from the participants if they do their homework. Even if they don’t get it down on paper, they often come up with examples from the week and the more they can do this, the more they can question some of those thoughts and beliefs and really look at what the behaviours are.
And again a check out, saying how you are feeling about todays’ group and what is your challenge for the week? Check out my previous blog to see how I did on my last challenge.
Would you like to follow along with us? What would be a good challenge for you over the week? Maybe it could be something you have been procrastinating about, or something small, something you have been meaning to do but can’t seem to get to it or it has been on your to do list for so long that the task has become invisible?
Anything really……Please post in the comments below.
I think it’s wonderful that you can help readers by sharing what happens in your group, without encroaching on anyone’s privacy. This is great information!
Thanks so much Janet!! I have been enjoying the process of blogging about the weekly group. Confidentiality is of course one of the most important things in a group like this.
I love your point that you can always generate a longer list of positives than excuses. It’s important to give those perspectives a voice, because the reasons “not to” scream so loudly… we tend to listen to them even if they are not in our best interest!
Isn’t that the truth 🙂 Thanks for commenting Seana
I love your approach. Before changing a behavior, you have to understand it. I have no doubt that when you set your mind to something, you accomplish it. And your enthusiasm must be contagious!
Thank you, that is so sweet 🙂
What I need to get a handle on: When I am going through a clutter group of “stuff” and I cannot make my brain give it up. Other times I will go through the same thing and no problem, it gets given away or tossed. Two outstanding modes in my head are “Can I replace this when I want to take this project up later?”
It is really common to feel an attachment to our items which can make it really challenging to let go of things. That is a really good question that you can ask yourself. This always comes up in the Clearing Clutter Support Group and the questions is “If I need this someday, would I be able to get it?” Usually, the answer is yes. Thank you for your comment.