Some issues are hard to get out of your head.
You can distract yourself, but that only works as long as you have something to focus on. Eventually, you’ll complete whatever you used to distract yourself. When you get to that point, the issues start babbling away like a river in your mind, and then you’ll probably have to find something else to distract yourself with. Distraction’s not a very good way – it’s the very opposite of mindfulness, of being fully present. It’s the modern curse, the contagion of the rut.
You can make a decision to deal with your issues later, at a specific point and on a schedule, and that clears them out for a while. Postponing is a lot better than distracting, but it has the dangerous flare-up potential of an uncured disease – if something reminds you of your issues, it’s right back into the flux. The cauldron of the mind starts bubbling again.
One of the best solutions is meditation, but sometimes it’s not quick. When we meditate or practice full mindfulness, we get to a place of inner stillness. That place of stillness comes about from the minimization of your ego – you forget the fictional story you tell yourself about your life, and embrace the grace and blessing of existence. That tiny remaining ball of ego will expand back to almost its original size, though, the longer you go without meditating… and the irritation and babbling stream of thoughts under your issues will grow back with it. The work of meditation is sometimes a very long-winded way of getting an irritating issue out of your head; meditation is the spiritual work of a lifetime.
There’s a quicker cleansing mechanism, especially if you use it before you meditate.
Just Write It Out
Sit down, pen to paper or keyboard to screen, and write the irritating issue all the way out. Start with all of the things that bother you about it, then move on to all the ways it can be resolved. Don’t forget all of your objections to your possible resolutions. Spew every part of that nagging problem out into the written word.
That irritating issue starts transforming as you write it out. As you write each noisy little mind pain down, it stops hurting. Issues have to be structured for you to express them. They have to have a clear form – they have to be outside of the center of your awareness for you to see them well enough to describe them. Issues become objective when you write them out or talk about them, because you have to objectify them to articulate them.
The possible resolutions stop erupting like volcanoes in your mind as you write them out. Some of them become clearly less probable or complete than the others. It’s the same process of objectification; you’ve made yourself grab a hold of the wandering thoughts and arrange them in a mental pattern so you could articulate them. They become fixed structures instead of running streams, and those are much easier to let go.
Another way of looking at it is processing power. Your mind has only so much. When you distribute your focus to multiple things, you have less processing power to give to each of those things. When you sit down and give your full focus to a problem, you’re dedicating all your mental resources to get that mental subroutine completed.
Another way of looking at it is leadership. Your mind is just trying to complete the task you’ve given it. You said to it – this problem affects my life, so solve it and make it go away. Sometimes your mind can’t do that with the limited resources you give it when you try to suppress or ignore a problem. So be kind to your mind, and give it the resources it needs to do what you told it to.
Structuring, processing, leading. Whatever you want to call the process – if you want to let a troublesome issue go, write it out.