ANSWERS: 5
  • Put the stuff in a box and store it somewhere out of sight, or even at another location, for a year. That way it will be gone from your life, but deep down you'll know you can get to it. Then, after the year is up, after having lived without the stuff for all that time, throw it out or give it away.
  • Dig out all those thing that you havent touched for ages find a charity close to your heart and donate them any seperation anxiety felt will be tempered by basking in the glow of your altruism
  • These kinds of psychological "quirks" fall in the general category of obsessions: repetitive behavior patterns which take over some aspect of a life as a way to reduce anxiety. There may not be much point in worrying about WHY you do this, other than to recognize that getting rid of stuff which you (rationally) see that you don't need causes anxiety, and so to avoid the anxiety you keep the stuff. There are basically 2 kinds of solutions for these behaviors: (a) counter-conditioning and (b) de-conditioning. Counter -conditioning is when you force yourself to go to the opposite direction: throw something away, and then do something to make yourself feel better -- a "reward", which sort of counteracts the anxiety. Repeated regularly and often, it is possible to "rewire" the behavior pattern. However, the problem with this "rewiring" is that you now have a new automated behavior to replace the old one! In other words, your life is no less mechanical, your mind is no more free, you've just replaced a bad habit with a better one. But for this part of your life, at least -- you're still "a machine". Deconditioning is different. Deconditioning is about recovering your freedom and choice in the matter, and reducing the degree of automaticity and patterned behavior in your life. If you decondition instead of reconditioning, you regain part of yourself which was lost to the obsession, and don't replace it with some other fixed, automated behavior. The basic idea in deconditioning is to (a) get rid of something (b) allow the anxiety to come up (c) fully EXPERIENCE the anxiety, without trying to make it go away, fix it, change it, or react to it. Anxiety is a sort of "mind storm" consisting of thoughts and feelings about some imagined threat to your identity. If you're able to weather these mind-storms instead of running away from them, the pattern can begin to resolve itself -- sort of like a huge spring that starts to unwind and loses energy as it does so. This takes time, courage, and awareness: to sit there while your body is producing fight-or-flight chemicals and your brain is chattering away with all sorts of "Oh, no, what if I need that thing again!" thoughts -- that takes courage. To just notice all that stuff without reacting is awareness. And because the spring is wound pretty tight, it takes time for the whole thing to unwind. In general, our minds are just chock full of tangled knots which exist because we're unwilling to experience the uncomfortable emotions which produce the knots. Someone who can "be with" these feelings without having to cover them over, resist them, run away, or distract themselves is well on the way to freedom.
  • Funny you should ask that, because we happened to catch a Dr.Phil show earlier. There was a married woman, who was basically a pack rat. She had a house of everything, even 7 year old newspapers, 50 maps in her car etc. She could not part with anything because it would give her a panic attack. So it was resolved. He said it was either something she was holding onto for some reason, because it depicts who she is and she has "stuff" to prove it. Secondly he felt it was due to anxiety, and just the thought of throwing anything away brought on a panic attack, so hence the hanging onto security. So they set her up with a counselor to find out the souce, and then they would "help" her get rid of her stuff at her own pace, they would not "Do it against her will."
  • probably cause you want to keep it

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