I am sure last week’s exercise has helped you change your vocabulary effectively and has sharpened your conversations and bought assertiveness to you. This week its time to de clutter your mind.
Do you feel like your brain is in serious overdrive? A stream of clutter slowly turning your mental space into a chaotic mess? If the answer is yes, it means that your mind is frantically waving a red flag, begging you to free up some headspace.
Just like our cabinets and cupboards, our minds too need tidying up from time to time. Getting rid of all that non-essential mental baggage is crucial to stay focused, motivated and productive.
“yoga chitta vritti nirodha”
I have said this earlier (form patanjali yoga sutras 1.2). Yoga is the cessation of thoughts of attachments of possessions from the mind or your chitta.
Have you ever noticed why you feel light after meditation or after a walk and a good night’s sleep? The answer is simple. when the mind is at rest, the thoughts reduce/ cease giving the soul peace and calm. When we know this, why do we carry emotional baggage? old grudges? live in fear and doubt? Its time to audit and let go of old memories and toxic sanskars.
Things are easy to let go off and declutter and I have shared some tips below, but here i want to talk about mental and emotional clutter. Forgiveness enables decluttering of the mind. whenever you feel a mental burden ask yourself;
- What is cause of the emotion? Is it justified?
- Is it still exists? Is the effect still present? and do you need it now?
- Have you learned your lesson from it?
- If yes, time to let go else introspect and take your lesson before you let it go.
Here are 10 simple yet effective tips to help you de-clutter your mind in no time:
1. Set Priorities: Famous American poet Bill Copeland had rightly said, “the trouble with not having a goal is that you can spend your life running up and down the field and never score.” Prioritizing is a great way to proactively take charge of your life. The first step is to figure out what are the things that matter the most to you, your life aspirations and your long-term goals? Prepare a list of your top priorities and make sure that your actions and the decisions you take reflect the priorities you set. The next step is to create an action plan to meet those set goals and to work on how you want to divide your time to focus on each item on that list. It’s important to note that your list of priorities might change as you grow older and that is totally okay as long as you check in with yourself regularly and ensure that those priorities are still serving you.
2. Keep A Journal: Journaling is a great way to relax your mind by analyzing and organizing your thoughts. According to a research published in the Journal of Experimental Psychology: General, expressive writing eliminates intrusive thoughts about negative events and improves working memory. Researchers believe that these improvements may, in turn, free up our cognitive resources for other mental activities, including the ability to manage stress more effectively. Writing in a daily journal can also help manage anxiety and cope with depression, as it’s a healthy outlet to release bottled emotions, states a University of Rochester Medical Center report. You don’t have to be a prolific writer to start a journal. For beginners, bullet journaling is one of the easiest techniques to try out.
3. Learn To Let Go: “Accept yourself, love yourself, and keep moving forward. If you want to fly, you have to give up what weighs you down,” writes author Roy T. Bennett in his book The Light in the Heart. It is important to let go of all the negative thoughts and emotions that make you feel bogged down. Eliminating unnecessary thoughts, fears and concerns help reduce stress, boost self-esteem and free up mental space. Monitor your thoughts regularly and try to replace your negative thoughts with positive ones.
4. Avoid Multitasking: I know, I know. It sounds counter-productive. But trust me, preparing that office presentation while updating your Instagram and looking for a secret Santa gift online for your roommate is not that helpful. While there’s no harm in occasional multitasking, constant juggling between tasks limits your attention span, increases stress and creates additional clutter by making it difficult for your brain to filter out irrelevant information. In fact, a study conducted by Stanford University showed that heavy multitasking lowers efficiency and may impair your cognitive control. The solution is to single-task as much as possible. Make a list of things you need to accomplish that day. Keep the to-do list simple and realistic. Start with what’s most important and make your way down the list, completing one task at a time.
5. Breathe: Take a deep breath. Pause. Exhale slowly. Repeat. How does it feel? Great, right? Deep breathing is a simple yet effective technique to clear your mind, induce tranquility and elevate your mood instantly. It lowers the heart rate and blood pressure and stimulates the parasympathetic nervous system which helps your body relax. Other than being a stress-reliever, breathing exercises also promote concentration and strengthen your immunity system.
6. Declutter Your Workspace: Did you know that people with a messy workspace are less efficient and more frustrated than those who have an organized work desk? Well, now you do! So don’t put off until tomorrow; declutter your workspace ASAP. You can start by getting rid of all the non-essential items and assigning a proper place to everything. The best way to keep things organized without feeling overwhelmed or exhausted is to clean up your work desk every day before you go home.
7. Be Decisive: Professional organizer Scott Roewer has rightly put it, “clutter is simply delayed decisions” . When you constantly put off making decisions, your brain becomes overwhelmed by all the clutter that’s created by those pending decisions. So stop procrastinating and make that call. Whether it’s about the house you want to buy or that email you’ve been avoiding for so long. For simple decisions, carefully evaluate the pros and cons and don’t look back once you’ve made up your mind. For more important decisions, you can try the WRAP method, a technique discussed by the Heath brothers in Decisive: How to Make Better Choices in Life and Work.
8. Share Your Thoughts: Talking to a loved one about how you feel is a great way to release pent-up emotions. Sharing your thoughts with others can also help you look at things from a fresh perspective which can help you think clearer and make better decisions.
9. Limit The Amount Of Media Intake: The media you consume has a huge impact on your mental health. We spend hours online: reading blogs, managing Pinterest boards, watching viral videos on YouTube, etc. This abundance of information can clog your brain, causing stress and anxiety. Limiting the amount of information you consume is necessary to get rid of all that media-related clutter from your mind. You can start by setting a limit on the amount of time you spend on social media. Also, be selective about your media consumption (avoid negative content, follow only reliable media outlets for news updates, etc.) and organize your email regularly.
10. Take Some Time To Unwind: Last but not the least, take a break! Your brain needs to rest and recharge in order to perform smoothly. So switch off your phones and laptops and do something that makes you feel happy. Whether it’s a long nap or a walk in the park.
So, what musty thoughts and emotions are catching dust in your mental closet? It’s time to identify that junk and get rid of it for good!
Hope this helps , see you next week with another empowering strategy.
Happiness and sunshine.