If like me you are a parent then you know that feeling of having the house upside down with clutter everywhere at times and it can feel overwhelming, the only thing worse is having a cluttered mind.
Our mind can get cluttered up in all sorts of ways such as worrying about the future, reflecting on things from our past, work, endless to do lists. When your mind is cluttered it becomes restless and loses focus and it can start moving in every direction at once which results in very little getting done.
Reflecting on issues that have caused you stress or worry is fine as it can help to process and learn from them. However, where many of us go wrong is that self-reflection turns into self-criticism and we blame ourselves continually for a situation that did not go well.
In my experience as a Counsellor I have noticed just how beneficial for clients it is to be able to clear away the clutter in our minds and quieten the mental chatter that comes with it. The good news is that most of us are experienced in clearing physical clutter and I help show clients how to clear the emotional clutter as if they were clearing out their wardrobe.
It is important to remember that by freeing up this space we don’t fill it up again with the same old repetitive unhelpful ways of doing things.
Let’s take a look at ways you can declutter your mind:
Declutter your Physical Environment: We’ve all been there, the house or office is cluttered up and you can feel your mind getting irritated because the physical clutter signals to the brain that there is always something to be done which can be mentally exhausting. As you declutter the physical space you will notice your mind also starts to declutter.
Get it down on paper/app: it is not possible to remember every bit of information or task that we have to do and trying to remember it all can cause undue stress. Whether you use a piece of paper and a pen or an app etc. and use that to store all those bits of information you need to remember.
Dump It: It’s a great feeling when you finally clear a room in the house and take the clutter to the dump, it feels like we have accomplished something. Why not do it with the clutter in your mind? Ask yourself why you are doing the things you are doing on your list. So often we get distracted by so many things we should be doing or could be doing and never take the time to take a step back and ask if we even want to be doing these tasks. So be decisive, make a decision on what you want to clear and clear the space for more beneficial tasks.
Stop Procrastinating: Nothing creates as much mental clutter than a to do list the length of your arm, so often we spend so much time on where we should start inevitably, we don’t get anything done. Accept that you can’t do it all, make a short list of the top priorities and make sure that your mind is focussed and devoted to the list and nothing else.
Switch Your Attention to Your Body: We can spend way too much time living in our heads that sometimes you just need to get out of our mind and into our body, by doing this I feel it allows us to take that step back and gain some clarity and space in the shortest amount of time. So, the next time you feel overwhelmed, confused and can’t seem to think clearly try some of the following techniques.
Get a window open and breath and feel that lovely cool fresh air
Go for a quick walk
Take a break and bust a few dance moves while listening to your favourite tunes
Sing out loud
Exercise- even if its just for 5-10 mins
Gentle stretching and focus on how your muscles feel as you stretch
Consistency is the key with so many things relating to our physical and psychological wellbeing, aim if you can to spend at least 5 minutes every day on your mental clutter list and soon you will see that list get shorter and shorter freeing up space for you.
If you find that you are not getting anywhere with the clutter in your mind then maybe you would benefit from speaking with a professionally qualified counsellor as counselling in my opinion is the ultimate in self-care and doesn’t have to be used only when you are almost on your knees.
If you need to talk, we are here to listen