Worrying about something you have no control over only creates anxiety. As repetitive thoughts of fear and doubt cycle through your mind, they can drive you crazy – not to mention pollute your psyche. When the mind is scattered and unfocused, it becomes cluttered. Just like a messy room, it can make you feel stressed and unhappy. What is a cluttered mind exactly? This could mean a variety of things. For some, it could present itself as unorganized thoughts or a habit of only focusing on the negative aspects of a situation. For others, it could be stagnant old feelings like grudges or any other past emotion that has not been adequately processed. It could also simply be a chaotic list of responsibilities and to-dos that you feel pressured to remember.
A cluttered mind is dangerous because it results in wasted time and energy. It can prevent you from making clear decisions and diminish your ability to focus or be productive. When you cannot think clearly, you lose track of where you are going and who you are. You disconnect from your environment and relationships. When thoughts are unorganized, the whole body is disorganized. The body’s organs and systems can become confused or ineffective when thoughts and emotions are erratic and messy. If you do not take time to declutter your mind, you forfeit your ability to step into your full potential.
So, how do you declutter the mind?
Organize your thoughts on paper
Keeping a daily journal can help you escape the habit of overthinking. Every time a thought arises, write it down. You will be able to let go of the responsibility of having to remember the never-ending list of tasks on your plate. Just access your notes, and all you need to know will be there. You can keep track of ideas, to-do lists, or even thoughts about the future and past. This practical ritual will help you organize all the noise in your mind allowing you to be more at ease. It also creates a more present headspace which contributes to more effective and efficient actions.
Prioritize your to-do list
No one can do it all. When you see your to-do list rapidly growing, you need to decide what tasks are most important and only focus on those things. After writing down your responsibilities, rate each item and place the list in order from most important to least. It may even be beneficial to estimate the approximate time required to complete each item. That way, it will be clear where you should be focusing your time and attention. Once you know what needs to be done, make a plan of action to complete each task. Sometimes mental clutter is just indecisiveness. Life is nothing but a series of choices. When you procrastinate on decision-making, you become even more overwhelmed and cluttered in your mind.
Humans are incapable of doing multiple things at once, even though it may appear that you can. When you multitask, you are essentially oscillating between tasks so rapidly that the mind will inevitably feel cluttered and disorganized. Even an assembly line is based on the principle that it is better to focus on one single task at a time. Thus, everyone on the line has a specific job they are assigned to do repetitively, which significantly increases productivity.
Make time to meditate
Taking the time out of your day to refocus the mind is extremely beneficial. A mindfulness practice can help you reduce confusion and become clearer on your priorities. It enhances your ability to focus and concentrate. Meditation provides an opportunity to be still enough to notice what is going on behind the scenes (in your head). You will see your habitual thought loops and recognize the emotions that arise from them. Remember, not every thought you hear is true. Use discernment and remove the negative internal dialogue by proving the words false. If you hear “I am not good enough,” immediately tell yourself that it isn’t true. If you don’t have an established practice and would like to start,
Organize your environment
An organized space does wonders for your mind. Cluttered environments inhibit your ability to organize thoughts. It is difficult to stay focused and productive when you are in the midst of a messy, chaotic atmosphere. Try to minimize the number of objects visible. Use drawers and boxes to contain items that you may not use as frequently. Design your home like a showroom and place items deliberately to create the ambiance you desire. The less clutter you see in your living space, the more your mind will feel peaceful and quiet.
Feel the fresh air
Fresh air and nature can help balance the stresses of the mind. Nature has multiple mental health benefits and can help reduce feelings of anxiety. Hike a forest path or stroll through the park, and you will feel refreshed and restored. The fresh air has a way of clearing the mind and invigorating the body.
Do a digital detox
It is next to impossible to go through the day without digital bombardment by advertisements, social media updates, and sensory stimulation. It is a lot to process and can be detrimental to self-esteem. When you are using social media platforms, be cautious about the content you consume. Unfollow accounts that don’t bring you joy or offer value to your life. Advertisements increase your desire for more, making the mind more unsatisfied. Set an intention to spend less time on your phone each day or set aside a portion of your day to do a digital detox.
The bottom line
If you do not take time to declutter your mind, you forfeit your ability to step into your full potential. Cleaning the mind is no different than cleaning out an attic. It may seem overwhelming at first, but piece by piece, the space becomes organized. Just as an enormous mess can be managed and cleaned, the state of your mind can become spotless too. Remember to focus on one thing at a time and be patient. As you begin the process of decluttering, you will feel the benefits carry into your mood and your overall outlook on life.