We have all been victims of a cluttered mind at some point in our lives, whether induced by actual physical clutter or internally by our overworked and hypersensitive conscious minds. You see clutter of any form has a great impact on our physical as well as mental well-being. Today we’ll do a deep dive into the effects of a cluttered mind and how to declutter your mind using one or more of the tools that will be shared.
Get yourself out of the rut and just DECLUTTER YOUR MIND!!
This is easier said than done, even the most self-aware of us have a difficult time ridding ourselves of mind clutter. More often than not the more we are aware of our mind clutter, the more we try to find solutions. Unfortunately, we do this by subsequently adding even more clutter into our systems. Bemused? Well you being here, reading this article – is the perfect example.
Dr Friedemann Schaub posits that more often than not mental clutter is a result of the absence of balance between impression (information coming in) and expression. When our minds are cluttered, we tend to seek solace in a good book or article or by watching a TEDtalk or movie. All in the effort of getting our minds off the mental clutter or to find a solution for it.
But surprisingly this is where most of us go wrong! Because, instead of ridding ourselves of mental clutter we are merely adding onto it.
With anything, good balance is very important. So when your mind is already off balance due to the mental clutter, adding more information just aggravates it even more. Want to know why you feel a sense of relief and clarity after clearing out and organizing your desk? Because by decluttering you reduce the amount of things that compete for your attention. Researchers have found that excessive visual stimuli results in decreased performance, concentration, and ability to process information.
Tempted to close the browser? Don’t do it! As today I am going to share some very useful insights, which hopefully will get you out of the cluttered rut.
Signs That it's Time To De-clutter your Mind
The most common sign is when “what you are doing as well as how you are thinking and feeling are not in alignment with your true-self”. Below are some common symptoms of a cluttered mind. These serve as our internal alarm system, signalling us to take necessary steps in order to restore harmony and balance.
How exactly does decluttering my mind help me live my best life you ask? First and foremost a decluttered mind makes for better mental health and well-being. If that isn’t convincing enough here are but a few reasons why you want to invest your time on decluttering your mind. Research shows that decluttering your mind has tremendous benefits, which include:
- Less stress
- Eliminates worry
- Relieves anxiety
- Eliminates negative thinking
- To free up mental workspace
- For Clarity, Focus, and Peace
- To stay Productive and Happy
Now that we have examined the signs and symptoms of a cluttered mind and the benefits of having a decluttered mind! We are now ready to look at some fool proof ways with which you can declutter your mind and live your best life.
Declutter Physical Space
Yes there is a clear link between physical clutter and mind clutter. Physical (external) clutter has been found to have adverse effects on the mind leading to mental clutter. Research has found that physical clutter leads to depleted mental energy, hampers with concentration and focus, overloads the senses, causes stress and anxiety, impairs our ability to think creatively, affects our mood and self-esteem, as well as affects our ability to process information. Now be the bad-ass that you are and start the decluttering rampage, work your way through all facets of your life, all the places and spaces that you tend to frequent (work station, laptop/computer, emails, cell phone, social media etc.)
Now feel your mind *sigh* of relief.
I like how Dr. Friedemann Schaub calls it the “deprivation of information mode”. Mindfulness meditation is a proven tool for decluttering your mind. You can go into this mode at any given time, all you need to do is;
Sit in silence, do nothing, sit still, breathe deeply in and out of your nose, just let your mind wander, let the unconscious come and go, as you silently observe without judgement. Give your subconscious mind an opportunity to release, unfold, and declutter. Go into the deprivation of external information mode and listen to the vast knowledge within you.
Research shows that journaling is an effective way to declutter your mind and reduce stress, improve memory, as well as free up mental work-space. A lot of impression happens in our daily lives, but very little expression. According to a report published by the University of Rochester Medical Center, writing down your thoughts and feelings helps to establish order amidst chaos. Thus it is wise to get into the habit of journaling and expressing our thoughts and feelings on the reg!
Allocate 5 minutes every morning to let your thoughts and feelings stream out into your pen onto the pages (these can take any form, be it words or drawings). Just simply let your mind go off and express itself.
A metaphor is a figure of speech, and a good form of self-hypnosis. Research shows that our brains do not know the difference between what we are imagining and what is really happening, provided we speak the subconscious language. The subconscious language has little to do with words rather the meanings and feelings we associate with it.
Spend 5 minutes every day before going to bed focusing on a specific metaphor. Visualize and think about the metaphor, associate meaning and feelings to it.
Example: imagine every night before you go to bed that you put all of your mental clutter in a black bag, take it outside into the recycling bin, and taken to the dumpster.
Eliminate negative self-talk
How often has negative self-talk gotten you what your heart desires? Rarely! That is because nothing productive has ever come from negative self-talk. Often than not negative self-talk leads to an unhealthy spiral that leads to more mind clutter. If you are guilty of this, or were at some point of your life then you are well aware of the amount of mental distress that it causes.
How can you eliminate negative self-talk?
- Write your negative self-talk down
- Ask yourself. Is this true? Does this thought serve me?
- Counterbalance the negative self-talk with 3 positive statements.
Note: the positive statements must be genuine, you must feel it and believe it. This is the language of the subconscious mind, if your subconscious doesn’t believe that you are being genuine then the positive statements will not work and could actually end up being counterproductive.
If you want to learn more on how to transform your negative self-talk into something more productive then DO YOURSELF A FAVOR and read “From self-critic to biggest motivator“.
Ready to declutter your mind? Of course you are… Sift through the fool proof tips mentioned here and find the ones (or the one) that work best for you and go for it… remember nothing worthwhile is ever easy.
Happy decluttering 😀 And as always don’t forget to share with us some of the ways you keep your mind decluttered and lets have a conversation in the comments.
Author: Nadia Ahmed
Nadia Ahmed is a Psychologist and an assistant lecturer. She is a Yoga and Ayurveda enthusiast and a Kanga Yoga practitioner. Nadia is a strong advocate of mental health, and a firm supporter of both traditional as well as alternative therapies to achieve well-being. She is always looking for opportunities to learn, grow, and contribute to society. Your typical “superwoman”.