Confused. Anxious. Overwhelmed. These are just some of the words that I would use to describe a mind that has too much clutter.
We can all be subject to this. Our culture has bred an onslaught of busyness, digital distraction and possession overload. Our minds can become bombarded with comparisons, expectations and general noise. If you combine this with physical environments that are overloaded with possessions, unfinished jobs and a list of ‘should do’s’ – it’s no surprise we become victims of stress.
‘Life is 10% of what happens to us and 90% of how we respond to it’ – you’ve heard it before. Lets be honest, there are many things that we simply can’t cut from our lives. If you have kids – you can’t just stop being a parent can you? There are also things that do take our time that we just don’t want to cut from our lives. It is true to say that most of the stress that we absorb and consider to be normal could be reduced significantly by several small changes.
So here are just a few things that I have discovered on my own journey (which I have to continually discipline myself in) that helps to reduce the ‘mind clutter’.
Make lists – lots of them!
- Once a week (a Sunday evening works well) – review the week ahead. Doing this as a family is also helpful as this trains your children to manage their time and be mindful of what’s happening in other people’s lives too. Consider what you have to do in the week and ensure that you are not overloaded with things you don’t have to do. Be cautious of committing to things you feel you ‘should’ do. Be realistic – if you need to cut things out, do it!
- Daily – Review your day. Write down what you need to achieve, even things like laundry or getting meat out of the freezer.
- Meal Plan – if you know what you’re eating each day and all you have to do is prepare it, it’s far easier than figuring it out when everyone’s starving. This also means everyone in the home can take responsibility for knowing ‘what’s for tea’ and helping!
Tick things off as you go!
My husband is a surveyor and when he comes home from a day ‘on-site’ he needs to download his data. He can’t process anything he’s recorded and draw it up until he’s downloaded.
We need the same! We take in so much ‘data’ during the course of one day. If we don’t have time to download we can never process it all and figure out the data that’s useful and the data that’s not needed. Do this regularly with someone you trust – your partner, best friend or someone else you trust. Downloading with someone helps us to process what’s going on inside. It literally declutters our mind.
If you have kids, give them space to do this too. It’s good for them to learn a healthy way of understanding their thoughts and knowing they’re safe to express themselves.
- Your Social Media use – You know it! We’ve just got to switch off from it. You’ve read this in so many places I’m sure but we still need reminding. Don’t compare people’s best shots with your worst day. Don’t get entangled in comparison and become heavy with unrealistic expectations. It’s seriously just not worth it. Simple.
- Your mind – Be disciplined to catch thoughts that feel like a dead weight. In our home we call them ‘trick’ thoughts. Thoughts designed to trip you up and entangle you in bunny trails that take you nowhere. The download process can be really helpful in training our minds to think on the right things.
- Your well-being – I know you don’t necessarily want to hear it but exercise will help declutter your mind. It’s another great way to process the data that’s creating noise in your mind. If you haven’t already, find something physical to do that you enjoy, even if it’s walking the dog but be disciplined to do it as regularly as you can.
There is so much more I could write on mental clutter but this is just something to be getting started with or a gentle reminder to those that have fallen off the wagon! Let me know how you get on. I’d love to hear from you. Either leave a comment here or connect with me on Facebook.