5 Ways to Declutter Your Mind (Starting with Your Stuff)

When we think of decluttering it’s usually in relation to our stuff. Our thoughts immediately turn to our too-full closet, the garage we can’t park our car in or the basement stacked with years of junk we know we should get rid of but never do.

But what about decluttering your mind? According to some researchers, the average person has about 70,000 thoughts a day. (Others are skeptical, claiming it’s a myth we think that much.)

Whatever the actual number, it’s safe to say it’s often way more than necessary. What’s worse, most of our thoughts are either negative or not constructive.

Calming your monkey mind isn’t only beneficial for your meditation practice. It will enhance every aspect of your life, from your work and relationships to how well you sleep at night.

Benefits of Decluttering Your Mind

Just as you feel a sense of relief when you finally clear out an area in your home that’s been weighing on you, so, too, will you feel better when you declutter your mind of the negative and arbitrary thoughts ploughing through your mental bandwidth.

Much like its physical counterpart, mental clutter causes us to feel overwhelmed. It inhibits our ability to focus on the things that matter. When your mind is busy, thinking clearly can be a challenge.

When you declutter your mind you have room to think, room to consider your options without distraction. You’ll also find that staying present is that much easier. The reason our thoughts make us anxious is because they either pull us toward the future or back into the past.

Neither of which is helpful. When you’re truly in the moment your attention is honed on the task you’re busy with. (This single-focus approach will also improve your memory.)

You’re not going to have any luck staying present, if you don’t first declutter your mind of extraneous thoughts and make room for the ones that actually matter.

5 Ways to Declutter Your Mind (Starting with Your Stuff)

How do You Declutter Your Mind?

How on Earth do you declutter your mind? It’s not as if you can empty your brain into a couple of boxes, and then haul the offending items out to the sidewalk. If only it were that easy, right?

Decluttering your mind is not as difficult as you might imagine. There are a number of tips and tricks you can employ to not only empty your mind but keep it clutter-free.

1. Declutter Your Stuff

As this article on Daring to Live Greatly rightly points out, physical clutter leads to mental clutter. You can’t expect to declutter your mind without first attending to the space around you. If your home or office is a mess, it won’t matter what mental work you’ve done.

Decluttering will make you happier and more productive, give you more time and help you feel calmer and more relaxed. From that space, decluttering your mind will be a cinch.

Schedule that overdue clean-out and make decluttering your space a priority. It doesn’t have to be a weekend-long affair either, there are places you can declutter in 20 minutes or less. Start there.

2. Get Rid of the Mental Habits That Keep You Stuck

Psychology Today has outlined three mental habits that might be keeping you stuck. Pity parties, self-doubt and rumination not only serve no purpose, they actually make things worse.

They suggest keeping an eye out for negative language (nobody understands what I’m going through), actively challenging self-doubt (as opposed to just accepting it as the status quo) and understanding the difference between problem solving and worrying.

Consider what mental habits you have that aren’t serving you, and take action to eliminate them.

3. Write it Down

The human brain is a remarkable piece of machinery, capable of incredible feats. But sometimes the way to get the most out of it is by giving it a break. Rather than keep everything ‘between your ears’, empty your thoughts onto paper.

Journalling is hugely beneficial on many levels. It serves as a healthy outlet for bottled emotions, lowers anxiety levels and improves your working memory. It’s also a great way to keep track of good ideas and come up with new ones.

4. Forget Multitasking

Don’t be fooled, there is nothing productive about multitasking. In fact, according to some schools of thought, there’s no such thing. All you’re doing is task-switching, which is unproductive and a recipe for mind clutter.

When you stop multitasking and instead give your attention to one thing at a time you will improve your mental focus. Done enough, you’ll eventually learn to think only about the task at hand. Bye bye, mental clutter.

5. Stop Overcommitting

We all want to be the good guy, the person who says yes to every request. While admirable, it has its downsides. For one thing, it’s easy to overextend yourself. When that happens, overwhelm is not far behind.

Your mind quickly goes into overdrive as it tries desperately to process everything you said you’d do. Remember, you don’t have to stick your hand up every single time. It’s okay to say no occasionally.

Photo Credit: Thinkstock

31 comments

hELEN h
hELEN hEARFIELD9 days ago

tyfs

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Danuta W
Danuta W11 days ago

thanks for sharing

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Anne M
Anne M12 days ago

Take time out for yourself,, you need it... - Quiet your mind and the body will follow...

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Mona M
Mona M12 days ago

thank you...and the real happiness to have an uncluttered clear mind.

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Lesa D
Lesa D12 days ago

thank you Angela...

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Chrissie R
Chrissie R12 days ago

Thanks for posting.

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Janis K
Janis K12 days ago

Thanks for sharing.

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Leo Custer
Leo C12 days ago

Thank you for sharing!

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Amanda M
Amanda M12 days ago

Thanks for sharing

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Amanda M
Amanda M12 days ago

Thanks for sharing

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