De-Clutter your mind
By Sean Smith MA, LSW, LICDC-CS
There is something calming, relaxing, and peaceful when we walk into our home after a good, thorough cleaning. When everything is in its proper place, and organized, we find ourselves less stressed. We find things easier when we need them. We have more time to do things we want because we don’t have as many chores at home. And, with a freshly de-cluttered home, we find it easier to continue to keep the home clean.
This same concept applies to us as a person as well. When we have a lot of things on our mind, or have numerous projects, issues, worries, and plans that we are consumed by, we tend to be less productive, more overwhelmed and stressed, and often miss the small daily pleasures in life. But, when we find a way to focus, to let go of what we can’t control, to be realistic, and to take care of our bodies and emotions, we are calmer, more relaxed, and more at peace. We experience moments that we would have otherwise missed. We enjoy life more, and we are a healthier person.
De-cluttering the home is a task that is tangible, that you can see and touch, but de-cluttering the mind is a bit more abstract. Here are some ideas that may make that task easier to accomplish:
- Write everything down that you can possibly think of that you need to do, take care of, finish, or attend to. Getting everything on paper helps you begin to organize your tasks. It takes what is can feel overwhelming and makes it manageable. Now that you have a list, you can prioritize and organize. And, as you begin to complete each item, there is a sense of accomplishment that is rewarding.
- Make sure you take an opportunity each day for a mental break to recharge. It doesn’t have to be something huge or excessively time consuming. It is can something as simple as getting up and taking your dog on a walk, or reading a chapter in your book that you never seem to get to. Or, it might be making a 15 minute phone call to your friend that you keep meaning to touch base with but never seem to do. The key here is to shift the mind’s focus from a driving, working task and to enjoy the moment.
- Find a way to exercise. While this is a commitment in itself and can be a bit stressful initially, the benefits from regular exercise will far outweigh the initial difficulty starting a routine. The point to remember is that regular exercise does not have to involve restricting the whole day in order to get to the gym for a 60 minute intense workout. It can be a simple as finding 15 minutes a few times a day to increase the heart rate. Walk a few laps around the office, go up and down the stairs, wake up a little earlier to do some pushups, planks, and wall sits in your bedroom. You will start to notice you have more energy, think clearer, and feel better as you burn calories and start to drop weight.
- Learn to meditate. Spend a few minutes, or moments, each day meditating can create calm and relaxation. Simply put, meditation is an exercise of focusing your attention away from the ongoing thoughts and distractions in your mind, and bringing your mind and body together in the moment. There are different types of meditation that you can explore – guided imagery, progressive muscle relaxation, mindfulness training to name a few. Many people even consider yoga a form of medication. The benefit of meditation will be a calmer, more relaxed, and less stressed you.