11 Ways to Declutter Your Mind to Gain Mental Clarity
Does your mind never stop?
The overthinking, over analyzing, and worrying?
Leading you into spirals of anxiety or extreme overwhelm?
You are not alone.
It is so easy for us to get wrapped up in the ‘mental clutter’ as our thoughts take us round a rollarcoaster in our mind.
In an age of information overload, it is so important to begin to care for our minds and being to sort through that mental clutter.
What is Mental Clutter?
We have all heard about the benefits of decluttering our homes, and removing excessive ‘stuff’ from our lives for our mental health, but what about removing excessive ‘stuff’ from our minds?
Mental clutter can take many forms:
- Worrying about things outside of your control,
- Feeling guilty about something you may have said, done or not done,
- Obsessively ruminating over events,
- Focusing on the negative,
- Holding onto anger, past-hurt, resentment,
- Constantly consuming information with no breaks,
- Over-analyzing conversations or situations,
- Living in fear of judgement, and
- Constant sensory input and external distractions
Many of us have been taught since birth one or more of these habits and they are taking up valuable room in our minds.
It is time to learn how to declutter some of those thoughts so you can begin to better manage your stress, mange your anxiety, manage your anger and manage your emotions.
How to Declutter your Mind
Just as our physical health is connected to our diet (what we put in our mouths) our mental health is connected to our thoughts and emotions (what we put in our heads) and how we manage these. Just as you declutter and clean your physical environment it is more important than ever to declutter your mental environment.
Having an excess of mental clutter creates distraction, overwhelm and disorganization leaving you mis-aligned and disconnected from the people you love, yourself and the present moment.
Neuroscience tells us that on average we have 60,000-70,000 thoughts per day (and I don’t think they researched Mom brains – as I bet that number is way higher)! And out of thoughts 60-70 thousand thoughts per day 80-90% of them are the SAME thoughts we had the day before.
So, we are continually ruminating over and over on our personal thought patterns, beliefs and stories we tell ourselves about our lives, our self-worth, our present moment and our future.
It is no wonder we can get so wrapped up in overwhelm and caught in patterns that may no longer be serving us.
If you want to begin to make the subtle shifts to start letting go of some of the overwhelm today, here are 11 practical ways you can start your mind diet today.
Choose one and practice it this week.
11 Practical Ways to Declutter Your Mind and let go of the Overwhelm
- Clean up Your Email. Email is said to the first thing most people check in the morning. Take the time each day to unsubscribe or spam folder emails you no longer follow or open. I used to be signed up for at least 10 different department store emails, fearing I would miss a deal. When I let go of the FOMO and deleted the daily emails of “buy this, buy that” I not only saved money, but felt so much less overwhelm looking at my email each day.
- Clean up Social Media – Take 5-10 minutes while you are scrolling and unfollow people who are not bringing alignment into your life. Hate seeing Negative Nellie’s posts pop in your feed? Not jiving with Opinionated Oliver’s views on everything? Mute. Unfollow. Disengage. Choose who and what you want showing up in your life.
- Put the Phone Down – Now that you have your email and social media cleaned up catch yourself when you go to mindlessly scroll and give your eyes, your mind and your heart a rest. Even if for 5 minutes. Choose to just be in whatever you are doing – sitting on the couch, watching your kids, sitting on the bus. Just be. For 5 minutes.
- Put your Thoughts on Paper. Journaling has not only been proven to be a helping tool in managing mental health it also is proven to help people in achieving their goals. Whether you are needing to get out strong thoughts and emotions or writing down brilliant ideas, dreams and goals, have a dedicated notebook that you can physically write it out. It doesn’t have to be fancy, nor do you have to be a pro bullet journaler. Just have a space for to put your thoughts on paper.
- Write a To-Do List and Prioritize. When you feel like you have a million and one things to do have a space to write them down. I use my notes on my phone. I have a running to do list where I add things I need to get done. Then each week I have another note which is my ‘weekly to do list’ On Sunday I take about 15 minutes to look at my to do list and pick out the ones I need to get done that week and leave the ones that I are less important. By jotting down my to do’s that come into my head I can let them go and focus at the task on hand.
- Manage your Multitasking. It is so easy to get caught up in having 20 tabs open on our internet browser, or 20 ‘tabs’ opened in our minds. But try and really hone in one 1-2 things at a time versus spiraling out on 10 or 20 things. You will be more focused, productive and in more of a place of calm.
- Have a Therapy Session – whatever that looks like to you. Is it having coffee with a friend? Confiding in a loved one about how you are feeling? Writing out a post on reddit or an internet forum? Going to therapy? Speaking with a life coach? Or even debriefing to yourself while you commute. When I need to sort through things and I don’t have time or money for therapy, I literally talk to myself on my commute. I talk out loud and say what is bothering me and let it out. Whatever your “therapy” session looks like for you, unloading your thoughts OUTLOUD also clears up mental space and allows you to ruminate less on those pesky thoughts that keep spiraling about giving you more clarity
- Start Becoming Aware of your Thought Patterns. This one can take practice, but like any muscle, the more you do it the stronger it becomes. By writing down your thoughts on paper, or chatting it out with someone, you will soon begin to recognize the thought patterns you keep getting stuck on. Is it feelings of guilt? Feelings of low self-worth, feelings of fear? Feelings of sadness and lack of control? Begin to try and be consciously aware of your thought patterns as this is the first step in changing them and reducing your mental clutter for good.
- Indulge in Nature Therapy. More and more research is showing how the lack of outdoor time is impacting not only our kids, but ourselves as well. It is easy to poo-poo going outside or making the effort to go for a walk, but the clarity you receive when you sit by water, forest bathe or simply going for a walk will give you mental clarity and reduce your mental clutter.
- Hold Space for Mind Gaps. Allow yourself to have reflective time where you are not listening to a podcast, not listening to tv, not even reading. Stop consuming information. Allow your mind to just be. Whether you try to meditate, do yoga, exercise, take a bath or listen to music without words. Do it without filling your mind with more stuff. Often, we deny ourselves of our creativity, our present moment and tapping into our inner geniuses when we are constantly bombarding our mind with information. Allow yourself the break. Allow your mind the break.
- Recognize your Signs of Overwhelm. We all have tell tale signs of when we are getting overwhelmed and are needing a time to unclutter our minds. For me, I notice myself becoming more easily agitated, annoyed and anxious. I feel myself focusing on tasks that are months away, ruminating, fretting and spiraling into a place of worry, overwhelm and negativity of how I am going to do it all. It is easy to get stuck in this cycle for days if not weeks. But really try and notice your patterns so you can begin to implement these strategies when you are spiraling.
By beginning to implement a few of these strategies into your daily life you are slowly decluttering your mind and freeing up more space for the things you actually want to focus on. Your dreams, your family, your career, your passions, your hobbies.
Clearing your mental clutter is one of the best self care gifts you can give to yourself. It costs nothing, takes little to no time and will create lasting changes in your overall mental health.
What is the mental clutter that you need to clear? let me know in the comments below!
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