It’s not only our houses that can get cluttered. Our minds can get overwhelmed with ideas, things to do, and "where did I put that?" questions. Keeping track of all the stuff in our lives can be exhausting, and I for one have a few dedicated stress balls on hand to help me out in these situations. The mind doesn’t still anymore without a concentrated effort. Instead it is constantly working in overdrive. Processing. Remembering. Prioritizing..
Once the mind becomes too tired we start to forget things or lose focus. I hate days when I feel frazzled and pulled in different directions.
So how can we release this mind clutter? How can we can have more energy and focus?
Write everything down
Have a master list of all your to do’s in categories. Don’t try to remember everything. Then have a daily to do list for today’s must do’s.
Keep an idea journal for things you might want to do or think would be a great idea even if you can’t do them right now. I have vacations I want to go on, books I want to read, a plan for an ebook, a title of something I want to write, and some constellations I want to memorize. You can keep your idea journal on the computer or in a notebook.
Put a notepad by your bed and other places you come up with thoughts and actions. Then in the morning you can transfer them to the master list or idea book.
One form of mental clutter are those thoughts that keep cycling over and over.
"I can’t believe she said that to me. I felt so dumb. And I didn’t even reply coherently. I should have said…."
"I am so worried about my finances. We have too much debt, and one of us might lose their jobs, and we’d lose the house and I know I am going to end up being a bag lady."
"I failed big time that time. Why did I do that? I should have… I wish…"
When you start ruminating over something write it down in a journal or notebook. Once it’s written down you have less of a feeling that you have to continue having it junk up your head. You might even come up with some solutions or lessons learned. This is also a good practice for before bed if you stay up at night worrying.
Put your plans to paper. Write down your goals so they can become action plans instead of vague, "I want to" do’s.
Sketch out project plans on paper instead of letting them become huge boulders in your head. When you put them to paper you break the project down so it feels more manageable.
If you have some things you want to tell a certain person next time you talk, write it down in your planner under Agenda. Write out your menu plan for the week so you aren’t trying to defrost something by microwave at dinnertime.
All those plans in your head? Get them down on paper. Don’t try to remember all the details.
Try thinking about just one object, one word, on thought. Let the other thoughts pass through your head. Have this peace, even if it’s just for a minute. When you walk, just walk. When you wash dishes, feel the soap bubbles.
See how long you can pay attention to what is going on right now instead of regretting the past or worrying about the future.
Take 10 deep breaths, concentrating on your breathing and nothing else. How do you feel?
Dip into your heart
Too often we are in our heads all day long. Take a moment to ask yourself, "What am I feeling?" "What do I need?" "What do the people around me need?"
Instead of picking your next to do by the calculated priority you placed on it earlier, feel what you should do next once in awhile.
Release the unhelpful thoughts
Your thoughts think they are helping you, protecting you and want to be listened to. But, sometimes thoughts hold you back. What have you been thinking about lately that is counterproductive to how you want to live? When the thought comes up try saying to it, "Thanks for sharing and here is the door." Release the thought. Some people like to visualize those thoughts as balloons floating away. Or leaves in a stream. Play with it until you find something that resonates with you.
Sometimes it’s helpful to dialogue with the thought to see what it is really trying to say. Often you’ll find out it was just trying to protect you. If it says, "You don’t really want to lead that workshop. No on will be interested and it will go badly," it may really be saying, "I am afraid that you may fail and then feel hurt." Then you get the chance to tell the thought it is very kind and you are going to try anyway. You can suggest other nurturing thoughts instead. (If you are one of those rare people who don’t talk to yourself, then you can ignore that last bit.)
Other times you really do need to take action – pray, forgive, research, call someone. Write the action down or do it now. And then the thought will dissipate.
What is cluttering up your mind today?