Mental clutter has a big impact on our lives, probably bigger than most people realize. Mental clutter can make you feel helpless, overwhelmed and unmotivated. It can paralyze your actions, make you want to leave the scene and forget things.
Mental clutter is all the extraneous information we are trying to take in, remember and decide about.
I think of clutter as too much around you. Clutter, of any kind, usually creates stress. You physically, emotionally and mentally have to pay attention to and deal with it. This takes energy away from you.
Clean up your mental house
Just like physical clutter, you can clean up your mental clutter too! Here’s how.
1. Provide a home for thoughts
Like physical things, providing a ‘home’ for ideas and information allows you to work with them and find them. An information ‘home’ is a list. Lists allow you to get things out of your head and to categorized and prioritize them. Try it! Lists are amazing.
2. Throw out your mental trash
Sometimes we hang on to ideas, information and thoughts we think we need because we haven’t really looked at them and determined their usefulness to us (just like objects).
Ideas we don’t need or want to act on, information we could easily look up later and thoughts that aren’t serving us well do not need to be in our brains. Try noticing your thoughts and what purpose they are serving you. It takes practice but the benefits of ‘taking out the trash’ are huge!
3. Recycle or donate ideas
That idea you can’t quite stop thinking about or get rid of can be ‘recycled’ into ideas you can use. Find what part of it you like and want to use. Or, maybe you can ‘donate’ the information to someone else who can use it or act on it for you (sometimes though of as delegating!).
4. Stop the junk
When too much unnecessary and unwanted information comes in, it can clog up everything, just like junk mail coming in to your home. You can, to seem degree, control incoming information to suit you. Think about how information comes at you, such as the TV, radio, computer, newspaper, magazines, colleagues and friends. Decide to turn off, tune out or read later. Be mindful of what information is actually useful, necessary and fun for you at any given time and get rid of the rest.
Just like things, certain thoughts have more value. Decide what you want and need to be thinking about right now. What is your highest priority? Is it productive or useful to think about something (or worry) right now? You can decide to focus on or not think about something.
Enjoy the benefits of a clearer mind! Just like having a clear space, a clear mind helps you think, function and relax more easily.
It can be a challenge to throw out your mental clutter. Call me for help.