Do you often feel overwhelmed and unable to focus on any one thing?
If yes, that could mean that your mind is cluttered and has a lot of brain ‘tabs’ open and you might need to close down some of them. The question is ‘How?’
From too much social media to trying to multitask to holding on to old issues from our past, adding to our mind clutter is not hard. But how do we start sweeping it out so we can feel less overwhelmed?
“Clutter is not just physical stuff. It’s old ideas, toxic relationships and bad habits. It’s anything that does not support your better self.” — Eleanor Brown
Every thought has the potential to become clutter if we don’t have the ability to properly organize our thoughts.
It is normal for us to have random thoughts throughout the day.
Considering that we live in a fast paced world, our mind goes all over the place, from “what should I cook for dinner,” or “do I look fat in these pants,” to “am I a good parent?” in a short space of time. We are surrounded by many things that stimulate us.
However, when these thoughts take over our ability to focus on anything, it becomes a problem.
Signs of a cluttered mind can include:
A cluttered mind results in us wasting time thinking about and stressing over things that are beyond our control.
On top of that, it makes us emotionally and physically exhausted and confused. We spend a lot of time in our heads and become less present, which hinders us from effectively connecting with ourselves and those around us.
However, it’s important to note that these thought patterns can also be attributed to mental disorders such as anxiety disorders, OCD, PTSD, depression and ADHD among many others.
If you are really struggling with any of these tips or ideas, or even if you're not, it could be a good idea to speak to your doctor or a professional about prolonged and intense feelings of being overwhelmed.
There has been a lot of loud conversation about minimalism and the benefits of leading a minimalist life, which has been great.
However, a large part of this discussion has been around materialistic minimalism and decluttering. Unfortunately, it is not only our homes and closets that need to be decluttered.
Removing the non-essential stuff from our minds is important and it helps us focus on things that matter. It also makes us feel a lot less overwhelmed and more motivated.
Here are some tips to help you declutter your mind and lead a more balanced and purposeful life.
It is with no doubt that we get a lot of stimulation and ‘ideas’ from social media. Sadly, a lot of stimulation can fill up our brain - causing clutter. Subconsciously, we also start to compare ourselves with the versions of people which they present on social media (most of which are not real).
We start feeling less than and our self esteem can start tanking. This results in us feeling stressed and anxious.
Studies have shown that limiting the time we spend on social media reduces loneliness and depression.
Monitor and limit the time you spend on social media and delete accounts that do not contribute to your general well-being. When using social media, be selective about the material you consume and follow accounts that bring positivity.
On the surface, multitasking might seem like an effective way of getting a lot done. Unfortunately, studies have proven that multitasking actually reduces productivity and efficiency.
Think back to the time you tried to text while driving or respond to emails while on a call and trying to browse through the internet to find the perfect gift.
Multitasking fills our brain with a lot of stimulation and limits our attention span, which increases brain clutter. Consider creating a simple to-do list and designating time for each task.
This way, you do not get carried away with one task and ignore the other tasks. This way you avoid mental overload and increase your productivity.
If you pay close attention you will notice that clutter in your environment and work space is correlated with clutter in your brain. Physical clutter feeds our mind with excessive stimuli and always reminds us that there is something else we need to do.
If you’ve been contemplating tidying up your place, now is the time to do so.
As mentioned earlier, having a lot of thoughts randomly floating in our mind is one of the trademarks of a cluttered mind.
Things like appointments, ideas and to-do lists can flood our brain. Writing these thoughts down takes them out of our heads - which is exactly what we need when decluttering our mind.
We tend to hold on to the past a lot and that aids to the mind clutter.
We think of the times we embarrassed ourselves, the opportunities we missed, the instances where we misunderstood people, people we’ve treated unfairly and so on. Yes, not all things in our past make us happy, but at some point we have to let go.
Holding on to the past does not serve us and it only clutters up our present. Take some time to go through all the past encounters that are taking up space in your mind and work towards letting them go.
Practicing meditation and mindfulness might not be easy at first but the more you practice, the better and more rewarding it becomes.
Learn to be still and direct your focus on one thing or one thought. Throughout the day, occasionally stop and take a deep breath, then slowly exhale. This helps you redirect your thoughts and focus on what needs your attention.
A cluttered mind gets in the way of us focusing on what is really important in the moment.
We've all become used to feeling overwhelmed by all the tempting stimulation out there, so don't feel like you're alone in this.
Whether you're going to sort through some old baggage, or want to begin limiting your social media exposure (Or just unfollow those unhelpful, negative accounts.), just start somewhere!
Use these tips and lead a more fulfilling and productive life. Remember, the goal is not to ‘empty’ your mind. But, to start practicing the skills you need to better organize and prioritize your thoughts.
Did any of our tips resonate with you? Let us know in the comments below!