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Career Girl, Wellness

March 11, 2019

How to clear Mental Clutter

I’m sure we’ve all been simplifying our homes and getting rid of all the things that are taking up physical space in our homes. Because, Marie Kondo. But, what about the things that take up space in our minds? Ya know, the mental clutter. To do lists, social events, did I re-schedule that meeting? Don’t forget to defrost the chicken for dinner. #allthethings Mental clutter can effect so much in our lives and I firmly believe its just as important to clear mental clutter like it is to clear physical clutter.

I never really thought about mental clutter as something that would effect my life in so many ways. But, the more I’ve read about wellness, living intentionally and being more present, I’ve found that learning about mental health and finding ways to improve it (whether that’s through big improvements or creating small habits) is something that should be on all of our minds. 

Mental clutter is a lot different than physical clutter (which we all can learn about via Marie Kondo and her amazing books and show! Mental clutter can be linked to anxiety, poor time management, procrastination and stress, and it can wreak havoc on our creativity, productivity and every day outlook.  It’s exactly as it sounds: all that junk floating around in your head, disrupting your routine and weighing you down with detrimental thoughts.  

Like pretty much anyone reading this, I had to admit that I’m guilty of letting my thoughts and worries run me down, sometimes causing me to lose sleep.  It got me thinking about simple changes I can implement in my day-to-day routine to help clear my own mental clutter, like putting my iPhone down more often (understatement of the year).  

  1. RESCHEDULE UNNECESSARY TASKS

Step back and ask yourself what is REALLY necessary to accomplish today. Focus on the important task(s) and reschedule the rest. By learning how to say no, you really give yourself confident to make that a more common word you will start to use. You also will feel better taking charge of your own schedule (and stress).

2. TACKLE ONE IMPORTANT TASK AT A TIME

So you know how we allllll think we can multi-task and we do a million things at once. Turns out only about 2% of America can actually multi-task properly! As we try to do many things at once, we’re actually a lot less productive with the tasks we have on our to-do lists. Seems straight-forward enough, but it always helps to have a reminder of this in order to cut down on the extra junk racing around in your head. 

3. PUT THE CELL PHONE AWAY

It’s easy to get wrapped up in the status updates, notifications, calendar reminders, and iMessages. But by putting your phone down, you are able to not only be more present in the moment, but also more productive with less distractions that lead to the mental clutter. Don’t be afraid to turn off push notifications. I promise the world won’t end if you do. (Unless you’re the president, in which case, Welcome to my blog, and please hire someone to manage your iPhone notifications.)

4. FIND TIME ALONE

By allowing yourself to have alone time, you give your mind the chance to wander in unconscious thought and reset. Our worlds are becoming increasingly faster and noisier, and finding comfort in solitude can help keep the mind clear of clutter. Think about the things you say you will do when you have “extra time”. No one will make that space for you, you have to! — Preaching this one to myself, everrrryday.

5. TAKE SEVERAL DEEP BREATHS

Don’t forget the power of deep breathing. Think long, deep breaths that sound like the ocean. 
My therapist taught me that deep breathing can be done wherever and whenever you wish, making it one of the simplest ways to get your mind back on track. I especially loved this thought: “Breathing is like doing reps in the gym for your biceps. The more reps you do, the stronger you are. Paying attention to your breathing increases the attention muscle in brain.” 

Those are a few ways I combat mental clutter. I’d love for you to share any additional ways you’re able to do the same. Comment your tips below!

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Photography by Emma Parkinson Photography

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