Decluttering isn’t just about getting your desk in order or clearing out your wardrobe, it’s about letting go of all those thoughts you’ve been ruminating on from the past and all those future “what if” scenarios that you keep playing out in your head.
We’ve all experienced feeling overwhelmed with a project at work or school. You might get a headache or notice yourself becoming anxious and tense, recognizing the need to take a break. Similarly, it’s clear when you need to give your body recovery time after a strenuous workout routine. Aside from sore muscles, you will stop seeing results if you don’t give your body the opportunity to repair tissues that have broken down. Physical symptoms make it easy to recognize the need to take a time out. We have to be mindful of our less obvious tendencies that could effect our well-being and prevent us from reaching our goals.
What is mental clutter?
Surely you’ve heard of “over-thinking.” Well, thinking too much about things isn’t just a nuisance; it can take a serious toll on your happiness. Our brains are the most sophisticated computer in existence, but even they can get over-heated and need time to cool down.Research finds that constant dwelling on past events, and worrying about or contemplating the future increases your risk of mental-health problems.
Studies also show that overthinking can have a negative effect on your productivity, lower your performance and kill your creativity – the same effects as being in a messy environment. Likewise, when your mind becomes cluttered with thoughts, ideas and memories whizzing around, over time those thoughts begin to weigh us down and become emotional baggage. Not to mention, when you are caught up in your own thoughts, you are not living in the moment. When you immerse yourself in the present, you are allowing yourself to gain a new perspective on life – and maybe even acquire more time in your day!
How do I declutter my mind?
Stephen King has written dozens of novels and stories and continuously comes up with new and original tales for the world to enjoy. When asked how he organizes those thoughts, he responded by explaining his “colander approach.” He rattles the thoughts around until one or two stick…and lets the rest go down the drain. While the prospect of a story line thought up of the King of horror himself going down the drain is terrifying, the concept is sound. When you find yourself overthinking, try to filter through your thoughts and identify the ones that are relevant in the moment, and let the other ones ‘go down the drain.’
Surely, kicking the habit of rehashing and second-guessing is easier said than done – especially after a major life event. A lot of our clients found that their pattern of overthinking only got worse after their DUI arrest. This is why our program Window of Clarity is an invaluable resource. The program teaches you how to start paying attention to the way you think. It helps you to shift your mindset to a more productive attitude, which allows you to recognize and replace judgment errors. With consistent practice you learn how to better focus on the task at hand and really experience life. So the next time you are hiking to a waterfall or taking in a Timbers game and stressful work or life thoughts begin to intrude, you can clear the clutter by running through your inner colander and live in the moment.