The world today is filled with an excess of information and stress. People today struggle to maintain their families, work, social life, projects and activities; it is a hard act to juggle.It is difficult to take a moment to just breathe. Our brains become stressed with too much overstimulation by friends, family and the media. As spring approaches, many families begin to “spring clean” around their homes, what about Spring Cleaning for your mind?
It is important to take a moment to de clutter our minds every now and then so we don’t become overwhelmed. Clutter, or mental noise as it is sometimes classified as, can prevent us from focusing on our goals. This can prevent us from achieving on what truly matters and keep us disconnected from the big picture, and from each other.
We are forced to deal with mental noise everyday. Whether it is the constant thoughts going on in our head or the numerous electronic devices we have accessible all at once, our minds are cluttered and with information. So how can we protect ourselves from the plethora of mental noise in today’s society?
Here are some helpful tools in ‘Spring Cleaning for your mind”
1. Just Breathe. Incorporating deep breathing and meditation can help slow down your mind and let you focus on whatever goal you may have. It is a simple and effective technique that can help you lower stress. Utilizing this technique daily can lower your overall stress levels and help you focus on your tasks.
2. Sleep. Sleep is our bodies’ restorative process. It is important to make sure you are getting enough sleep daily so you can have enough energy to focus throughout the day. Your sleep pattern (or lack thereof) can affect your outlook and productivity. Be aware of your sleep pattern and make changes if necessary.
3. Take a walk. Getting outside as the weather gets nicer is a great way to get your stressful thoughts off your mind. Physical activity is shown to clear the mind. It doesn’t matter what activity as long as it is physical. Outside and nature can help as well. That old motto “Take time to smell the roses’ really does hold true. Our connection to nature is sometimes eliminated due to work and home life, if we can incorporate some outside time we can increase our level of calm.
4. Watch less TV. The television is a huge contributor to the over stimulation of our brains. Whether you watch the news, reality, comedy, or drama programs, they are filled with information that can clutter our brains. TV fills your head with extra noise that is unnecessary. If you can lessen the amount of TV you watch daily you may notice that your mind will have time to quiet on its own.
5. Make a list. Write down a ‘to-do list” of what needs to be done and cross off one thing at a time. Just like taking notes in school helped you remember your homework or what you had learned that day, taking notes for yourself will increase your productivity and the likelihood that you will not forget a task that needs to be done. Once your list is made, pick ONE task and complete it.
6. Go slow. Society has become “professional multi-taskers” which is a blessing and a curse at the same time. If we take a moment to stop and do one task at a time, one idea at a time, it can help us focus our full attention. When we are focusing fully on one objective it is more likely that we will complete it and complete it well. Your mind will be less harried and your finished product (and maybe your boss too!) will thank you.
7. De-clutter your surroundings. Besides de cluttering our mind we need to de-clutter our environment as well. Many people have a “junk drawer or closet” that is filled with unnecessary objects. Reducing our visual clutter can help clear our minds as well. Homes or offices with neat lines and clear desks help reduce the level of stress on a daily basis. Ever walk into your home and see clutter and become instantly stressed? If you eliminate the visual clutter it will occupy less of your mind.
8. Talk to someone. It can be your significant other, family member, friend or therapist, talking to someone can help eliminate some of the mental stress in our lives. Unloading our thoughts by talking can help our thoughts become more coherent so we can better understand ourselves.
9. Incorporate new activities. If you are creative sometimes making something artistic or creative can help focus your mind. If you are not creative, maybe trying something new may help you focus. Utilizing new hobbies and activities pinpoint new neuron connections in our brains and increase the release of neuro transmitters. These neuro transmitters promote good feelings and help us to soothe and calm ourselves naturally. Trying something new may increase the release of these hormones.
10. Write it out. Journaling is a very powerful tool to help us de clutter our minds. We can utilize journaling as a venting technique or a list making technique. Either way it is beneficial for us to write down our thoughts or tasks to identify what needs to get done.
Organizing and de cluttering your mind is a great way to start off the spring season. Make sure to take time daily to utilize these techniques and empty your mind. Notice how much you can or cannot handle and try not to put too much on your plate at one time. As busy professionals juggling family, home and work, this may be difficult, however, your peers and bosses will appreciate the more focused you in the long run.
Focusing and de cluttering our brains can help us to be the best version of ourselves. Begin to notice your feelings associated with different types of clutter so you can deal with those feelings effectively. I f the clutter is still too overwhelming; don’t hesitate to seek professional help from your healthcare practitioner. Getting your mental noise under control will help you be a calmer and happier person overall.
KC Putterman LMHC,HC