Decluttering your mind

Most of us are familiar with the benefits of decluttering our physical space, but what if we could declutter our experiences and thoughts in the same way as we do with our clothes? Alessia Gandolfo offers some great advice

This is an edited version of an article that originally appeared on Happiful 

We’re continually solicited by people, social media, and society in general, to always keep our minds entertained – but how much of this is intentional, and how much do we do by default? Lowering the volume of external noise, and nurturing a calmer mind, can help us to feel centred, build self-trust and make better decisions. Here are five ways you can get started.

Create white space in your calendar

Take a look at all the commitments you’ve made this week. Which ones truly ‘spark joy’ and add value to your day, and which feel like an obligation? If you reduced them to the bare essentials, which would you keep?

Seeing white space in our calendars may seem scary, but this is often what we need to tap in to our own real desires; with an experience that’s intentional and meaningful, the satisfaction is so much higher.

Practise getting bored

When was the last time you felt bored, and you didn’t reach for a distraction immediately?

Social media is probably the easiest way we fill that void; we spend an average of two hours a day scrolling, staring at a screen. Next time you feel the need to reach for your ‘phone, simply observe your craving and stay still. Breathe through the discomfort of not knowing what to do with yourself, and notice your surroundings and the flow of your thoughts.

By sitting with the discomfort for few minutes, you’ll notice how the craving and stress gradually decreases. You could use this time to check-in with yourself and how you feel. You might realise you haven’t taken a break in a while and need some fresh air.

Do a brain dump

Sometimes the clutter in our minds is so loud that it’s difficult to fall asleep, or focus on the task at hand. A great tool to use in these cases is to grab a pen and paper, and write down anything crossing our minds. I like to write ‘brain dump’ in the centre of the page, and then let all the thoughts come out in no specific order.

Once you witness the content of your brain, you can decide what’s urgent and what you can postpone to when you feel calmer.

Get out of your mind and into your body

Moving our attention to the body, and reconnecting to our senses, is probably the quickest way to create space in our mind and gain clarity so, next time you’re confused and unable to think clearly, try one of these:

  • Get up and take a dance break.
  • Go for a walk around the block, which is better if close to nature.
  • Take five deep breaths, and exhale from your mouth.
  • Exercise, even just for 10 minutes.
  • Sing out loud.
  • Open the window and feel the fresh air on your skin.

Focus on creation over consumption

The amount of information we’re exposed to can be incredibly overwhelming to process, while the time spent being creative can lead us back into our natural flow.

Creativity is a central part of being human, and its effects on health have been proven countless times. While I’m not implying that we should all become professional artists, dedicating time to getting creative – instead of watching TV – can help us express our emotions and find peace in our minds.

In daily life we can be spoiled with opportunities to learn and have new experiences, and that’s awesome – but turning down the external volume and tuning-in to ourselves can allow us space for a real desire to emerge, making our lives more spacious, spontaneous, and intentional.

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