The end of the year is a great time to leave the old behind to make way for the new. In addition to goal, this can be the time to declutter, aka, purging the old to make way for the new.
Before you can throw old items away, it’s vital to start by decluttering your mind. If you look at why you keep papers, mementos, and the like, is because there is some emotional attachment to them, hence mindset.
If you’re hanging onto to clothes that don’t fit, or the ugly vase your mother gave you for Christmas, or the exercise bike you might get around to using, you don’t just have a problem with too much stuff. You have a problem with letting go of bad feelings, ill-founded assumptions, old grievances and future worries.
If it feels good to declutter your house, it feels even better to declutter your mind, and letting go of those the ‘emotional baggage’ we tend to carry around.
Here are some useful expert tips to make some space in your mind.
- Use mindfulness or meditation techniques:
You don’t have to do the full sitting on a cushion in a darkened room thing to benefit from meditation techniques. If you’re feeling overwhelmed, some simple breathing techniques can help you calm down and focus.
For a few minutes, focus only on your breathing and nothing else, such as the 4-7-8 rule (breathe in slowly for a count of 4, hold it for a count of 7, then slowly breathe out for a count of 8). Even a two-minute breathing practice will give you calm so you can think more clearly and start to working on letting go.
If your mind wanders or gets back into the worrying groove, you must put that aside and come back to focus on your breath. Taking a walk or, even, sitting outside brings calm but focus on the sounds you hear, what you see, what you feel (the sun or the breeze).
- Write it down
It can help to write down anything that’s on your mind. Once all those worries are down on paper, you can prioritize them and work out a plan to deal with them. You can also assess them to identify what’s essential and what isn’t. When you can see what’s important, you can focus your energy and free up some of that mental space!
- Stay in the present
Brooding over the past and worrying about the future take up a lot of space in your mind and achieves, precisely, nothing. Let go of regret over past mistakes or resentment of past slights and move on.
Keep your focus on what you can influence right here, right now. Journal about it, write a letter to the person or situation – but you burn it in the end to release those old thoughts and feelings.
Focus on what you can control right now – not the past or the future. Say a mantra to keep you focused, such as ‘stay in the present.’ Out minds need verbal prompts so this is a good practice to adopt.
- Do one thing at a time
Multitasking is not only overrated and inefficient, it also leads to greater anxiety, and you won’t do any one thing properly. Actually, our brains can not do two things at one time, so trying to depletes brain energy.
It’s best to focus on doing things methodically and thoroughly. As you finish one task, move onto the next. Listing tasks you want to accomplish will give you direction on where to go, but not trying to accomplish all at once. Smaller steps lead to bigger changes.
- Control all incoming data you take in
Every day we are bombarded by so much information – TV, news, social media websites, podcast, radio, YouTube, and the like. It can be overwhelming and addictive if your ‘not careful.
We talk about being available 24/7 and the 24-hour news cycle, but there is only one person who can control this: You.
You can choose to switch off your computer, smartphone, and tv and control the amount of data your brain is trying to process. You may have to start small, such as turning off your electronics for 15-30 minutes, then increase your time; at night or during meals, turn your phone off off. You can control how much information comes in, which will help you emotionally and physically.
Decluttering your mind will pay off in all sorts of ways you hadn’t imagined. You will be more productive, less stressed, and more motivated. Overall, you will feel more peaceful and confident you can handle anything that comes your way.
If you struggle with productivity or negativity in your life, reach out to get help. You can be in control of your life,