A cluttered mind can feel like a messy, confusing place; where it’s hard to think clearly or make a decision. Your thoughts can end up floating around everywhere; like clothes strewn about in a closet ~ they're in there, however they haven’t been tended to yet. We’ve all experienced this feeling, some more often than others. It’s nearly impossible to remain focused while your thoughts are scattered about. When our mind is in this scattered place, it causes us unnecessary stress and anxiety. Unnecessary because we have the ability to clean up this mess in our minds. Believe it or not, it is possible to unclutter your cluttered mind.
Here are a few simple, proven ways to help you do so:
Spending a few minutes concentrating on your breath is one of the most effective ways to help bring mental clarity. It's also one of the easiest because your breath is always with you. Breathing can be done anytime, anywhere. We spend most of our time breathing unconsciously from our chest. When we breathe deep from our belly, we tend to remain more aware of our breathing. It is this deep breathing that helps bring in the most oxygen, helping to contribute to feelings of calm and clarity. To help you focus on breathing deep from your belly, try gently placing your hand on or near your belly button noticing the rise and fall with each breath. Your breath is a fantastic tool to help you declutter your mind. For maximum benefits, allow yourself a few minutes each hour to breathe deeply. Even if you don’t practice deep breathing regularly, you can still use it during those times when you are having difficulty concentrating or making a decision.
MAKE A LIST
If you find your mind is racing with to-do’s or all those things you don’t want to forget, take out a pen and paper, sit down and make a list. Making a list is a great way to not only clear your mind of all those thoughts, it will help you to prioritize all those to-do’s, while ensuring that you don’t forget all those things you want to remember.
This is what I know about journaling, it helps to rid the mind of chatter and get to the heart of the matter. When your brain feels cluttered with consuming thoughts, it can be helpful to write them down or type them out. (It doesn’t matter whether you write your journal or type your journal.) Doing either will help you to make sense of everything and will usually give you a fresh perspective. It also gives all those thoughts swirling around in your mind, another place to live. And you don’t have to keep your pages afterwards, the power of journaling is in the act of journaling, not in keeping the journal. So feel free to tear up, shred or delete your passages, if it helps you feel more confident in keeping your innermost private thoughts, private.
You might not believe me, but this one really does work! Whenever I need to clear my mind, one of my favorite ways to do so, is to dance. Dancing helps to release feel good hormones, in particular dopamine. The release of dopamine benefits us in many ways, one of which is to boost our focus and concentration. Plus as an added bonus you’ll also receive all the physical benefits that dance has for the body and it will also help you to reduce stress and tension. So go ahead, put on some good music and bust a move! Your mind (and body) will thank you for it.
WALK IN NATURE
We all know the physical benefits of walking. Do you also know the mental benefits? When we spend time (20-30min) walking in nature, we help to improve our mood and clear our mind. It can also improve creative thinking and effectively reduce stress and depression. All you need is a good pair of walking shoes and beautiful place to walk. Nature surrounds us. Even if you live in a large city, you can find a nearby park, trail or maybe even a waterfront. When you’re feeling like a scatter-brain, put on your walking shoes and enjoy all that Mother Nature has to offer!
There’s a reason why adult coloring books have become so popular and can now be found everywhere, it’s because they work! They give us over-worked, stressed-out, way-to-busy adults, an outlet to be creative and let our imaginations soar. Studies show that creative activities such as coloring (or doodling or drawing), help to relax the brain and provide us the opportunity to focus only on what we are creating on the page before us. So take out those pencil crayons, coloring books or sketch pads, and become immersed in your creativity! You will feel more relaxed and your mind will feel like it can make sense of things again, after allowing your creative juices to flow.
TURN OFF DEVICES
Turn off devices? Yes! Commit to an amount of time each and every day to be free from your technology. That means no phone, no tablet, no computer and no iPad. Can you do it? I know this is a challenge in our technology obsessed and addicted culture. You might not realize it, but all that beeping, pinging, vibrating and ringing that we hear all day long distracts us and contributes to our over-loaded brains. Make a commitment to giving yourself a time-out from all your devices for a few minutes each day. It will help to clear your mind and guess what? All those messages and emails won’t go anywhere, I promise they will sit there waiting patiently for your return. Oh yeah, and this also means turn off your T.V. as well!
DECLUTTER YOUR SPACE
Whether you are conscious of it or not, the stuff that surrounds you affects the way you feel. When we spend time in a cluttered space, it’s easy for our mind to feel cluttered as well. When you clean up and clear out the space you are in, you help to clean up and clear out all those thoughts hanging around in your mind. You help to bring clarity and focus. For tips on decluttering the space around you, you can read my blog called, Declutter Your Space.
You have more power over your thoughts than you may realize. The next time your mind feels cluttered; like there's a tornado of thoughts swirling around up there, stop and allow yourself a few minutes to put one of these techniques into practice. Those few minutes will pay off in a big way when your mind feels calm, focused and at ease.