Feeling Overwhelmed? 4 Ways to Declutter Your Mind
Feeling Overwhelmed? Is your mind so cluttered you can't think clearly? The daily grind can get extremely stressful. Left unchecked anxiety can overwhelm your mind, and can eventually make you emotionally, physically and mentally exhausted.
Little by little, anxiety and stress can take over. Feeling overwhelmed can be the cause of missed appointments, struggling to meet deadlines, inefficient working and strained relationships, to the point of exhaustion. You may even feel like there is nothing left at the end of the day for family and friends, or more importantly, yourself.
It’s a Catch 22 situation: to destress and recharge, you need some down time. But you can’t get any personal time because you’re too busy working, getting all the family chores done, and stressing about not being able to achieve it all.
We’re here to help. Here are four proven ways to overcome stress and anxiety. Each one is easy to do, but the trick is to make it a daily habit. Choose the one that best suits you, and stick with it. Make that commitment to yourself to declutter your mind every day.
Write in a journal
Did you have a diary growing up where you wrote all your deepest thoughts? Get back to that habit again. Studies say that writing in a journal has numerous benefits for your mental health. Most importantly journaling helps you identify problems and fears, and work through your challenges. It gives you a platform to organise your thoughts, and simplifying them. The process of journalling often resolves issues circling your mind, or makes them less overwhelming.
The important point of writing in a journal is that it involves using a pen to write on paper. According to psychologists, writing by hand has a clarifying effect on your brain. The act of writing helps you focus on the task at hand, shifting your attention away from anxious thoughts, where the act of typing on a keyboard or phone doesn’t produce the same therapeutic effect.
If you’ve never written in a journal before, it’s easy to pick up the habit. Try these tips:
- Either set aside an allocated amount of time per day or commit to two or three pages a day, solely for journaling.
- Try to do it at the same time every day. This makes it easier to establish the habit.
- There are no rules in your journal. Let your thoughts flow without worrying about grammar, just write and let your emotions and thoughts out with no judgement and no expectations.
- Don’t be tempted to re-read your old entries. Stay present in the current moment by completing your daily journal entry, then close the book and leave it in the past.
Read: How Do You Balance and Unblock Your Chakras?
Just five minutes of meditation per day is enough to restore inner peace, according to the experts. When you meditate, you usually begin with abdominal breathing exercises. Breathwork alone has been clinically proven to directly ease anxiety. It lowers your level of cortisol (the stress hormone), blood pressure, and heart rate.
Equally important is the ability of meditation to help you “detach” from anxiety. While meditating, over time you learn to control your mind, keeping your thoughts in the present. It can help make you calm amidst stressful situations and get a new perspective on life. But remember, meditation is a “practice” not a “perfect”. There is no right way of doing it, so do what feels good for you. Start with 5-10minutes, and work up from there.
Want to start meditating? Here are some apps to help you get started:
- Insight Timer - The #1 free app for sleep, anxiety and stress with more than 100k guided meditations
- Breathe—Gives you at least five minutes of daily guided meditation
- Headspace—Has personalised meditation techniques for calmness, wellness, and sleep
- Calm—Helps you relax and sleep well. (The mindfulness app’s an award winner, too!)
Japanese decluttering guru Marie Kondo is definitely on to something. Removing clutter from your immediate environment doesn’t only make your home look better. It’s also great for your health, as cleaning is great exercise for the heart and body.
The mental health benefits of cleaning up are also really important. Running the vacuum cleaner, mopping the floor, washing the dishes, etc., give you a sense of control over your environment and, consequently, a sense of calm. Feeling good about your home, with a sense of pride is good for the soul. On the flipside, an untidy home has been found to aggravate depression and limit the brain’s functions. Simply put, cluttered surroundings lead to a cluttered mind.
Read: How to Clear Negative Energy From Your Home
Make a must-do list
As you write down your list of things to do, you actually take the chaos of tasks off your mind and onto paper. But that’s that easy part. The hard part comes when you actually have to do the tasks on your list. That’s when your to-do list becomes a when-I-have-time list and then very little gets done.
So do this instead: create a must-do list. From your big to-do list, move a few things over to a must-do list. These are non-negotiable tasks that you will commit to accomplishing by the end of the day. If you only have time and energy to do one, do just one. If you can do more, that’s great!
Do this every day, and you will be surprised at how quickly you can reduce that big to-do list . Even more importantly, actually accomplishing the tasks can ease your mind of stress, and make you feel like you are really achieving.
Feeling overwhelmed can be stressful, so try one or more of these tips. If you can get into an organised practice of daily de-cluttering, it could be exactly what you need to ease your anxiety and calm your mind.