Just like your bedroom closet, work desk, or kitchen junk drawer, your mind can also become cluttered and difficult to manage. Mental clutter is the result of many of life’s influences and experiences but it is predominately derived from guilt, regret, worry, and fear. These feeling and behaviors take a toll on one’s psyche and can make it difficult to see the world, and oneself, clearly.
One group of people who are particularly familiar with mental clutter are mothers. Due to the everyday demands of motherhood, how can one not become overwhelmed with worry and fear? For those looking to do a little mental spring cleaning, here are four suggestions for how to clear out those negative thoughts and gain a better sense of peace and focus.
Limit Your Screen Time
More than 60 percent of Americans check their smartphone within the first five minutes of waking up. This in and of itself is not a huge concern, but considering that waking up to a news feed of tragedies can kick the fear and worry into overdrive, taking your attention away from your family and away from the things in life that you do have control over in the here and now.
Social media also consumes one of the most precious resources of a mother: time. Time for yourself, time for your children, time for more important and relevant aspects of life. If you give yourself an internet access limit, say two hours a day, then you force yourself to choose what is really important and limit the noise that comes with too much information. With a time limit in place, make every moment count and use a device like the Samsung Galaxy S6, which has a speedy processor for high performance and won’t allow for lag time.
Limit Stimulant Consumption
In moderation, stimulants like caffeine can help you focus and gain mental clarity, but habitual excessive use of stimulants can have the opposite effect. Caffeine in particular can make one feel irritable and jittery when too much is consumed and if your body has developed a dependency on the substance, these symptoms become worse when deprived, causing you to lose focus and feel-foggy-headed. Though giving up caffeine forever is a lot to ask, a week-long detox from the stimulant will allow you to consume less when you return to the habit.
Clear Out Physical Clutter
At work and at home, a cluttered space makes for a cluttered mind. Clean up your wardrobe, desk, bedroom, office, and house to gain some clarity. A clean work space encourages productivity and organization, as well as discourages procrastination. For moms who work at home, this is doubly important since the work and home space are the same. Begin by eliminating anything that is not essential, create piles and categories for the rest, then assign each category a proper place. If you tidy up each day, the clutter won’t become unbearable.
Live in the Present
The human mind generates tens of thousands of completely unconnected thoughts every day. These thoughts bounce between past and future and are spurred by worry, fear and regret. Focusing on what is right in front of you, on the task or individual within your immediate grasp, centers the mind and allows you to exist in the moment and make the most of it.
Intention & Effort Can Make the Difference
An unquiet mind can prevent you from truly enjoying your life. Don’t let guilt, regret, worry and fear command your behaviors and mental outlook. By limiting your internet exposure and stimulant intake, cleaning up your physical space and focusing on the moment, you can declutter your head space and make room for what’s really important.