I write a lot about decluttering your home. I firmly believe that physical clutter can weigh us down mentally and spiritually. But lately I have been focusing on mental clutter. What the heck is mental clutter?
Mental clutter is anything that takes up space in your mental and spiritual space that is not pushing you towards a better life. Worries, negativity – all those thoughts that swirl around. I am an introvert so I spend a lot of time in my own head, and all that mental clutter was really impacting me.
I’ve been intentionally working on mentally decluttering this year, and I have narrowed it down to 5 areas. Your mental clutter make look a little different than mine, but I think these 5 tips to mentally declutter will get you started.
5 Tips To Mentally Declutter
Get rid of negative self-talk-
I’m a pretty realistic person, but that realism often cross the line into criticism and negative self-talk. I hate to be publicly embarrassed so when I do something stupid, I tend to play it over and over again in my mind. “That was so stupid. Can you imagine what other people thought?!” More than likely no one else thought a thing of it, and their thoughts aren’t still consumed with my perceived stupidity, but it doesn’t take me long to convince myself that I should never appear in public again.
All that secret shame and disappointment that we bottle up inside and pull out to sift through and beat ourselves up over needs to go. I have gone from psycho-analyzing myself to realizing that I am exactly the person I was created to be. Nothing is wrong with me. I’m not too fat to fulfill my purpose. My personality is exactly the way God intended it to be. It really boils down to learning to value and take care of yourself. When you catch yourself engaging in negative self-talk have some affirmations ready to combat those thoughts and feelings. One of my favorites is “I am in charge of how I feel, and today I am choosing happiness.” Save it on your phone screen if you need to!
Get rid of toxic people-
Toxic people don’t come with signs on their forehead. They can make you feel like you are crazy. Am I getting offended over nothing? It is vitally important to identify the toxic friends in your life and get them out of your circle! You need people in your boat who are rowing, not drilling holes. This HuffPo article perfectly articulates the anatomy of a toxic friend.
I’ve had to jettison a couple of toxic people from my life this year. They didn’t appear toxic on the surface. They posted lengthy insights into their daily devotions and loudly proclaimed how God was working in their lives. But once you peeled back that veneer they were critical, not supportive, and not at all living according to the beliefs they professed. Some people need to keep pushing you down to make themselves feel better. Pay attention. That kind of friendship is deadly to your spirit.
One of the best habits I have begun this year is daily journaling. I was very intentional when I initiated this practice because I didn’t want it to become another thing I HAD to do. I use a notebook with nice writing paper (a Leuchtturm1917) and a fountain pen I really enjoy writing with (a Lamy Safari extra fine point). This makes it feel like a special treat to write with tools I love! I make it a point to write every day, but I have zero expectations for how long the entry is or what it is about. Some days I pour my heart out onto the paper, but some days I merely document what happened that day or how the weather was. The point of this is to get any thoughts out of my head, not to give myself another project I HAVE to complete.
I have found journaling to be relaxing, and it is also interesting to look back on what I have written. I often compete my entry at night as a part of my routine, so my mind is clear before I go to bed.
Live your own life –
An easy way to quickly fill your mind and soul with jealousy, self-doubt, and uncertainty is to worry about what other people are doing. Focus on living your own, best life and don’t worry about what other people are doing. Something my grandpa has told me since I was little is that there will always be someone with more than you, and there will always be someone with less.
This step may translate into unfollowing some Facebook accounts, or even setting form boundaries with people in your life. If something is causing you to feel less than adequate or even jealous, get rid of it. You need to put that energy into developing your own character into someone who is content with their own life.
Be intentional with your entertainment –
It stands to reason that what goes in must come out, so I believe it is important to pay attention to your entertainment choices. I love mindless, entertaining TV for a stress reliever, but when you are watching nothing but drama and people who don’t have the same values as you it can start to be a drain. I’m challenging myself to balance The Real Housewives with podcasts and documentaries that a actually enrich my life.
I make it a point not to watch the evening news. Its not that I don’t want to be informed, but 30 minutes of current events can be extremely negative and send me into brain overload. Instead I read several sources online, or get a condensed update from Alexa.
Maybe too much HGTV is making you discontent with your house. Maybe too many current events shows are making you feel hopeless. Nothing says you can’t watch TV, just be intentional with what you are consuming.
Mental Declutter – positive vs. negative
Mental decluttering really boils down to getting rid of the negative to make room for the positive. That sounds great, doesn’t it? It takes some time and intentional habit changing, but it is totally possible.