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Mental Decluttering

Sep 07, 2023

Once upon a time, not too long ago, there were always many things on my mind. Since work occupied most of my day, my thoughts were usually related to work. There were endless times I reminded myself to do certain things for patients. My mind would jump from one thing to another, oftentimes without a particular sequence. Thoughts about how many patients I had to see, what kind of patients I had to encounter, what treatment to choose, how I was going to finish my day at a decent hour, etc. Those thoughts were also mixed with thoughts related to home. What to do with the kids after school, how I could make use of the time I had with my family, what to do for dinner…

It was as if you opened up my brain and all these thoughts just came spilling out, overflowing the space, without any organized manner. The mental clutter was messy, to the point of overwhelming. It was hard for me to focus, or choose what to focus on. Needless to say, as my mind was packed with so many different ideas and sentences, it was a challenge to focus or concentrate. The result was decrease in efficiency and productivity. The other effect of mental clutter was the confusion. It was difficult to navigate through a sea of random thoughts, just as someone is difficult to walk on a path full of plants, rocks and garbage.

Our mind is an amazing storage space. Just like a physical storage space, we have to organize our mind, to get rid of some unhelpful or useless thoughts, so that we can make room to focus on what is truly important to us.

To declutter your mental space is to keep things simple. The first step is to set your priorities. Think about what you really want in life. Think about your values. Beware of the “shiny objects” – not everything new and attractive is good for you. Whatever sentences in your head that are not in alignment with your beliefs and values, acknowledge them and let go.

Journaling helps. It is easy to get your thoughts all tangled up if you are just thinking about them. If you are writing them out and reading them out loud, it puts things in a more tangible perspective. Journaling also serves as a reminder for yourself what is truly important to you.

Do one thing at a time. Give yourself the time and space to focus on one thing and just do that. You will be more efficient and will have better quality work. Do no multi-task. Multi-tasking is not a thing – it is simply your brain switching from one task to another rapidly. That accelerates mental fatigue and hinders focus. That also promotes chaos in your mind when you are trying hard to organize it.

Sometimes it helps to take a break. A pause from what you are doing. Just step away for a moment. A break for your mind helps you refocus what is important to you. It also helps you see how to declutter even more.

Setting aside time to meditate daily helps you with organizing your mental space. Be in tune with your surroundings. Calm your thoughts. Breathe. It is easier to organize your mind when you are at peace with yourself.

Make a decision and go with it. I am not saying to make a reckless call. If there are two very similar choices in terms of the pros and cons, just pick one and move on. Going back and forth without a decision clutters your mind with thoughts about what decision to make and how to make the decision.

Decluttering and reorganizing your physical environment also helps with mental decluttering. A decluttered space can generate more calmness and peace. It is easier for you to focus on what is important.

Getting adequate sleep also helps with clearing your mind. Daily exercise also has similar effects. These are also healthy habits to practice. Your physical health and mental health are connected. If you are able to optimize your physical health, your mental health will also improve.

Mental decluttering helps you focus on what is really important to you. It simplifies things and keeps you organized in your mind. Focus on the helpful thoughts and purge the unhelpful ones. Your mind will be at peace. You will feel better. You will be more efficient.

Are you ready to stop feeling stressed and overwhelmed? Are you ready to have more time to do what you want?


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