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Mental Clutter - Overcommitment, Misplaced Priorities, Movie in Your Head


The best things can begin with a thought and die with a thought. You’ve heard it before, our thoughts have amazing power over the outcome of our life. I know, it’s cliche, but, it really does make sense. Just think about it, if you’re constantly thinking about something, does it grow larger in your life or grow smaller? See! The right thoughts can bring you to heights you never imagined, the wrong ones can bury you. This is one area where you truly have complete control. Be deliberate. Be brave!

So, the good news is that if you have started the process of cleaning your physical space, you’ve already started the process of addressing mental clutter! Which...is a good thing, because this next steps will cause you to go even deeper than those scary closets!

1. Identify

Give thought to what your mental clutter may be. What consuming thoughts aren’t in accord with the life you desire? What decisions are you putting off? What movie are you playing in your head that really isn’t true or impedes your happiness? Are you striving for the elusive perfection, in yourself, others or situations? Where are you managing image instead of character? Waiting for things to make sense? Drama…need I say more? Comparison? Ugh! Are you hanging on to grudges, anger, fear, un-forgiveness, the past?

2. Prepare

Sit in silence, close your eyes, and try to clear your mind. I pay close attention to my breathing, trying to inhale to the count of six, and slowly exhale to the same count. You can use a mantra of six words that will help your count and put you into a positive and accepting position.

3. Identify and record

Once you feel calm, ask yourself some of the questions listed above. As thoughts pour in, write them down. Return to sitting still with your eyes closed. Repeat the process until all those invasive thoughts are on paper and your mind feels quiet.

4. Group

Categorize your clutter into groups based on how you intend to process them. Group them into categories like: I can let it go right now, I can research and likely solve the problem, I can change my attitude/opinion about it, I can make amends, I can confront it, I can seek help to change what I'm unable to change myself.

5. Plan

Write a to-do list of the next steps you can take to reduce or completely get rid of your distractions. Once you have solidified your to-do list, open your calendar and schedule all time-sensitive actions for a specific date and time. Treat this like any other project: you need clear direction for your actions and a timeline for when to take the next step.

6. Maintain for life

Mental clutter will always challenge you, but you can take steps to prevent it from building up. Perhaps keep a journal where you offload the clutter so you can let it go. Learn the physical cues that tell you your outward space is becoming chaotic, it is likely that your inner space if feeling it too. Counter every negative thought with something positive and cultivate habits that help you to identify when mental clutter starts. When this happens, choose to focus your attention on something meaningful to you. DON’T keep lists of wrongs! Once you’ve resolved an issue, let it go. If you have forgiven someone, try never to mention the transgression again.

Only you can clear the distractions and choose to focus on what truly matters to you. Let go of the things that don’t work and embrace that which has been waiting for you!