Often we find ourselves thinking the same thoughts over and over again, going through the same to-do lists, worrying about the same problems. We get caught in the moment and we find it hard to stop, yet clearing the mental clutter doesn’t have to be difficult. Next time you find your thoughts going in circles, try one of these easy ways to declutter your mind.
Simple breathing meditation
Fritz Pearls, the founder of Gestalt therapy, said that “fear is excitement without the breath”. If breathing has the power to transform fear, it can no doubt help you get out of worrying, repetitive thinking and other unhelpful patterns. Take a few deep breaths focusing on the air coming in and going out of your body. Your mind will stray and that’s ok. As soon as you notice, gently return your focus to your breath. You’ll notice a calming effect very quickly.
In her book, ‘The Artist’s Way’, Julia Cameron recommends writing three pages longhand as a daily creative practice. You don’t have to be an artist to benefit from this habit. Write whatever comes to your mind without editing and without immediately re-reading what you’ve just written. At first you’ll notice that you’re writing the same things over and over again, just the way you’re thinking. Eventually you’ll gain more clarity and you’ll see the old patterns dissolving and new insights coming up.
If the word ‘art’ scares you, let me assure you that you don’t need any artistic abilities to benefit from art journaling. It’s just another way to connect with your inner world and it’s all about the process not outcome. You can express your thoughts and feelings through drawing, painting, collage or anything else that you feel drawn to and no one other than you ever needs to see your art.
Nobody likes a person that complains all the time, but sometimes it helps to talk things out. Find a trusted friend and share your thoughts. Choose someone who will listen deeply and show understanding, rather than a person who’d try offering one solution after the other. Once you clear up your mental space, your own insights will start flowing in and you’ll be ready to hear other perspectives, too.
Walking, running, swimming all help you take the focus off your thoughts and concentrate on what your body is doing. Activities with repetitive motion are great and can turn into a form of meditation, but tennis, games and team sports can also help you shift your attention.
These are just a handful of tools to help you release your mental clutter. Try the one you feel most drawn to or all of them and see what works for you.
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