In today’s world, our minds are always under siege by different stimuli coming at us all at once and competing for our attention. We are surrounded by noise and flashing lights as we look from the computer to phone and television screens. We’re bombarded by information as we go about our day trying to remember everything we need to do.
Many times we feel like our brains are on overload, and there’s not enough time to get done everything we need to do. It can be stressful, depressing, exhausting, and overwhelming.
When you are obliged to divide your attention, your thoughts can become scattered and chaotic, and it can be incredibly challenging to pay attention to the task at hand. When your brain feels like it’s on overload, it is necessary to take a step back and clear away the clutter.
Why Should I Make An Effort to Clear My Mind?
Although you might think that by doing this, you’re daydreaming or wasting time taking a break can lower your level of stress and help you be more productive and creative. When your mind is clear, it isn’t constantly getting bogged down by worries and distractions. When you aren’t weighed down by your thoughts, you have more energy to help you focus on the things that matter most.
Clearing your mind also helps your mind function more efficiently. Think of your brain as the ultimate computer. When you have a lot of unnecessary apps running in the background on your computer or smartphone, it can affect the speed and smoothness of the computer’s operations. It is the same with your brain.
When your brain is full of things that are not of any relevance to you in the present, it can slow your brain function down and not let you perform at your best. Clearing your mind and taking a little time to recharge can give you the boost you need to get back at the top of your game.
Clearing your mind can also help elevate your mood. It can help clear out the negative voices in your head that are dragging you down. When you feel less frazzled, you also tend to be more patient with yourself as well as with others.
What Are Some Ways to Clear Your Mind?
There are a lot of ways that you can clear your mind. Some are incredibly simple, while others are a little more complex, and you will need to take time and effort to master them. The good news is, even if you haven’t mastered the more complicated techniques for clearing your mind, you can still begin reaping some benefits of these techniques.
Unclutter Your Surroundings
Uncluttering your surroundings is one of the easiest ways to clear your mind, but its simplicity doesn’t make it any less valid. If you have a work desk, take a break from what you are doing, and get rid of unnecessary clutter from your office, if your home folding laundry or doing the dishes are also ways to declutter.
When your environment is uncluttered, it can help your mind feel less cluttered because you react to your situation. When there’s a lot of things in your environment it provides a lot of unnecessary stimuli. Research has shown that people with messy desks are less efficient at work and more easily frustrated. They also tend to have less energy and are less persistent when they are facing challenges at work.
Along with providing a lot of unnecessary stimuli, having clutter around you signals your brain that there’s always another job to do. You may feel like your time is getting consumed by an ever-growing to-do list, which can be overwhelming and depressing. Even if you are making progress, you may feel like you’re not making enough progress and that you will always be a step behind.
You don’t need to spend hours decluttering just take about 15 minutes out of your day to put things back where they belong or get rid of stuff you don’t need. Focus on what is clearly visible, don’t organize desk drawers or filing cabinets until after your desk and the visible workspace is clear. Below are some ways to start uncluttering your workspace and, consequently, your headspace.
- Put things back in their designated places.
- File any paperwork that you don’t need at present.
- Get rid of broken items that don’t work anymore.
- Judge whether an item is still useful, if not toss it.
- Decide how much you need. (Do you need multiple boxes of paper clips, or will one do?)
In today’s highly connected world, we are constantly getting a stream of information coming at us. Social Media notifications, email notifications, texts, clickbait are all distractions when we are trying to focus our attention on a particular task.
According to the New York Post, on average, Americans checks their phone once every 12 minutes or nearly 80 times a day! Another survey showed that adult social media users across age brackets, check their social media a minimum of 10 times a day! A recent study showed that even the presence of a smartphone reduces the mind’s ability to function and focus effectively.
While technology is a useful tool when you use it constantly, it can become an unhealthy obsession. It reduces your ability to concentrate for a sustained period of time, disrupts sleep, and leads to procrastination. It also hinders you from having meaningful connections with those around you.
Although it is unrealistic to suggest that you abandon technology completely, being aware of how much time you spend using it and making an effort to reduce that time can increase your cognitive performance as well as your ability to empathize with others.
There are many different ways you can unplug from technology. Something as simple as banning smartphones from the dinner table or bedroom can help you unplug for a little while. Banning smartphones from the dinner table gives you time to separate from work or school and help you connect with your family members and touch base about their day and how they’re feeling.
Avoid Blue Light Pollution
The light from your phone screen disrupts healthy sleep patterns. Not only does the light disrupt you, but when you’re busy browsing social media or reading articles, a few minutes can turn into an hour or more and take away from sleeping time.
Taking a walk without your phone can help you disconnect from daily stresses and give you a heightened awareness of the present and the world around you. You might notice something you haven’t before, like a garden of brightly colored flowers or a beautiful sky above you.
If you have a job where you depend on technology to get work done, you can still unplug a little. There are apps you can get that will block notifications for a set period of time. By reducing the occurrence of notifications, you’re not constantly being bombarded with irrelevant information while you are trying to focus on something. If you have a work phone, turn off your cell phone and tell people to call the work number if they need to contact you during the workday.
When you unplug, it also allows you to spend time listening to your own thoughts and feelings, and may even provide you with some valuable insights into your own life. Taking a little time for yourself can also make you feel less put upon by others, which will help both with your own mental state and in your interactions with other people.
Deep breathing is a great way to reduce stress and prompts your mind to calm down. The great thing about deep breathing is that you can do it anywhere, and you don’t need any special tools. Deep breathing is sometimes called abdominal breathing or diaphragmatic breathing.
It involves inhaling deeply and letting that air fill your stomach until your stomach expands. When your stomach has fully expanded, you pause and then slowly exhale. Repeat the same action several times, and you’ll find your mind and body begin to relax.
When you focus only on your breathing, it allows you to detach yourself from stresses in your life for a time. The key to deep breathing is to be aware of your breath. Focus on it going in and out of your body. Pay attention to how it feels and sounds and discipline yourself to only focus on the experience of breathing.
When you practice deep breathing, your focus becomes your body rather than your anxieties. Deep breathing is a key element in any type of meditation. Still, even on its own without the addition of other meditation practices, deep breathing has remarkable health benefits for both your body and mind. Below are some key health benefits of deep breathing.
- Lower heart rate
- Decrease blood pressure
- Ease muscle tension
- Increase oxygen flow to your brain and elicit a state of calmness
- Restore focus
Write Down Your Thoughts
When your mind feels crowded with too many thoughts, a great way to reduce the clutter is to write those thoughts out. You can do it in a notebook or on a word processor on the computer. There is no specific benefit of one over the other.
Some people like to feel the physical experience of putting pen to paper while others prefer to type and have the words appear on the screen. The method is unimportant. It’s merely a matter of personal preference. The important thing is to get those thoughts out there.
Different people may use writing in different ways. Some people will use writing as a way of stating what they’re feeling at the moment. If they’re angry, or depressed, or concerned they write those feelings out as they are feeling them. They vent their feelings on paper so that they can get it out of them and make room for what they need to focus on.
Other people may choose to use writing as a method of problem-solving. They write down the problem on paper, write down what’s causing or aggravating the problem, and then start brainstorming and listing possible solutions to the problem or alternatives. When they find one or two that can work, they can then take action to resolve the issue.
Still, other people use writing as a way of organizing their thoughts. A practical example of this type of writing is creating a to-do list of goals you would like to accomplish that day. A less concrete example would be those who practice stream-of-consciousness writing. This type of writing still helps organize thoughts by assisting the person to pick up on their thought patterns and later reflect on them.
Writing As A Form of Meditation
Whatever type of writing you choose to do, it still serves the same purpose, to empty your mind of excess thoughts that are distracting you and causing you to lose clarity. However, if you decide to try writing out your thoughts, there are certain things you should avoid. You shouldn’t worry about spelling, grammar, or writing in complete sentences. You also should avoid analyzing what you write while you’re doing it.
Writing is a very powerful and effective way to clear your mind. Even if you throw out the paper or push delete once you finished typing, the very act of putting words down is enough to help. Through writing, you can give your thoughts a place to go instead of taking up space in your brain that you need for other purposes.
Get Out of Your Comfort Zone
Neurobiological studies have shown that novelty enhances brain function because it offers new stimuli for the brain to process. When you have new experiences, your brain learns new things and makes new connections. As your mind builds new relationships, your ability to think and process more complex thoughts and perform more complex tasks also increases.
Not only can you process more complex thoughts and learn new things, but it increases your brain’s learning capability. While this sounds like you’re cluttering your mind more, rather than clearing it, the opposite is true. When your brain is able to process more complex thoughts, it increases its efficiency and streamlines the process so you can complete tasks quickly.
As you complete tasks, fewer things are weighing down on your brain and competing for your attention. As a result, you feel less overwhelmed and more accomplished, and this reduces your stress and gives you more energy for other things you enjoy. It reduces the noise in your head, so you don’t feel so overstimulated.
Novelty doesn’t have to be a significant shift in your daily life. If you are in the habit of taking walks try going a different route. Instead of going to the same coffee shop and getting the same drink, try a new place or a new drink. This change will stimulate your senses and sharpen your mind by merely offering your mind a unique experience to process.
Another way you can use novelty to your advantage is by taking a class or starting a new hobby. Not only will it stimulate your brain to make new connections, but it will also take your mind off of other things for a while. It’s a great way to refresh your brain and may even help you look at familiar things in new ways or from a different perspective and help with creative problem-solving.
Take Care of Tasks Weighing Down On Your Mind
Sometimes the best way to clear your mind is by taking action. It takes a lot of time and energy to brood and let thoughts stew in your brain. If you are preoccupied with something else, you can’t focus on the immediate task. Instead of letting go or dismissing something, confront it and take care of it right now rather than obsessing over it in the back of your mind while you’re doing something else.
Procrastination is a great way to clutter your mind and build up an overstock of thoughts. Stop saying, “I’ll do it later” and continue another task while the first task is constantly flashing in your mind. Do it now so that you can let the first thing go and move on to the next. If you are constantly reminding yourself about something, the chances are that it is your real priority.
Your brain will naturally prioritize what is most important to you. Trust your brain; don’t fight it. You will spend more energy trying to work against yourself than you will be following your natural inclinations, and this will reduce your productivity.
Get Some Exercise
Exercise is as healthy for your body as it is for your mind. As you work out, your brain releases endorphins that help elevate your mood. When you get your blood pumping, you feel more awake and invigorated. It’s also a great way to redirect nervous and negative energy into something positive.
Taking a walk during your lunch break is a great way to get a little exercise and give you a break from your desk. Sometimes just taking a break and walking away from something for a while can help your brain reset itself. Once your brain has reset itself, it can return to a task with more energy and clarity.
For an additional boost to your exercise routine, put on some headphones, and listen to your favorite tunes. Music activates the frontal lobe of your brain, which handles higher levels of thought so you can successfully complete more complex tasks.
Talk to Someone
So far, the focus has been on what you can do independently to clear your mind, but interacting with others can also help clear your mind. Just like with writing, verbally communicating the thoughts in your head to others helps to get them out there and stop taking up space that could get put to use for something else.
Sometimes getting a fresh perspective on something troubling you can help reduce brain clutter. It can help frame things a different way, and you may find something isn’t as horrible as you initially thought. If something truly is a problem, sometimes having another person working on the issue with you can help you solve the problem.
When you are very close to a problem, you can sometimes miss the obvious. A fresh pair of eyes can pick up on something you missed. Sometimes our emotions can cloud our judgment, and someone who can view the problem objectively can help you successfully resolve the matter. Sometimes, just knowing someone is there for support can help you feel calmer and more confident in a situation.
Get Some Sleep
Your body and your mind both need rest to function correctly. Sometimes it is a good idea to sleep on something. Mental fatigue is one of the top causes of brain clutter because your brain simply can’t operate the way it is supposed to if you don’t take time and give it the rest it needs.
What’s more, your brain is always on even when you are asleep. When you have a problem, your mind will continue working through it on a subconscious level. When you sleep, you allow your brain to work on something without interruption subconsciously, and you may find you wake up, and a solution has suddenly presented itself.
Once again, we can look at the brain as a massive computer. Sleep is the brain’s way of updating itself so that it functions more efficiently. Sleep aids in memory retention; it also helps the brain sort through different connections made during the day and decides what to keep and what to let go because it’s unneeded.
When you are well-rested, it also tends to have a positive impact on your mood. Better moods result in you having more energy and a greater willingness to tackle challenging tasks. By completing challenging tasks, you gain more confidence in your abilities, and this will help you feel more in control of both your thoughts and your circumstances.
Do Something Silly
Sometimes what your brain needs more than anything is to take a break from more complex tasks and do something that is less rigorous. Watching a video of cute animals or doing something that will make you laugh is a great way to let off steam between tasks, rather than merely going straight from one thing to the next.
Taking a little time to laugh every day reduces stress and enhances your overall mood. If you are angry or upset about something, it’s tough to put it aside and not let it get to you. Laughter helps you relax and let go of those negative emotions and puts you in a better mindset for tackling challenges.
What Are Some Long Term Effects of Mind Clearing Practices?
You may find it difficult at first to clear your mind, especially if chaos seems normal, but taking the time to clear your mind can be very beneficial and help you unleash your ultimate potential. The more you train yourself to free your mind when you start feeling overwhelmed, the easier it will become.
Disciplining yourself to regularly clear your mind will give you greater overall life satisfaction. When you are not so distracted by pressing thoughts and concerns, you become more engaged in the present. The world is full of beauty, but when you are too distracted, you don’t notice it.
Likewise, if you rush through your days and your sole focus is checking things off a to-do list, you can miss what is really important in your life. Work is necessary, and money is necessary, but being present for your friends and loved ones is more important.
If you want fulfillment in life, you have to be actively engaged in it. You need to interact with the world around you rather than stay trapped in your mind. By clearing your mind, you get more accomplished and can reach more profound levels of understanding of yourself, others, and the world around you.
Clearing Your Mind: What You Need to Know
A clear mind is a sharp mind and a peaceful one. It helps you achieve higher levels of success in everything you do and feel better in the process. Your state of mind is everything. Even in circumstances that are less than ideal, if you have a clear mind, you can better deal with the situation at hand.
While it may not be possible to clear your mindfully and live a completely stress-free life, armed with the above techniques, you can have better control of a situation. Life is full of ups and downs, but a healthy mind doesn’t stay down. When your mind is clear, you can bounce back from disappointments and setbacks and find new creative solutions to problems.
A clear mind breeds resilience and flexibility to maneuver through tricky situations. You can become a stronger and more innovative person when you have a clear mind. Reducing brain clutter allows you to grow and adapt and overcome whatever obstacles and challenges life throws at you.