2017 March

Spring Cleaning: Time to Declutter Your Mind

Spring Cleaning: Time to Declutter Your Mind

 

When the last mound of snow has melted and the sun grows warm enough to encourage tiny green buds to form on trees, it only means one thing: spring cleaning! Maybe two things: white wine season!

 

Something I love about living in the Midwest is the visual change of seasons. While I am certainly a Type-A, routine-loving person, I also welcome change. Summer’s offerings of warm nights and endless socializing begins to wear on me just around the time autumn rolls in. Autumn allows me time to reflect, write, and read. And when it’s time to celebrate family and friends again, winter gives way to cozy couch time with those we love. Then, just when we feel our souls have been buried by the chilly air and pewter skies, the sun begins to shine again, reminding us that new life is here. We are born again in the sunshine, happy to be alive.

 

Spring energizes us through its warmer weather and sunshine, motivating us to purge our winter nests and make way for new life. Spring is an excellent time to discard the clutter that’s piled up from holidays, to remove the dust that’s settled, the salt and snow caked upon windows and porches. It’s warm enough to get outside and clear out the gutters, sweep the garage, repair broken stairs, but it’s not too hot to paint and mop.

 

While I enjoy spending the first few warm, spring days cleaning and decluttering my physical space, I also like to clean and declutter myself—my heart and mind.

 

Living in a clean space with minimal things doesn’t mean my mind and heart aren’t overflowing with fear, anxiety, anger, lists upon lists of things left undone. Spring is a time to discard emotions that no longer serve me, irrational fears bogging me down, and the lists of imperfections I just can’t let go.

 

Spring is a time to let go. So, let’s let go of what no longer serves us.

 

I’m not going to get into the whole philosophical question of brain vs. soul vs. heart. I think we all understand that our rational brain is different from our emotional heart; either way, both becomes cluttered quickly. So, I’d like to share with you an activity that helps me declutter my brain, heart, mind, soul—the me within me.

 

Journaling Activity to Declutter Your Mind

 

Emotions (Heart)

 

  1. Grab a notebook and pen, laptop, sheet of paper and pencil—anything you can use to jot down a list.
  2. Create a table with 4 columns across and as many rows as you have emotions!
  3. List all of your feelings right now in the first, left column.
  4. In the column in the same row as each emotion, try to explain what’s causing that emotion. What happened to stir it inside of you and what do you think will happen? What is the WORST that will happen?
  5. Then, really think about this emotion and the cause of it. Is it rational? Or is it based on some primal emotion—either the desire for sex, appetite, fear, or ego (SAFE)? Our reptilian brains still control a lot of our emotions, and our primal selves always want to make sure we’re able to procreate, eat, not be killed, and have worth in society. Does your emotion stem from some irrational place? That is not to say it’s not valid or understandable. Losing your job is a rational fear, but it might come at an irrational time.
  6. Finally, list steps you’ll take to tackle this emotion from controlling you. You can’t control your emotions, but you can control how you react to them.
  7. Follow through with those steps to control these emotions and wipe them out of your heart.

 

 


Tasks (Mind)

 

  1. Grab a notebook and pen, laptop, sheet of paper and pencil—anything you can use to jot down a list.
  2. Create a table with 4 columns across and as many rows as you have TASKS!
  3. Think about the tasks you have left undone. Why do you want to accomplish these tasks? Are they really necessary or simply things you believe you should do to be happy or make others happy?
  4. Follow the steps above for your tasks, with below as an example:

 

 


Keep in mind, these are all examples. These are not my lists! They are hypothetical, although I would love to travel the world ASAP and I’ve definitely been feeling blue about my body image lately!

 

You’ll notice there’s a common theme: lists.

 

Lists are great… they help you accomplish tasks, help you organize your thoughts, and they are easy to throw away.

 

The point of the journaling activity is not to accomplish anything. It’s to discard everything. Once your raw emotions are out of your heart and on to paper, and once you realize that a lot of your emotions stem from irrational fears, you can let them go.

 

Once you take a long look at your list of tasks you’d like to accomplish and your life goals, you’ll realize that they all come from the same desire: to be happy. When you realize that gaining power, money, things, and status won’t make you any happier, you can let go of these nagging goals and tasks. That doesn’t mean you have to stop being productive, stop achieving, or stop improving—it just means you can let these things stop controlling you and your happiness. You can simply be happy. Right now.

 

Jot down the clutter from your mind and heart. Look at them closely. Realize that you are wonderful and your life is wonderful and you have plenty of reasons to be happy that aren’t on those lists. Then, toss them. Burn them. Shred them.

 

And let go.

 

Let the sunshine in… and enjoy spring.

 

 

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My goal is to help you become more organized so that you can spend your time in meaningful ways.
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