5 Ways to Spring Clean Your Cluttered Mind
The seasons each have their own personality. Following the slow, dark days of Winter, Spring arrives with the gentle awakening and rebirth. The heavy layers of slumber give way to awareness and new growth. The process of emergence is delicate and deliberate. Spring is a time for planning, planting seeds, and generating ideas. Inspiration is most easily arrives when the mind is clear, and so, as we head towards the celebratory lightness of Summer, this is a perfect time to clear remnants of the past year and create some fresh space.
Here are 5 ways to Spring clean your cluttered mind:
- Complete What Needs Completion
If you are like most people, you have a knack for multi-tasking, or both. In our busy lives, we place a high value on productivity. The more we do, the better we feel—about ourselves, our lives, our work, and our worth. However, this can sometimes work against us. It might seem counter-intuitive, but slowing down can often make us more productive in the long run. When we attend to many tasks at once, we often don’t properly complete each one. Over time, this creates an accumulation of dangling threads. In order to free our brain up to focus on the path forward, we need to systematically complete what needs completion.
- Refine Your To Do List
There are very likely some things on your To Do List that should be on your To Don’t List. Set aside some time to take inventory of everything on your list. Are there some items that have been on that list forever that never get done? Consider whether they never get done because you actually don’t want, or need, to do them. Either relegate them to a long term project list or scratch them off all together. Create a fresh To-Do List that is actually achievable. Minimizing chronic overwhelm relieves stress and improves mood and outlook.
- Shut Up and Listen
Incorporating a Stillness Practice into your day is one of the best ways to cultivate and maintain an uncluttered mind. Begin each day by sitting in silence. Take advantage of the moments in the morning when outside stimulation is at a minimum and your mind is clearest. Sit comfortably with your eyes closed. Pay attention to the physical sensation of breathing as you slow it down. Pause at the top of each inhalation and at the bottom of each exhalation, creating a moment of stillness. This sets a baseline for inner peace and connectedness, which we can return to throughout the day. Begin on the first day with one minute. Work your way up to a minimum of seven minutes daily.
- Move Your Body
The easiest way out of the mind is through the body. Whether it’s running, weight training, swimming, spinning, or dancing around your living room with music blasting, physical exercise draws energy from your head into the present moment. In addition to shifting focus, neuroscience tells us that the brain benefits from a good workout. Exercise increases oxygen in the brain, supporting the survival and abundance of brain cells. It also improves sleep quality which is a big contributor to cognitive impairment. Studies show that regular cardiovascular exercise increases the size of the hippocampus, which is the part of the brain that is mainly responsible for memory, especially long-term. In our overstimulating techno-enhanced world, a sure way to clear a case of common “brain fog” is to work it out.
- Get Out in Nature
Another great way to get out of our heads is to observe the world around us. The way the clouds drift in the sky, the palm fronds rustle in the breeze, or birds fly in formation, give context to our own personal drama by reminding us that we are one small part of something much greater than ourselves. The expression, “remember to stop and smell the roses,” is a reminder to step out of your normal daily routine to notice the persistence of beauty in the world. A mountain hike, a walk on the beach, or even an easy stroll through a park, place us in an environment rich with opportunity to let the power of observation declutter our minds of persistent thoughts and concerns.