Blog, Mental Health, Simplicity

How to declutter your mind

Many people are attracted to minimalism as a way not only to get rid of too many physical objects, accumulated over years, but to clear their mind, to give themselves more space to find what truly matters, and to quiet the whirling thoughts that so many of us experience nowadays in this hectic, 24/7 world. To declutter your mind and find a clearer path. To begin to discover what we really think and who we really are. To breathe and find a space for clear thinking.

It sounds perfect, doesn’t it? To only think the thoughts that are beneficial. To finally stop replaying things over and over in your head. To become more deliberate, more mindful, more effective. It sounds unachievable. Everyone has too much on their plate. Everyone over thinks things. That’s just how the world is.

Beginning to learn mindfulness helped me to realise that it’s okay when our brains are whirling with thoughts and messages. That’s just what brains do. Accepting that this is a natural state is a step that really changed the way I thought about meditation. It’s not about forcing your mind to be ‘quiet’. It’s having compassion for yourself, accepting things the way they are.

Meditation isn’t just for hippies

The key is to start small. If you’ve never ‘meditated’ before, spending an hour trying to sit still and clear your mind is going to feel like an eternity. It’s better to start something achievable, a minute or 2 each day to begin. Even that small breather can make a difference.

The word ‘meditation’ conjures up a specific image as well. Perfectly postured, cushion-sitting, “ohm-ing”…. It’s no wonder that people sometimes find the idea of meditation inaccessible. The good news is that you don’t have to become a professional yogi to bring meditation into your life. No visualisation, no chanting. All that is required is a few moments each day just to take time out and let your thoughts run their course. I found that apps like Headspace and Insight Timer really helped.

Chill out

My favourite time to meditate is either first thing in the morning or last thing at night. Or even both…
To start I just sit quietly. If my mind wanders, I accept that, and bring my attention back once more. Thoughts will keep cropping up, of course. Let them. If you find yourself suddenly realising you’ve been thinking about something for the last few moments, don’t worry. Just acknowledge it, and let it go. Breathe in through your nose, out through your mouth. Just so that your breathing is comfortable.

Let yourself sit for a few minutes. Maybe towards the end, think of the positive things you are going to experience that day, or reflect on the good things that you’ve achieved. Just a few moments for yourself.

Personally, I love to sit outside in the morning, listening to the world wake up, breathing in still, fresh air, still damp with morning dew. At night, I sit in a bedroom. I breathe. Sometimes it only takes a few moments. Sometimes it’s longer. Just take whatever you need.

What happens when you meditate?

I began thinking that just a few minutes a day wouldn’t make any difference whatsoever. I thought I didn’t have time, that I could manage all my thoughts anyway. But I gave it a go. And even on the first day, I felt slightly different. I felt more ‘space’ in my head. I felt more in control. And over time, just taking a few moments each day helps me begin to see my thoughts as something separate. I can start to distance myself from them.

I use the word ‘meditation’ lightly, in that sometimes I just sit and breathe. That break, that breathing space for your brain, makes all the difference. It helps to declutter your mind and give you more focus.

It takes more than one day to form a habit. A minute or 2, every day. Collect your thoughts and let them go.

Let me know how you get on. If you already meditate, how does it help you declutter your mind?

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