When you declutter your mind you benefit from much better mental health. Help yourself find that much needed clarity right now with these tips for how to identify and let go of your mental clutter, once and for all.
Do you ever feel like your mind is cluttered and overwhelmed by everything whirling around inside it every day?
Do you struggle to focus on the present moment and find yourself constantly worrying about the future or ruminating on the past?
If so, you’re not alone.
Mental clutter is a common problem that affects many people.
In fact – I’ve always suffered from anxiety and over thinking – and know just how difficult it can be to get your thoughts in order when you have a cluttered mind…
Fortunately, there are solutions that can really help – and that’s what I want to dive into today with you.
Let’s look at the steps you can take to simplify your thoughts and reduce stress.
(Sounds calming already, right!)
How To Identify Your Mental Clutter
The first step in decluttering your mind is to identify what the clutter actually is for you.
Mental clutter refers to the accumulation of thoughts, emotions, and information that can make our minds feel overwhelmed, distracted, and stressed out.
To recognise when your mind is cluttered, pay attention to your thoughts and emotions over a few days or weeks – and see what they actually are.
Leaning in to understanding what’s actually an issue for you and being able to label it will enable you to declutter those thoughts more readily.
Here’s a list of the main types of thought clutter that you may find yourself with, along with tips on how to deal with each one:
7 Types Of Mental Clutter And How To Deal With Them
#1 – Negative self-talk
This negative thought pattern can include things like constant criticism / harsh language / and being judgemental.
Only focusing on your flaws and weaknesses and berating yourself for them (for example, trying to reach perfection all the time will constantly be a losing game because you just can’t!).
When you start believing all this inner monologue it can completely overwhelm everything else in your head, and that clutter can be draining, for sure.
This is one that can be really hard to do – but when you’re ruminating over other peoples behaviour you’d do well to forgive so you can move on. It’s no different if you’re the person that’s causing yourself harm.
I got some personal development advice years ago that’s stayed with me – talk to yourself like you would your best friend, not your worst enemy…
Give yourself grace, pat yourself on the back for any little or big wins, think positive thoughts, and just be your own best cheerleader.
You deserve it!
#2 – Worrying about the future
- Focusing on worst-case scenarios
- Feeling anxious or stressed about things that haven’t happened yet
- Obsessing over potential problems or challenges
- Feeling powerless or helpless to prevent negative outcomes
- Ignoring the present moment in favor of worrying about the future
Declutter these thoughts with Mindfulness:
Mindfulness is the practice of being present and fully engaged in the current moment.
By staying focused on the present, you can avoid getting caught up in worrying about the future.
You can also use this technique for #3…
#3 – Ruminating on the past:
- Dwelling on past mistakes or regrets
- Feeling shame or guilt about past actions or decisions
- Reliving past traumas or negative experiences
- Blaming yourself or others for past events
- Feeling stuck in the past and unable to move forward
#4 – Overthinking:
- Analysing situations excessively with unnecessary thoughts
- Getting caught up in details or minor issues
- Second-guessing yourself or others
- Feeling indecisive or paralyzed by too many options
- Creating hypothetical scenarios and worrying about them – creating negative emotion that’s draining.
Are you regularly:-
- Waking up in the night because something has just come into your mind?
- Finding it hard to get off to sleep because your mind is racing?
- Always coming up with new ideas of things that need doing around the house, with the family, at work etc…?
So much so that my husband once bought me the book “Women Who Think Too Much” as a half-joke half-self help gift…
One thing you can do right now to limit this type of mental clutter is to mind map:
Mind mapping is a technique for organising too many thoughts and ideas. Start by writing down a central idea, then branch out to related ideas and subtopics.
This is a brain dump process that can help you see the big picture by breaking down complex problems into manageable pieces.
It can give you clarity over things you’re struggling to find a solution for, and can literally get it out of your head and onto paper so you get a different level of understanding and this alone can often help find the answer more quickly.
#5 – Trying To Multitask:
- Trying to do too many things at once
- Feeling scattered or unfocused
- Making mistakes or forgetting important details
- Feeling overwhelmed or stressed with information overload
- Not fully engaging in any one task or activity
Declutter these thoughts by prioritising:
Prioritising your tasks and responsibilities can help you focus on the important things that matter to you.
Make a list of your top priorities, then tackle them one at a time. This can help you feel more organised and in control.
When you start concentrating on what’s important, the rest of the clutter that takes up so much of our days will naturally just start to disappear (i.e. social media).
But you could also take steps to limit distractions:
Try to minimise distractions like social media, email, and TV.
Set aside specific times each day for checking your phone or email, and avoid multitasking as much as possible.
#6 – Physical Clutter In Your Living Space
- Having too much stuff in your home or workspace
- Feeling overwhelmed by clutter and mess
- Being unable to find what you need when you need it
- Feeling distracted or unfocused by clutter
- Procrastinating or avoiding tasks due to clutter
Stop this being mental clutter by creating a calm physical space:
A cluttered physical space can contribute to mental clutter and leave you with no mental energy.
This is the opposite to how you should feel in your own home…
So, take some time to declutter your home or workspace, and create a calm, organised environment.
You can then enjoy being in your home, and relax more easily.
NOTE: This doesn’t mean you have to start practising minimalism. Far from it. Just declutter to a point that works for you and stops you being distracted and overwhelmed when you walk through your front door.
#7 – Poor Time Management
Saying yes to too many responsibilities or obligations, not planning ahead, being late for everything – all can lead to a cluttered schedule and a feeling of being overwhelmed.
Reset this by getting more organised:
Use a diary, set up systems in your home etc… and your head won’t have to cope with remembering so much or worrying that you’ve forgotten it.
Habits To Maintain Your Mental Clarity
So hopefully you’ve been able to identify the triggers for your mental overwhelm and stress, and found ways to deal with each of them.
But it doesn’t end there….
This process of decluttering your head (just like with your home) is ongoing, and not a once and done type of thing.
You’ll need to take time each day to maintain your clutter free head, and so it’s wise to make that part of your routine.
I’d recommend using some quiet time when you can think more clearly and have space for this.
First thing in the morning or last thing at night work well for most people as it can either set you up for a good day, or help you sleep better.
Here are some techniques that you might find useful to use:
#1 – Journaling
Writing down your thoughts and feelings can help you gain clarity and perspective.
Try to write for at least 10-15 minutes each day, focusing on your emotions, concerns, and goals.
Ensure that you always have a notepad and pen with you wherever you go (using your notepad on your phone can work well, but I like to actually write with a pen and paper as my head seems to work better that way, and I think there’s some science behind that too…).
Write down any ideas, thoughts, details, notes etc… as and when you think of them during the day (or night! – keep it beside your bed as well and then you can write it down and go back to sleep rather than be wary of forgetting in the morning). Then transfer them to the proper place (diary, TO DO list etc..) when you get a chance.
That way you can deal with them as you think about them, but you can then let them go from your head, because they’re being dealt with.
#2 – Meditation
Meditation is a powerful tool for calming a busy mind and reducing stress from all that brain clutter that builds up.
Find a quiet place to sit, close your eyes, and focus on your breath.
Whenever your mind starts to wander, gently bring your attention back to your breath and practise deep breathing.
You could also use a guided meditation on an app or online to help get started if you’ve never tried anything like this before.
#3 – Talking
Find someone you can confide in and talk things through with them.
This can do wonders for your own clarity for a few reasons:
- You’ll get a sounding board (a problem shared is a problem halved, as the saying goes…)
- You’ll also understand things more just by the act of having to tell someone else about it
- You’ll get it out of your head, and often find a resolution (or even just the next step towards a result)
#4 – Practice self-care
Taking care of your physical and mental wellbeing can help you stay focused and clear-minded.
Simple ways to do this would be to make sure you’re getting enough sleep, exercise, and healthy food, and take time for activities that bring you joy and relaxation .
Giving yourself some mental space can stop any negative thinking or overthinking in its tracks.
By identifying your mind clutter, clearing it out, and maintaining a clear head every day, you really can enjoy a more peaceful and fulfilling life.
Remember, decluttering your mind is an ongoing process, so be patient and kind to yourself as you work towards a clearer, more focused mindset.
When you start to use some of the techniques in this post in your daily routine, then your stress levels are sure to lower.
Enjoy, you deserve it!