Let’s talk about mental clutter and the negative effect it can have on how anxious you feel. By becoming aware of what it is, and using a simple but effective strategy to “de-clutter” our mind, we can reduce anxiety in yet another way. In other words, I want to share another tool with you today that you can add to your toolbox for dealing with anxiety.
What Is Mental Clutter?
To make sure we’re on the same page, let’s define this mental clutter. It’s all the random stuff in your head that you’re keeping track of. It could be appointments, things you need to do, and that never ending list of projects you want to tackle eventually. We all have mental clutter, and when we let it become too much, it can add to how anxious we feel.
Start by just becoming aware of this clutter of thoughts in your head. Pay attention to when those random thoughts pop in your head. Sometimes it’s in the middle of the day while you’re busy working on something completely unrelated. Oftentimes, they pop up at night when you’re trying to relax or go to sleep. Become aware of them, so you can then start to tackle the next step, which involves dealing with this mental clutter.
How To Reduce Mental Clutter
Now that you’ve become aware of this mental clutter, it’s time to start reducing and eliminating it. The tools to do this are simple. All you need is a pen and a notebook. You’re going to do a “brain dump”. This is the mental equivalent of dumping the contents of your cupboard on the floor so you can decide what to keep, what to donate, and what to throw out. Here’s how you do it. Start writing down all those random things you want or should do. Write down everything you need to remember, appointments you need to make or keep. Write down all the projects you want to tackle and the goals you want to accomplish. Don’t edit, don’t judge, just write it all down. Don’t stop until you can’t think of anything else.
I’m going to warn you. It’s mentally exhausting, but also incredibly freeing and one of the best ways to reduce anxiety and stress. Simply writing it all down will get it out of your head and make you feel less mentally cluttered. Optionally you can start going through your long list, crossing out items that aren’t really important, making appointments and noting them in your calendar, and coming up with a list of projects you want to tackle first. I promise you’ll feel calmer once you do this.