When it comes to clutter, the television show Hoarders has absolutely nothing on me. Oh, my house is clean enough…the clutter is in my mind. At times, my mind is so full of junk that it’s hard to get a thought in edgewise. I recognize this comes from being busy, and when we juggle life, it’s inevitable that thoughts will get a little jumbled. Still, the noise can get a little loud sometimes. I’m a big movie fan, and one of my favorites is a Kevin Costner film For Love of the Game. In the movie, Costner is a major league baseball player nearing the end of his career, trying to hold on through his last season, and finish strong. One of the techniques he uses, while on the pitching mound, is a mantra that he repeats to himself to quiet the noise from the fans in the stands. He repeats Clear the Mechanism, Clear the Mechanism until he achieves absolute silence. Okay…so I’ve been mumbling this to myself for the last week or two, and so far…no silence. So, what’s up with that? I mean, it worked for Costner. I know…this isn’t the movies. Still, in an effort to find some techniques that might work, I’ve done a little research that I thought I would share. Ready? Ommmmmmm……
1. Madison K. Krown, a MidLife Empowerment coach, and blogger for the Huffington Post recommends sitting down for 30-60 minutes per day, and doing what she refers to as free form writing. The process, according to Ms. Krown, is to take three deep breaths, and then write nonstop, without thinking, all of the thoughts that are cluttering your mind. Don’t stop to think about what you’re writing. Just write, and write, and write…get it all out there. Don’t edit them, change them, or rearrange them on the paper. Stop when you feel the need, but don’t read the finished product, and then immediately destroy or shred it. She recommends doing this consecutively for 30 days. Okay…I’m going to try this. I’m so glad I have access to a shredder.
2. The second technique I found was from a YouTube video of Dr. Sharon Melnick, a psychologist dedicated to helping talented and successful people “get out of their own way”. This breathing technique involves a three-step exercise that, according to Dr. Melnick, gives the same benefits as a 90-minute Yoga class. Hey, I’m all for saving some time, so I actually tried this as I watched the video, and it was helpful. The basic concept is to breathe in, hold, and exhale, all for the same count. For example, breathe in (count to five), hold (count to five), and exhale (count to five). Do this for 3 minutes, once or twice a day to rewire your nervous system. Since Dr. Melnick recommends closing your eyes during the exercise and placing your fingertips together, I did this too. As a plus, during my future breathing exercises, I’m pretty sure if anyone sees me doing this, with my eyes closed and my hands in front of me taking deep breaths, holding, and exhaling…it will communicate that I’m temporarily unavailable. All together now…inhale…hold…exhale…
3. The third technique involves (again) writing down the thoughts that are cluttering your mind, and listing them into categories – the thoughts that are actually productive (such as tasks), and the thoughts that are just worries and unnecessary clutter. By actually visualizing the thoughts, you can prioritize the productive thoughts, and mark them off once they are accomplished, and for the worrisome thoughts…well, if they’re worries that you can’t control, then mark them off the list, as well. I’m going to grab a Sharpie for this one…it’s time to start markin’ stuff off..
If you’ve got any helpful techniques for clearing the mind clutter, share them with me!
A quote or two for inspiration:
The greatest revolution of our generation is the discovery that human beings, by changing the inner attitudes of their minds, can change the outer aspects of their lives. ~ William James
Don’t believe everything you hear–even in your own mind. ~ Daniel J. Amen