Clutter comes in many forms. If you are worried about something, but aren’t doing anything about it — or can’t do anything about it — it’s mental clutter. For any persistent, worrisome thought, ask yourself: Can you do something about it? If you think so, or if you don’t think so, or if you’re not sure — think again just to make sure. If the answer is yes — you can do something about it – great! Do it! The pure fact that you are doing something about it will help you to not worry about it so much.
Why can’t you part with your mental clutter? Here are some reasons why this is difficult:
- You’re afraid of not having, or being, enough. Is this because you are comparing yourself to others? Stop it! Have a little faith in yourself.
- You’re anxious about the future. Being prepared for actual, likely events is the key to a peaceful mind.
- You regret the past and feel guilty. Forgive yourself and move on. Yes, it’s easy to say, but very important to do. In the words of Maya Angelou, “When you know better, you do better.” You know better now.
- You’re concerned about what others think. Follow Dr. Seuss’ advice: “Be who you are and say what you feel, because those who mind don’t matter, and those who matter don’t mind.”
Are your fears realistic? You probably think they are, and you may need a second opinion on this. The bottom line: If you can’t do anything about it, it’s clutter.
What should you do with your mental clutter? Stop worrying about the things you cannot change (such as someone else’s behavior). Put your focus on things you are grateful for, and on the things you can change (such as your own behavior). Examples: preparing for emergencies; planning for your financial future; repairing (or releasing) damaged relationships; addressing health issues head on. If the task ahead seems daunting, break it down into smaller steps. Do them one at a time until you are finished, or feel prepared, or have established the new habit that will improve your life and help you worry less.
What if, despite your best intentions, you are still living with mental clutter? If a week (or other self-imposed deadline) has gone by since you decided to try not worrying about things you cannot change, ask for help from a friend, therapist, clergy member, professional organizer, or someone who can help with your specific situation – doctor, financial planner, personal trainer, attorney, etc.
What’s on your mind? Is it clutter? How do YOU clear mental clutter?
Please share in the comments below!
Copyright 2013 by Hazel Thornton, Organized For Life.
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Hi, Hazel – that was a wonderful blog/newsletter you wrote about mental clutter. I love how the Universe provides support and additional information when we really need it. Yours was one of them.
I’ve been struggling with a fear right now even though I KNOW all the things to say and believe in for myself. But that ugly EGO and critic sometimes won’t subside. I know that I will ‘win’ and come out successfully on the other side.
I would appreciate the Mental Clutter Flow Chart. Many thanks!
I’ll see you next week at WMAD.
Thank you, Melanie! As I always say, worrying is like praying for something you don’t want. If you can do something about it, great! If you can’t, worrying isn’t going to help. It’s mental clutter.
I’m sending your chart via email now. Anyone who reads this can also get a free Mental Clutter Flow Chart by subscribing to Org4life News and asking me for it.
You’re absolutely correct, Hazel, in that clutter comes in many forms … beginning with what’s in our heads. So, thanks for bringing this to our attention in such a timely manner (end of one season, beginning of another). But on a more personal note …
… my own mental roadblocks revolve around the aftermath of an auto accident (I’m fine, but the 4Runner took a big hit) and lost client work. On the other hand – and this is where I know the universe has a sense of humor – two new projects walked in the door and now I don’t have enough hours in the day! I’m walking that tightrope between mental anxiety clutter and actually getting all of this unexpected work done on time!
So, yes, send the flow chart – pronto!
Sounds like you’re on a bit of a roller coaster, Pat! I know the feeling. Your chart is on its way, and I think I’ll include Getting Back On Track as a bonus!
Sometimes I find mental clutter to be more of a barrier to getting things done than anything else.
Getting thoughts down on paper and breaking big things down into smaller tasks can really help calm my mental clutter. Exercise or a long walk can do the trick too!
I do enjoy your blog, Hazel!
Thank you, Laurie! Even short walks would help (…she says to herself…)!