Wednesday, 31 January 2018

Restore...Renew Week 4, Day 3: Mindful

De-clutter is a bit of a buzz word this century and when you look on the internet you will find many programs and ideas to help people de-clutter their homes.  Many books have been written on this topic.  Those who have watched Oprah will remember her introducing us to De-Cluttering Guru, Peter Walsh.  He is known for saying that "clutter is not just the stuff in your closet".  This is so true.  Most often clutter is merely the symptom of something else happening in our lives and in our minds.  Today's challenge is therefore not de-cluttering your desk, a drawer or a room, but about de-cluttering your mind.
It is estimated that the average person has approximately 2000 thoughts running through his/her mind an hour.  Imagine it being like an internal radio, and the speed with which those thoughts would come on the airwaves.  Imagine the noise it would make.  That is what we are dealing with, mind noise.
Most of these thoughts are repetitive in nature and a vast amount of them are filled with negativity.  Most of us are totally unaware that our minds are so busy, but the result of all this noise going on in our heads is that we are unable to focus as clearly as we should be, we become restless and at the end of the day we feel drained of all energy.
So, how do we de-clutter our minds?  Five steps.
Firstly, the one thing which causes a lot of mental clutter is our issues with the past.  Often our minds are so cluttered with every emotion, every insult and wound from the past that there is no space for anything new.  Now is the time to deal with the past.  Face it, acknowledge it and then let it go.  The past can only continue hurting us if we hold onto it for dear life.  Take the good with you, but as for the rest, let it go!
Secondly, write it down.  Make to-do lists, schedule it on your phone's reminders or write it on post-its.  This way you clear up space in your mind for more important matters.  You don't have to think twenty times a day "remember to buy dog food, remember to buy dog food".
Thirdly, get yourself a journal.  Write down your multitude of thoughts.  It is an excellent way to clear your thoughts, deal with your emotions and it can be a great tool to help you to let go of the past.  Once it is out on paper it no longer takes up mental space in your mind.
The fourth step, teach yourself to focus on one thing at a time.  Set aside a specific block of time to do one important project or task.  Focus all your time and energy on that, do not allow other thoughts to interfere or demand your attention.  This way you will get more done in a shorter amount of time.  Once your allocated time has passed for this task, it is time to move onto the next project, again focusing all your effort on this one.
Lastly, meditate.  Contrary to what most people believe about meditation, meditation is not learning how to focus on one specific thing, but rather about learning to clear your mind of all thoughts.  Sounds easy?  No, it is very difficult to not think about anything.  It is like trying to stop a herd of stampeding buffalo from crossing the river.  Yet, when we master this technique it will lead us to greater clarity and calmness.  It will help us to concentrate better and to become mentally stronger.
Now, get on with it, time to de-clutter that crowded space up top.

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