Swimming In Thoughts?
There are times when I find myself swimming in thoughts, when it’s hard to distinguish one thought-track from another. Combined everything feels like there’s just one big tangle of ideas.
This plight, of ‘mental messiness’, is one which so many of us experience.
I know it’s something my friends and I have spoken about a lot of late!
We are overwhelmed by information – via our work, social life, what we consume and so much more.
I don’t know if it’s a ‘modern problem’ as such, but I have a strong inclination that our connection to the digital realm and social media plays a part. We’re so rarely ‘off’ nowadays!
It makes sense then that just as we know when we need to ‘reset’ our diets, by eating clean for a few days, or when we need to have a big purge of our wardrobes, that our head space is just the same.
In order to help ourselves to find mental space, it’s important to have a few tried and tested techniques we can go back to, to do so.
Having mental space is beneficial for a huge number of reasons:
- It helps you to sleep better.
- Making decisions becomes easier.
- You are more productive.
- Overall it’s less stressful.
- Clarity allows you to dream bigger and focus on what really matters to you.
And so many more great effects!
I’m so happy to welcome Chelsea today to share her take on clearing mental space.
Over to Chelsea!
Love, Monica x
Tried & Tested!
What Does & Doesn’t Work For Mental Clarity (IMHO)
I have a confession.
As much as I write about wellness, productivity, and overall happy living (it’s my job as a freelance writer, after all, and my passion), there’s one thing I can’t seem to *fix* at all times.
I feel content with self-love practices, in the amount that I exercise, the greens I eat – I’m proud of a lot of the healthy habits that I keep, even behind the scenes.
But the one thing I haven’t been able to get ahold of? Mental head space.
I wake up feeling peaceful, but within a matter of minutes, there’s a sense of anxiety or busy-ness that creeps into my mind. Even if my to-do list isn’t excessive, it’s almost a constant “what’s next?” over and over. That brain clutter unfortunately lasts throughout the day, until my nighttime routine.
My nighttime routine is honestly the only time of day where I’ve felt completely at ease – due to the habits I have in place, no less. Most nights, I truly go to bed without clutter in my head, and I feel relaxed.
But why can’t I hit that point of mental clarity in the morning? And throughout the day?
It’s something that’s been plaguing me lately, so I figured it was time to face this head on – with you as my witnesses.
I also think it’s a good opportunity to remind everyone that even though we give advice for a living, there are always, ALWAYS, improvements to be made in our own lives. And after such a great response to this article where I got pretty honest (thank you!), I wanted to do it again.
It’s been my goal over the last month to stabilize my mental lightness; I’ve been trying everything I can think of.
Some things have worked, some haven’t – and that’s what I want to share with you today.
Here are my findings on creating Mental Clarity . . .
4 Ways To Find Mental Clarity
I’ve had an on-again-off-again relationship with exercise my entire life, with yoga being no different.
It’s a workout I continuously go back to – in the past to gain flexibility and because it sounded nice.
But over the past few months, as I’ve made yoga 2 x a week a MUST in my calendar, I’ve realized why some yogis continue to practice for decades on decades.
The mental clarity!
I had a sort of epiphany about this during a class two weeks ago. After a hectic work week, I went into my Friday afternoon class with a billion things in my mind. Even through the breathing exercises that started off class, I was in my own world thinking about work.
Fast forward 45 minutes to the end of class, and as I laid there in savasana (how you end your practice), I had a realization: I hadn’t thought about work in 45 minutes!
Somewhere along the lines of trying to maintain balance and proper formation, I was completely lost in my practice. In the best freaking way!
I’d always heard that yoga was good for the mind and body, but to tell you the truth, I never understood the mind aspect until that class.
I think it’s because I’m feeling more connected to the workout now that I’m going often, and I’m working on improving my poses – not just gliding through class half-assed.
But whatever it is, I can’t suggest yoga enough for anyone needing a break from their brain. My favorite styles? Vinyasa or Hatha.
This “technique” goes by a lot of names, but the gist is to get EVERYTHING out of your head.
This might come in the form of journaling, a written to-do list, one on your phone – however.
There are no rules to a brain dump, other than doing one whenever you feel cluttered.
Though I have a Google calendar filled with my daily schedule, I find that writing out everything swirling in my head before bed AND when I get to my desk really helps me.
Most of the time, it’s not as bad – or I’m not as busy – as I thought, which is relaxing on its own.
If you’re anything like me, when you feel especially overwhelmed, you move through tasks fast – and you make mistakes – which tends to lead to more anxiety and mental clutter. Right? The worst!
One of the biggest changes I’m focused on making right now is single-tasking. Or as Monica calls it: the ‘One Touch Technique’.
Working on one task, one inbox, one chore, one person at a time.
No writing an article while my email windows are open (they’re closed right now, I promise!), no brushing my teeth while trying to feed the dog while making coffee, no listening to a podcast while scrolling through Instagram and cooking).
I’m working on becoming a one-task kind of girl, and I have to say, it feels amazing.
It’s an instant slow down for my mind – and it’s pretty incredible.
I wouldn’t call myself a procrastinator, but that’s not to say I don’t leave things – like chores – waiting until later in my day.
Even things like showering and getting ready can sometimes linger on my list of things to do until right before my fiancé gets home. The dishes and laundry can definitely wait until night time right? Even though the pile is staring at me all day long.
So, I’ve started acting now.
Putting things back where they belong instantly. Calling the dentist first thing. Starting chores earlier in my day. Showering right after my workouts, and so on.
I think the idea that I have one less thing to do (no matter how small or common), gives me a mental break.
OK – those are the 4 things that I’ve seen progress from, and I’m continuing to do for now. My brain isn’t 100% clear – I’m not sure that’s actually possible 24 hours of the day – and I’ve grown to be OK with that.
What I’ve come to understand is that my brain can be a lot LESS cluttered – and that’s a balance that feels fantastic. I’m feeling grateful for quick actions – a yoga class, a brain dump, a chore – that I can take in moments of utter chaos upstairs.
And if you’re curious about the things that haven’t worked for me?
Mediation in the morning (I find that I’m too ramped up to try to sit still first thing), naps (I end up barely sleeping and waking up every 5 minutes), and therapy (I’ve tried it and realized that it only evokes stress and internal judgement). But, to each their own – just wanted to honestly share what I haven’t found to assist.
What’s Your Take?
Now that you know about my secret pain point of trying to clear my brian’s clutter, I’d love to hear what has worked for you.
Is there anything that I haven’t tried or added that helps you feel at ease?
How do you reach the stage of feeling content in your mind? Please, please share!
Love, Chelsea x