By Lyn Alderson
Is your mind calm and clutter-free? LOL.
If you want to be creative, powerful and focused, then use the power of the pen!
Journaling is an effective antidote to mental clutter and the hyper-stimulation we get from the fast pace of modern life. There’s so much competing for our attention, so we need to differentiate between truly important issues and all the superfluous junk that comes our way.
The first step in dealing with mental clutter is to identify it. That’s where your journal can really help.
With your best friend in hand, you can identify all the stuff that’s assaulting your mind. Let’s clear out the junk and make a peaceful space where you can focus on what’s truly important in life…
Here are three steps you can follow to create a peaceful mind, and better mental, emotional and physical health in the long term:
STEP 1: Identify your personal clutter
Find a quiet place to be alone with your journal at a time when no-one will disturb you. Begin your mental de-cluttering with a period of sitting still and becoming aware of the content of your thoughts. Every time a thought pops into your head, write it down. For example:
“I’ve got too much to do this week- too many reports to write and too many deadlines looming”
“I’m really upset with Jane’s comment about my boyfriend- why does she always find something negative to say?”
“I hope my salary is going to last the month.. I have a lot of bills to pay”
“Where can we go on vacation this year? “… and so on.
Just sit quietly and keep logging your thoughts until your mind settles down and you finally feel peaceful. If you struggle to calm down and your thoughts are racing at 100 miles an hour, then you probably have a touch of anxiety. Do a complete mind dumping exercise- write everything down as quickly as you can until you finally run out of steam. This exercise is useful when you feel stressed out and over-stimulated.
STEP 2: Sort out your issues
Take a good look at everything you’ve logged in your journal. Start a new page and make four lists:
- Easy stuff I can deal with right away
- Issues I need to research
- Emotional work I need to complete (a change of attitude, saying sorry, forgiving someone, etc.)
- Tough problems where I need extra help from a professional
Now do all of the easy stuff.
STEP 3: Make an action plan
Get your calendar/appointment book/diary/whatever and contact the professionals you need to help you solve your most difficult problems. Book all of the appointments you need. Then book some more time slots for doing your own research.
Don’t bury the emotional issues you have identified- explore them in your journal. If you need to forgive someone, let go of the hard feelings. If you need to say sorry, don’t delay. Express all of your feelings- you’ll feel much better when you’ve resolved your conflicts.
Extra tips to avoid mental overload:
- Make a practice of tackling your most demanding tasks early in the day. If you need to be creative, consider unplugging the phone and working offline for an hour or two.
- Have a digital detox at least once a week (many people find Sunday is a good day to stay unplugged, but do whatever suits you). And during the rest of the week, set boundaries for your use of social media.
- Build regeneration into your daily schedule. Try not to sit at a computer for too long; take a break and go for a walk. If you have the freedom to work on a flexible basis, make the most of it and build something joyful into every day.
Lyn Alderson is a professional journalist, blogger and author, based in the English Midlands.
She has 25 years’ experience of writing news and features for UK newspapers and magazines.To find out more about Lyn and her work visit http://lacopywriting.co.uk
If you want to find out more about the health benefits of keeping a journal, check out Lyn's e-book The Write Therapy: How Keeping a Journal Can Make You Happier, Healthier and More Productive available from the Amazon Kindle Store.
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