The topic today is focused on springtime and the cleaning that seems to go along with it. This time I am not talking about toxic-free cleaning or how chemicals in cleaning products can create hormonal imbalances, but rather how you can spring clean your mind.
If you see a room full of clutter how do you feel? Personally, it puts me in a state of mental overload. I like minimal clutter, clean surfaces, organized cupboards. It calms my mind and makes me so much happier. When I was in a much more stressful mental headspace a few years ago I found that the physical act of cleaning up really helped me. So, this spring as you think about the house spring clean, think about how you could also clean up your mind.
Here are 7 tips to help create a healthier mindset:
Throw away the physical clutter
Research has shown that clean space helps create a clear head and a more positive outlook. Maybe it is related to the fact that happiness is not derived from things but rather a state of mind. Or that we compare our possessions against those of our friends, family or those on our social media friends list. Rik Pieters of Tilburg University has established a link between materialism and increasing loneliness . So, I advise throw out the crap, get your Mari Kondo on and clean up!
Make quiet time – to find out what you need
Before you go any further, I would suggest sitting down with an hour or so and get introspective. What do you want to achieve in cleaning up your mind? When do you feel stress? What are you doing at that stressful time? What are you saying to yourself? Do you have any physical symptoms of stress?
I used to think I was a very calm person, that I was never stressed. But when I looked at myself more closely, I realized I was getting IBS (Irritable Bowel Syndrome), I got particularly sweaty in confrontational situations and my thyroid was playing up. Mentally I thought I was coping, and mentally I was strong. But my body was copping the brunt of the stress. So, I started to look at the physical symptoms as a guide to what was passing through my mind at those times. I learned I sweated profusely not just when exercising but when I felt uneasy, especially when I felt I was a mediator between confrontational situations. This knowledge helped me look at the internal thought dialogue more closely! Which leads right into the next tip.
Journal thoughts to de-clutter the mind
When you notice that your head is busy and full, write it down. There is good research to display that writing thoughts decrease stress. Don’t worry about it being neat, legible, or that the grammar is correct, just put your thoughts down on paper. Writing for 20 minutes has been shown to be the best time, but even just a few minutes is useful. Get it all out!
I used to keep a notepad by my bed. Because often the nasty thoughts started to surface as I was trying to drift off to sleep. Instead of dwelling on those thoughts and NOT sleeping I would write it all down, close the book and put it away for the night. It really helped. Not every time but more times than not I could then drift off.
Give up a grudge – holding resentment only hurts you
Is there someone that has hurt you in the past, that cut you deep? Do you catch your mind wandering back to that time and situation and the memory of the pain it caused you?
How do you feel when you think about it?
Do you feel tense?
Do you feel your stomach acid rising?
Do you feel your shoulders rise to your ears?
Do you feel your jaw tighten?
The only person feeling hurt now by that past scenario is you. I bet you, that the person that hurt you, doesn’t even think about you anymore. Your pain, stress, memories, and resentment is only affecting you. As the song goes “LET IT GO” Try reading this article for some ways to release that resentment
Apologize if feeling unsettled about something
Say sorry. If you feel you have hurt someone, if you regret actions or words, apologize. You will feel a lot better if you can get it out. If the other person is not ready to let go that is their choice. (Hence giving up the grudge in the above point) But at least if you say sorry, from a genuine place, you have done what you can do, and you will feel all the lighter for it.
Forgive yourself – stop dwelling on imperfections
It’s ok to feel guilty and shame at times, but it is important to admit your mistakes and apologize to those that deserve it. Sometimes you need to apologize to yourself. What have you done to yourself that you need to apologize to yourself about?
Write out your own apology. “Dear Anthea, I am sorry that I hurt you by not listening to your signals. I knew you were telling me you needed time, space and a break. But instead I pushed and pushed and now you are broken and hurt. Next time you tell me that you are tired I will listen and rest. I will respect you. I will feed you healthy foods, I will get to bed on time, and I will move gently more. I will tell you how well you are doing.”
Speak your truth – Be you, the real you.
Be authentic. Have you ever worked with or had a close friendship with someone that lied, either directly or by omission? Could you tell they were lying to you? Did you feel the incongruency? That incongruency can happen within yourself.
Are you working in a job that doesn’t align with your values? Are you raising your children telling them one message, but living a different example? This conflict between your actions and your beliefs will break you down from the inside. Start being you, start living your truth.
There are many more tips that can help you keep a healthy mindset this Spring.
You could work at:
- Change your mental conversations – switching the negative to positive
- Connect with friends
- Unplug negative influences – stop watching news social media posts, etc
- Get Creative
- Get moving outdoors
- Sleep 8 hours a night
What tickles your fancy this Spring? How will you clean up your mind?
Yours in Health,
Dr. Anthea Holder
(Chiropractor and Nutritional Therapy Practitioner)