I think all of us are skilled at decluttering clutter within our living or personal spaces when they become overwhelmingly messy, provoke anxiety and or wreaks havoc as we trip over objects, become avoidant and then finally give in and we rid ourselves of the things that occupying our space unnecessarily.

Reclaiming our space has a positive effect and leaves us feeling less confined, more relaxed and balanced, similarly we need to apply the same principle to our minds except our focus is to remove unwanted thoughts and worries that leave us feeling tired, overwhelmed and anxious/

Picture a cluttered area in your home, now think about how all that clutter makes you feel as it grows, you start tripping over things and are unable to locate things you need.

Have to admit here that I initially try to ignore it which is a short term solution, as the clutter remains, or continues to grow but so does the ability to ignore it.

So, I begin the process of re-organising. removing and or storing things until I’m sure of what needs to be done with it?

Well, the same applies when our minds are overloaded resulting in persistent overwhelming thoughts, regrets, worries or concerns.

Again, many of us will apply the avoidance strategy but this gives us short term relief and you may find overtime these worries amplify becoming more disruptive.

So, just as we declutter our personal space’s we need to apply this principle to our minds to free up and give ourselves back our mental space.

We will all respond differently when our cluttered minds have reached capacity, for me it is disturbed sleep, feeling anxious and inability to concentrate as I’m fixated on certain thoughts and worries that are like a whirlwind in my head that won’t shut off, particularly at night.

As stated regaining focus & motivation requires us to rid ourselves of clutter that is pre-occupying our minds, below are some strategies that may assist:

  • Get it Out & Down on Paper it helps to empty your mind, jot down the thought, worry or concern so that you have a reference point. You may start to see a pattern and will soon figure out which are most troublesome, prioritise them and then start to unpack them one by one preferably with someone you trust or a mental health professional who can help provide perspective & solutions
  • Park It if you find that a particular thought is provoking anxiety or distress, walk away and come back to it when you are no longer feeling emotional allowing you to view it objectively, before unpacking it
  • Take Your Time don’t go for the quick fix as this will result in temporary relief and increased clutter, instead work through it at your own pace, don’t compare your timeframes to others, as we all heal at our own pace so look at it as a work in progress
  • Remember You Can’t Change the Past so leave it there, think about the precious energy you waste dwelling on past mistakes, regrets or decisions. All this worry will not change these outcomes & will only add to your despair!  Ask yourself, what it is that you can do now or do better in the future to fix the problem or prevent a recurrence? What did I do well & what do I need to better?

Key is to be preventative opposed to reactive and act upon recognising your early warning signs so that you do not become overwhelmed and importantly take time for yourself.

As your mind just needs to recharge and relax just like our bodies to perform at our best.

Build this time into your routine to do the things that leave you feeling balanced, it may be as simple as grabbing a coffee and going for a stroll through the park.

But whatever it is, find it and do it.

Lastly seek professional help through your GP or Mental Health Professional if you are unable to switch off as they will provide you with relevant supports tailored to your needs.

  • 13YARN 13 92 76
  • Kym Marsden is an accredited mental health social worker in private practice