Faith WoodDecluttering your life and being at ease with yourself has more to do with your mind than your environment.

Over the years, I’ve voraciously consumed articles and watched programs about creating a stress-free life through decluttering.

For example, they say most of us wear only 20 per cent of our wardrobe – the rest we’ll fit into one day! In the meantime, it causes us stress just getting dressed in the morning.

What if discovering the secret to being more at ease has more to do with your internal space rather than your external?

Our state of mind is our personal barometer. When we’re feeling playful, curious or calm, then external events (such as politics and disagreeable people) are not a big problem. If we’re feeling weary, agitated or overwhelmed, then all bets are off.

It’s not simply a matter of pushing through, regardless of how your day starts out. It’s more a matter of clearing your state of mind before setting out in the first place.

People typically associate a state of mind with a specific problem. Similarly, when a person finds a solution or gains the resource they need to provide that solution, it too is usually wrapped in a state.

External signals usually accompany a state. When you imagine someone feeling ecstatic, they look different than someone feeling down. These differences are also likely to be evident in voice analogues (e.g. tone, volume) and many other external signals.

So others can often detect your state of mind as soon as you enter the room.

How, then, do you go about influencing a resourceful state of mind?

  • Influence what you think about.
  • Influence what you do with your body.

Think about an event that made you feel fabulous. Sit up tall, take a deep breath and look up. Crack a wide smile. As you do, recall the event in as much detail as possible – think of colours and movement; remember what you heard; and focus on the feelings you had, including where you felt them in your body. As you amplify the good feelings, make an OK sign with your fingers and hold it. This helps create an anchor to a positive state of mind every time you make that OK sign.

People often choose confidence as a useful state but it’s not always useful. It’s good to have a range of states you can easily access, depending on the occasion. For example, if you’re trying to get someone to change a decision, confusion is a useful state – it can make the other side nervous and even change their mind.

Here’s a simple formula for switching your state of mind we will call the PRE-check:

Positive: It’s useful to choose a state of mind with positive characteristics – something attached to a former memory is always helpful but you can create it if you can imagine it well enough.

Real: Pick a memory with this state of mind – something you can see, hear and feel. Recall it vividly.

Executable: Assign an anchor (preferably something you can activate in public) – a tap, a fist, a smile – that you can deploy at the emotional peak of the memory. This anchor will help bring the state of mind forward if drama arrives to play havoc with your day.

If you’re ready to declutter your life, begin each day by choosing the most useful state of mind and setting an anchor to help you keep it all day. This might be the real secret to living a more pressure-free life.

Troy Media columnist Faith Wood is a novelist and professional speaker who focuses on helping groups and individuals navigate conflict, shift perceptions and improve communications. 

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