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Faith WoodEvery new year, we seem to spend a bit of time on the goal of decluttering the house or the office. A year of accumulated belongings and paper just feels so burdensome.

Add to that the onslaught of marketing that shows up on our social media feeds: How to be more minimalistic and why that’s the right approach for you. Or all the wonderful benefits bringing more organization into your life will manifest.

After all, apparently a clean desk leaves room for creativity and problem solving, right?

Of course, I feel that it’s all true! I always feel fantastic once I’ve brought a little order to chaos. This is true not only of my surroundings but of my thoughts, too.

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With the ongoing COVID-19 updates and restrictions, and the struggle to make sense of how some politicians felt they were exempt from all that, chaos is indeed present and in ever-flowing abundance.

However, spending time feeling stressed about all that chaos is unlikely to do any of us any good.

So lets shake things up a bit. My new year’s challenge for you is to dedicate some time to decluttering your inner monologue. If you feel good decluttering your house, imagine how great you’ll feel when you devote time to decluttering your mind.

Here are five tips to clear some space in your mind:

Use some meditation techniques

You don’t have to do the full sitting on a cushion in a darkened room thing to benefit from meditation techniques. If you’re feeling overwound, some simple breathing techniques can help you calm down and focus.

For a few minutes, focus only on your breathing and nothing else. If your mind wanders or gets back into the worrying groove, you must put that aside and come back to focus on your breath.

Write it down

It can help to write down anything that’s on your mind. Once all those worries are on paper, you can prioritize them and work out a plan to deal with them.

You can also assess them to identify what’s essential and what isn’t. When you can see what’s important, you can focus your energy and free up some of that mental space.

Stay in the present

Brooding over the past and worrying about the future take up a lot of space in your mind and achieve precisely nothing.

Let go of regret over past mistakes or resentment over past slights, and move on. Keep your focus on what you can influence right here, right now.

Do one thing at a time

Multitasking is not only overrated (it’s very inefficient), it also leads to greater anxiety and you never do any one thing properly.

Focus on doing things methodically and thoroughly. As you finish one task, move on to the next.

Control all the incoming data

We talk about being available 24/7 and about the 24-hour news cycle, but there’s only one person who can control that. You.

You can choose to switch off your computer, smartphone and television, and control the amount of data your brain is trying to process.

Decluttering your mind will pay off in all sorts of ways you hadn’t imagined. You’ll be more productive, less stressed and maybe even a bit more motivated.

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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