We’ve all had the wires of our minds tangled up at some point in our lives, so it’s sometimes necessary to untangle those wires, or just be conscious that this process does happen (especially when you’re not paying attention!!). If your mind is ‘noisy’, and your thought processes cause you to feel even a little bit anxious about one thing or another, then you could benefit from one of these 5 methods of tidying up your mind.
And if you think that your mind is already tidy? Well, doing one or all of these things could benefit you and you mind anyway. Nobody is perfect, after all 🙂
This is a tried and tested method, passed down by millennia of traditions and generations; it still survives as a practice today because it’s proven to be good for the mind and the body. Meditation is growing in popularity today, with the stigma of it being a bit of a ‘pseudo-medicine’ being gradually disproven … meditation really does work!
The practice of meditation is supposed to relax your mind by teaching us to dissociate ourselves from it’s incessant thinking – instead of being the thinker of the thoughts, you watch the thoughts as they happen, like an outsider. When you do this, your mind starts to quieten so much that you are able to listen to your own breath (indeed, many meditation practices focus on the breath). Most practices encourage sitting positions, but a notable exception is ‘Transcendental Meditation’ (TM), which can be practiced anywhere, from a busy bus to your workplace breaks. The practice involves getting comfortable (but not fall-asleep-comfortable!!); closing your eyes; and listening to your breathing. If your mind starts to chatter, recognise that! And celebrate the process of ‘catching yourself out’. Eventually, with time, practice, and patience, you will be able to detach yourself from your thoughts, and have a clearer, calmer mind.
(Watch this talk on TM by Jerry Seinfeld for The David Lynch Foundation):
There are many people in the 21st century who work jobs which require little, or even no physical activity; these people would certainly benefit from exercising. Exercise can improve memory and cognitive processes, and reduce anxiety levels, as well as the more obvious benefits of shedding excess energy and weight.
There are many fun ways to exercise:
Do yoga: yoga has been proven to increase strength and flexibility, as well as offering meditative benefits.
Take up a sport: football, tennis, badminton, martial arts … anything you want! Sports are games in exercise form – everybody loves a game 🙂
Take walks in places of natural beauty (woodlands, parks, beaches, etc): fresh air is good for you, and the sight of nature is very calming. Walking is a great option for people who have trouble with their knees, or any important body parts.
Go to the gym: for many people the gym is a boring, monotonous place. But for others, it is a haven for shedding excess energy.
3. Clean Up Your Room
Clinical psychologist Jordan Peterson has become an youtube sensation in the last few years, and “clean up your room” has become somewhat of a cult catchphrase for him.
“If you can’t even clean up your room, who the hell are you to give advice to the world?”
The essence of Peterson’s words could be said to pay homage to another old expression: “a tidy house is a tidy mind.” And there is a wisdom to that expression, too!. If your mind feels messy, and your bedroom/kitchen/living space is messy, then cleaning up could be a good place to start!
From the bottom up. If your bedroom is a mess, then you should pull everything out and clean it. If you have never done that in a room you live in, it won’t feel exactly like home until you do. Like a dog marking its territory with its wee, you need to claim your room! And then, when you put it all together in your own image, it becomes a reflection of your inner-mind. That’s the real reason why a tidy room can be so beneficial: it’s a great way to check up on yourself.
4. Write about it
Writing is usually my personal choice when it comes to tidying up my own mind (being a writer, that’s probably obvious). I will write about anything that arises in my mind that asks for my attention; and getting those thoughts onto paper allows me to see them from a different angle. Similarly to meditation, writing your thoughts down can help you to detach yourself from them, and not take them too seriously.
A great lesson I’ve learned to remember from my reflective writing is this: you don’t have to agree with your thoughts!
Get yourself a pen, some paper, and write whatever your hand decides to write – even if it’s complete gibberish! Get comfortable writing, don’t judge what you have written, and see where it takes you. I tend to naturally start writing strong thoughts from the day, and reflect on the relationship between my reaction to something and the thing itself (often my reaction is far more to do with me and my disposition than it is to do with the thing itself). I often find that the problems I have in a certain period of time are kinda analogous to each other (that is to say, most of my problems in life share the same roots). For example, if I’m having difficulties in my relationship with certain people, there is often some significant similarities between these two separate instances.
If you start writing something completely fictional, though, this could be beneficial too! Who knows? It could even be the start of humanity’s next great story.
If this doesn’t satisfy you, you could benefit from writing a list of things that you are grateful for in your life … this will help you to consciously notice the things that make you so lucky!
So write, reflect, and accept yourself – warts and all! And not only yourself, but your environment/situation too. If your writing sucks, then be proud of it – because nobody can write in exactly the same way you can … your style is unique to you.
5. Talk about it
Talking to someone can be a great medicine for an untidy mind. Getting a second perspective on something that is a big topic for you in a period of time can help to give you greater perspective, and a clearer sight of the bigger picture. It might be, too, that you’ve gone too long without talking to someone about the workings of your mind… On an evolutionary level, humans have always been social creatures (up until now, at least); and so it would make sense, biologically speaking, that a lack of social connection could take away one’s mental clarity. There are plenty of other things talking can help with, too.
Ask a friend, family member, or partner if you could talk things through with them. Some of those closest to us, at least, will surely be willing to do such a favour, and they might even feel like sharing something with you, too. Having these kinds of conversations can strengthen your bonds with people in your life, and, by association, your relationship to your environment. This is a great way to decrease anxiety; but be aware of negativity! If you can, try talking with people that make you feel good. If there’s nobody like that in your life, then find some new people (if you want to, that is).
Another way of talking could be by getting some counselling. This way you could also be taught valuable reflective skills by someone who is an expert in such matters, which can then improve your ability to cope on your own in the long term.
Don’t Have the Time?
Well make the time! You owe it to yourself to be as happy as possible in your life, and these methods will certainly go some way to helping you on your road to happiness. If you go too long without taking care of yourself, then your mind is going to overwhelm you. It’s worth remembering that we humans are capable of overcoming extremely detrimental circumstances … to quote Friedrich Nietzche: “He who has a why to live for can bear almost any how.” So accept the ‘how’ for reaching happiness, and make the time to improve your mind – and enjoy your life, while it lasts!
Other Methods Include:
Arts and crafts, listening to music, playing a musical instrument, decorating something (a room or an object), reading a book, casually hang out with friends, cook meals with healthy whole foods, bake something nice.
There are countless ways tidy up your mind. You should work on finding a way that works for you.