“Most people don’t think about clutter being something that accumulates in the mind. But we think thousands of thoughts every day, and not all those thoughts serve us.”
Calm AF Decluttering Series: Mental Clutter
Hello, Gorgeous Soul.
We are moving through our Calm AF decluttering series…tending to the whole Calm AF system, the mind, the body, the bubble.
Last week we talked about decluttering your physical space, the stuff that you interact with energetically regularly, your home, your car, your workspace.
The biggest takeaway of that episode was how important it is to do the PRE work of decluttering. Knowing how you accumulate clutter, why you accumulate clutter, what your story with clutter is, your thoughts about your stuff.
If you don’t do the prework, you will continue reaccumulating or repeating old patterns.
Today we’re going to move to the MIND portion of the Calm AF system.
We’re going to talk about all the clutter that’s accumulating in your brain.
Because if you think that drawer has a lot of clutter, just wait until we get into the mind and body.
And I don’t say that to freak anyone out…I say that because people often don’t think about clutter being something you accumulate in your mind. We aren’t taught to think of thoughts and emotions of things that actually take up space.
Let’s do math.
Every day your brain processes a LOT of thoughts. If you try and google this information you are going to find a wide wide range of numbers from 6,000-70,000 thoughts per day.
For the sake of this episode let’s just use a number in the middle, Let’s say 30000 thoughts.
I want you to think about this number for a minute.
30000 thoughts in a day.
In case you didn’t know this…there are 1440 minutes in a day.
1440 minutes to think 30000 thoughts.
Now while each thought technically isn’t taking up physical space in your brain, I want you to think of it energetically.
Think of the sayings like “the weight of the world on my shoulders”. You don’t have LITERAL weight on your shoulders when you are worried or stressed, but it sure FEELS like it. Because energetically the feelings and thoughts and fears and everything are taking up a shit ton of energetic space.
And if I were to ask you how many of those thoughts are you ACTIVELY aware of?
How many would you guess?
According to the National Science foundation about 95% of those are automatic thoughts, meaning they are being THOUGHT without your awareness or effort.
95% of 30000 is 28,500 thoughts just running amok, unattended, unsupervised in your brain.
How does a thought become an automatic thought?
Thoughts that you think VERY VERY often create strong neural pathways that don’t require your effort to use.
Many of these neural pathways are created when we’re children and lots of them are a result of learning skills too.
You don’t have to THINK about brushing your teeth anymore. You don’t have to THINK about tying your shoes anymore. Youdon’t have to THINK about how to put your clothes on. So let’s be fair and say half or even 3/4 of your automatic thoughts are purposeful in your daily routines.
That leaves about 7000 thoughts. 7000 automatic thoughts that are just running around dictating how you feel, deciding what you do, deciding what you don’t do, deciding how you show up for your life. This isn’t actually where we’re going to focus today, though.
Not because those automatic thoughts aren’t important to declutter…they ARE…but I believe those are the thoughts you declutter with a support person…a therapist or a coach. For the same reasons hoarders often need professional help going through their spaces, I think the same is true for us going through our old stories and beliefs. We need help to see why thoughts that feel so very true AREN’T true.
Today, I want to give you actions that you can do on your own to get the mental decluttering ball rolling by putting our attention on those ACTIVE thoughts.
So more math.
If you are thinking 30000 thoughts in a day and 95% of those are automatic that means you are mindfully actively thinking about 1500 thoughts in a day.
Stop for a minute and consider the thoughts you are ACTIVELY noticing yourself thinking every day. What are you thinking on an average day?
How many of them are thoughts you are Trying to hold onto so you don’t forget?
How many are about your to-do list?
How many are about the things you need to do but are afraid to do?
How many of your active thoughts are creating overwhelm and confusion, either causing you to spin out or shut down?
How many of those 1500 thoughts are empowering?
How many of them are supportive of how you WANT to feel in your life?
How many of those 1500 thoughts are moving you TOWARDS the life you want to live?
Being honest, for most of us? Not a ton. Because there isn’t SPACE for it.
Most of us are using our active thoughts to worry, to problem solve for problems that haven’t happened yet, to come up with ways to make sure people aren’t thinking negative thoughts about us, ruminating over that conversation you had earlier, comparison thoughts to people you think are doing life better than you, trying to figure out how to CHANGE who you are so that you can finally FEEL worthy or at least a little bit better.
Now I’m being a BIT dramatic here, not all of the 1500 thoughts are gloom and doom thoughts, BUT here’s why it’s important to zoom out and observe this.
If all of your head space is taken up with THOSE thoughts, there’s less room for EMPOWERING thinking. There’s less time and space for you to focus on thoughts that WILL move you towards your future Calm AF life.
THIS is why we start here. To create space.
Ok first decluttering tool is the brain dump.
I encourage you to incorporate this as a near daily habit, and just like the daily physical decluttering habit, you’re going to pick a doable amount of time to allot to this each day…I suggest 5-10 minutes.
You’re going to set that timer and then DUMP your thoughts out of your head and onto the piece of paper. It can be on your phone but I recommend physically writing it on paper.
Think of this as the equivelant to taking all the stuff out of the drawer and putting it on the counter when you’re decluttering a drawer. You are taking it out to see what’s there and mindfully deciding what is clutter and what’s not. What gets to go back in the drawer and what needs to be tossed.
You are going to dump the thoughts on paper to see what’s in there and then you’re going to go through those thoughts and TRASH the ones that aren’t true, that aren’t loving, that aren’t moving you towards what you want, that you wouldn’t say to a 6 year old.
Just cross those out. They are the clutter thoughts. They don’t get to go back in your head.
I know you want to make this more complicated like “Well what then???” And I promise you just the act of doing THIS will start increasing your awareness of what thoughts you ARE having.
The next steps would be taking the thoughts through the rewire process and that’s the part I recommend you do with support.
Another BIG source of mental clutter, like I mentioned, is all the shit you’re trying to remember. You’re spending SO much energy trying to remember shit. In order to decrease this mental load I suggest you get yourself a cheap tabbed notebook and every time you’re like “Oh I need to remember this…you write it down.”
One section can be for random daily reminders…call the dentist, get oil changed, send the tax stuff to the accountant.
Another can be for projects that you really want to get to someday but don’t have time for when you think of it. And then when you DO have the time, you totally forget you wanted to do that.
Really this is just a place for you to put things on paper so you don’t need to clutter up your brain with it.
Next, how much of your day do you spend thinking about how you should spend your day? What things you should do? When you’re going to do them?
This is where the tool of time blocking comes in. OHHHH time blocking the one tool that I kind of hold close to my chest because it can be so easily used AGAINST yourself.
Time Blocking IS a productivity tool. You definitely will be more productive in your days when you use Calm AF time blocking BUT it’s not about cramming your day full of shit because you think that productivity and busy-ness equal worthiness. I simply won’t be a participant in that bullshit and so I only teach this inside my programs to my clients. In calm AF Life we’ve got our time blocking workshop coming up very soon and know everyone is looking forward to that.
But essentially timeblocking is assigning times to your to-do list so that you can see what is possible to get done in a day, take things off your to-do list that cannot FIT in a day AND first thing we always do is make sure YOU have a spot on that time blocking schedule.
Again, this is to decrease the amount of active thoughts you are trying to keep track of to CLEAR space for thoughts you’d LIKE to think on purpose.
Here’s a way for you to REDUCE the amount of clutter you are bringing in drastically.
Be DISCERNING about the information you are taking in, whether it’s social media, books, podcasts, whatever. Run it through the filter. ESPECIALLY am I using it? Whenever you hear something on a podcast or read something in a book that you’re like “Oh I should do that” or “I need to figure out how to make that happen” or whatever…and you are not actually doing it? It’s mental clutter. It’s taking up space.
Declutter the info you are consuming by being SUPER honest about whether or not you are going to USE this, or it’s just gonna sit in your brain taking up energetic space.
And if it’s something that you think you WANT to do at some point, write it in that notebook “Hey go back and listen to this episode about being more productive”
One of the biggest space sucks in your brain is SHOULDS. I should do this. I should do that. And consumption of social media or podcasts or books is the biggest culprit.
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And if you want to dig deeper and work with a coach who’s GOT YOU, contact me to set up a free consult or to apply for my exclusive coaching program, Calm AF Life. I love working with people who are hard on themselves, the over-thinkers, people pleasers, perfectionists, and overachievers. Any of this ringing your bell? I’d love to hear from you!