Organization Begins with the Brain
Perhaps you’ve always been the organized type, or maybe you’ve embraced the “get organized” trend and decided that the clutter in the spaces where you live simply has to go.
Either way, visions of beautiful, organized spaces might be dancing in your head. If so, they’re definitely not alone. Each of us experiences about 60,000 thoughts a day, likely leaving your brain more cluttered than any of your living spaces!
So before you rely on a newly organized home or office to provide the peace and calm you’re hoping for, try going back to basics and taking a look at your mind.
Signs of an Unorganized Mind
Those 60,000 thoughts a day are coming in and you sift through them, filing some here, putting some there and keeping lots of them front-and-center—allowing them to loop over and over in your mind.
If your mind isn’t organized, those 420,000 thoughts a week (nearly 22 million a year!) are going to cause chaos, stress and overwhelm.
Stress and overwhelm don’t feel good, and they cause us to become irritable, procrastinate, make poor decisions and indulge in destructive behaviors such as overeating, overdrinking and overspending.
If we allow our minds to get cluttered with all of those thoughts, the negative effects will definitely show up in our lives.
What to do With All Those Scattered Thoughts
Imagine your mind as a house, with special rooms for certain categories of thoughts. What rooms do you have in your house?
We all have a space for subconscious thoughts—those that we rarely recognize—that enable us to walk and talk and brush our teeth with little mental effort. There are also rooms for memories, judgments and grudges, self-talk, future plans and dreams, appreciations and more. Many of us might have an entire room set aside just to answer the question, “What’s for dinner tonight?”
Take a look at your thoughts and make time to categorize them carefully. It’s the same as organizing your house. Is each thought useful? Is there enough space to store it? You get to choose which thoughts to keep and which to let go.
When you take a tour through the house in your mind, are there rooms that you’d rather not enter? Are there some in which you’ve been hoarding thoughts that are no longer serving you? You must ask yourself if you want to keep living in the same house with the same rooms with the same thoughts that just keep piling up and weighing you down.
Go into those rooms.
Let go of those thoughts.
Make space for new perspectives, ideas and goals.
When you make a practice of doing this, you’ll see positive effects in your life. Imagine how you might redesign the house in your mind with carefully selected thoughts that are positive and that serve you. When you bring in a new thought, do it deliberately and purposefully. Make sure it’s useful and good.
Want to keep your mind organized and clutter free? Declutter each day with a journaling exercise called a thought download. Use a pretty journal or a simple sheet of paper and take five minutes to write down your thoughts—anything that comes to mind. Then read what you’ve written, with curiosity and without judgment.
This exercise allows you to release unwanted thoughts and see the value of those you’d like to keep. It also reinforces the idea that all of your thoughts are optional.
Think of it like this. Imagine that you’re cleaning out one of the closets in the house in your mind. Take out everything, then only put back the thoughts that are satisfying, healthy and positive.
Get out your journal and get to work. You’re the caretaker of the house in your mind. Put in the effort to make it beautiful.