Our minds are buzzing with 50,000 thoughts a day. According to neuroscientist, Dr. Bruce Lipton, 95% of those thoughts are automatic, subconscious thoughts.
While our subconscious mind helps us remember to breathe, and protects us from danger, it also creates automatic mental programming that can fill our minds with unhelpful negative thoughts.
The good news is we can streamline, and declutter these thoughts. Below you'll find five simple and proven ways to create mental space.
No 1. Reduce Information Overload
With all these attention-grabbing headlines at our fingertips, we're spending an average of 5 hours per day on our phones, that's a third of our waking life! In fact, we’re consuming 5x more content than people did in the 90s, crazy right?! While there’s immense value in learning and expanding our worldviews, it's important to recognize when it's taking a toll on your emotions. If mental clutter is making you feel blah and stressed out, try the free Moment app. It gives you insight into how much time you spend on your phone. I've definitely noticed a correlation between my mood and my phone usage.
No 2. Take Deep Breaths
Your brain is wired to overthink, worry, and keep busy. By taking deep breaths, you bring your mind back to the present moment. This initiates your parasympathetic nervous system’s relaxation response, aka, it calms you down! By creating this quiet space, your focus improves and you're able to reduce your mental clutter. Building up a meditation routine is a great way to remember to take deep breaths. If you're just getting started with meditation, try Simple Habit, they have several free, 5-minute sessions, my favorite series is the '31-Day Fresh Start.'
No 3. Change Your Environment
Decluttering your physical state can also play a significant role in decluttering your mental state. Sometimes, going for a simple walk or run can clear your mind. Other times, clarity comes from completely tidying up your physical space. In Marie Kondo's book, she shares how your living space impacts all aspects of your life.
No 4. Eliminate Decision Fatigue
If you've ever felt exhausted by the number of little choices you have to make every day, you're not alone. What you’re experiencing is decision fatigue. One way to combat it is by reducing the number of choices in your wardrobe. This framework is helpful for developing a rotation of go-to pieces that you'll love wearing and will save you time getting dressed each day.
No 5. Spend Less Time Browsing
Between online stores and two-day shipping, shopping is more convenient than ever before. But have you ever considered how much time you spend browsing? A search for a basic t-shirt, can turn into a 3-hour browsing session, where you're viewing product after product, and review after review. Before you know it, your mind is focused on shopping instead of tackling your priority list. To avoid getting sucked into the browsing black hole, be deliberate what you're looking for (here's how), and set a time limit.
Remember, it's totally normal for our minds to get cluttered, so we can give ourselves a break when it does happen, and simply take one little mindful step forward!