3 Ways To Cut Through Mental Clutter – Today, clarity can be easy to lose, being bombarded with endless stimulus from television, you tube, podcasts, advertising, social media, radio, meetings, work.…….it is the information age. You can feel scattered and overloaded with the endless monkey brain chatter.
An easy way to explain this is, to liken our brains to computers filled with RAM for mental processing. Just like a computer, more applications you run, the slower it gets.
Our brain RAM is used for all kinds things, from thinking, recalling past events, analyzing data, to processing subconscious thoughts. The more RAM you have at your disposal, the more RAM you have to focus on your tasks at hand.
However, not all our RAM is available when we want them. At least half is occupied with mental clutter – thoughts running in the background.
What are these thoughts about? Anything, really – whether it’s some task we have to yet to do, some issue we are facing, some advertisement we just saw on TV just now, music we just heard or podcast we just listened to.
Majority of clutter is triggered by external stimuli. From the second you wake up in the morning, to when you sleep for the night, you are exposed to endless stimuli in your environment. The more active contact you have with the world, the more stimuli you are exposed to. If you are a busy corporate executive, you probably get bombarded with lots of stimuli every day, from your workplace, the society and mass media. Even if you live like a hermit, you will still be faced with your own set of external stimuli.
It’s never obvious how much of these stimuli impacts us until we stop to observe our mental activity, through introspection or meditation. Think of this clutter as the unimportant programs and applications running in your computer. You don’t need them for your computer to function. But by virtue of them running in the background, they’re using precious resources. When we don’t process the clutter, we’ll get to a point where we have less and less RAM available, until there’s barely any left. Everything is choked up and super slow – we are overwhelmed, stressed and our brain comes to a halt.
3 Ways To Cut Through Mental Clutter so you are clear, calm and able to free up mental space.
Sleep, specifically REM sleep. Luckily, we have a biological process in which we clear this clutter. However, it’s not the most effective clutter clearing process since we only undergo REM during 25% of our sleep time. The other 75% is non-REM.
Meditation also helps to clear mental clutter. Helping you to feel calmer and experience clearer states of minds. Even, if it is a quick 5 minutes or a regular 10 mins each morning or night. However, sometimes it’s hard in midst of chaos – at work, or feeling too restless to meditate, or too tired and falling asleep. With meditation, the thought is processed as it “floats” around and out of your head.
3. Brain dumping:
This is a quick, effective & simple tool you can do anywhere and as often as you like. Fantastic for clearing mental blockages fast.
- Find a pen & paper or keyboard.
- Write whatever comes to mind. When I say whatever, I mean whatever. For example, if you are looking at the paper and thinking “wow, this looks so white”, then write that. If you don’t know what to write, then just write “I don’t know what to write”. Basically just get whatever is on your mind down. There’s no need to overthink this. It’s just to get down what you are thinking.
- Keep doing this for the next 15 minutes, or however long it takes for your mind to feel clearer. Sometimes just 10 minutes is sufficient, while other times 35 minutes or more is needed, during the times when you’re really bogged down.
With this exercise though, the speed you write determines how fast it gets processed. If you write fast, you can process a lot of clutter really quickly
I use this when I’m feeling mentally bogged, need my full focus on an upcoming task, or need more energy and clarity for an upcoming task. You can get a lot of clutter cleared out in just 15 minutes and feel so much lighter, clearer and awake. Concentration becomes easy.
It’s interesting to read back on what you have written after the 15 minutes. Usually you will notice your thoughts jumping all over the places. One moment you may be thinking about what you had for breakfast, the next thinking about your meeting with your boss last week, the next thinking about your next holiday. As random as they may be, as queer as they may seem, these thoughts have always been in your mind – the exercise just brings them out so you can release them. The longer you spend on this exercise, the more clutter you can clear, and the greater your mental clarity.
Of course, it doesn’t mean that you stop thinking about X after you clear a thought. Maybe you have 50 strands of thought about X and the exercise only removes 2 strands of those thoughts. Maybe you come across X later or something that reminds you of X, thus retriggering the thought.
Since you will always be exposed to stimuli, you need to repeatedly do the brain dumping exercise to maintain this mode of increased mental clarity. Just like eating, sleeping and showering you need to do this frequently as part of the maintenance declutter process. When done regularly, you will feel a greater sense of mental clarity and calm.
You can also take the exercise to the next level – beyond just dumping what’s on your mind, and dig into the root causes of those thoughts. Keep asking why, and dig into it. You may just arrive at some deep realizations in the process.
As for the contents of what you wrote, delete or trash them. There’s no need to keep them unless certain things gave you new insights and you want to keep them as an evaluation process.
Of course, you have the best results when you combine all 3 ways – consistent good quality sleep, daily meditation (10 minutes each morning or night is ideal) and brain dumping, as a regular quick release. Suddenly, a clear, calm, mentally energised version of yourself shows up most days – life is 100 times easier. Clarity is key for living your best life.
Clarity is a key component of 6 step framework on upcoming Nourish Restore Empower 2 Day Spring Retreat – Oct 14-16. Click here for details.