Category: minimalism. Date read: August 7, 2019. My rating: 3/5. Buy on Amazon.
We are hardwired to worry and view situations more negatively than they are. This book explains some mental clutter causes and techniques to clear your mind. Try them out, practice them, and keep what works for you.
Examine what you're thinking and how it impacts your mood, stress levels, and well-being in general.
Thoughts are necessary for analytic thinking but if left unchecked your mind will roam like a monkey generating mental clutter, distracting you from the present moment.
Don't quiet your mind with unhealthy behaviors like overeating, too much alcohol, excessive work, etc.
Identify what increases your daily stress. It can be information overload, physical clutter, or endless choices.
Realize that more choices, even though may offer better results, often leads to greater anxiety and dissatisfaction.
Reduce stuff that doesn't provide value. Too many gadgets to spend time with, too many streams with updates to read, too many sources of quick entertainment to fill up every idle moment. This doesn't necessarily provide value but they do use your time, productivity, and energy.
Detach from your negative thoughts by slow, deep, rhythmic breathing.
Try letting go of the notion that your spontaneous thoughts are important. Treat them as graffiti on a wall.
Decluttering Your Mind
Build the mental decluttering habit of focused deep breathing for 5 or 10 minutes.
- Determine a time of day to practice.
- Determine the setting and space so that you won't be distracted.
- Set a timer for 10 minutes.
- Sit on the floor or in a chair with your back straight.
- Inhale slowly, for four seconds, through your nose by gently pushing your stomach outwards.
- Pause for two seconds.
- Exhale slowly, for four seconds, allowing your stomach to return to its natural position.
- Pause for two seconds.
Meditate each day to increase your mental skills. Do the same focused deep breathing exercise but pay attention to your thoughts. If they begin to wander, don't judge yourself and gently focus back on the breathing and the present moment.
Stop framing thoughts as negative. Separate your "self" with your thoughts and observe them as an impartial bystander. They are not good nor bad. Name what you're feeling and acknowledge that they are nothing more than thoughts, nothing more than information. You decide how to react.
Don't allow negative thoughts to overwhelm your mind. Challenge them by replacing them with a previous event that had more desirable outcomes.
Accept what has happened and cannot be changed. Determine any actions to improve or rectify what happened. Seek out anything that you can learn from the experience. Find ways to endure it.
Timebox the amount of time, 10 or 15 minutes, that you will allow yourself to worry, letting your mind roam free but only during that time.
Decluttering Your Life
Figure out your core values; your guiding principles. They will help you make consistent decisions over time with less anxiety.
- Read Barrie Davenport's list of value words and write down all that feels important to your personal life.
- Read the list again and write down all that feels important to your career or business.
- For each list, pick the top five or six and label them "Life Values" and "Work Values".
- For each value, write down how you are currently living out of alignment.
- For each out of alignment habit, write down ideas on how to fix it.
- For each action, mark those that are actionable now. Start with those areas that you feel most discontent.
Use your values to help you stop doing what is not adding value and focus more on what is aligned with what you want out of life.
Decluttering Your Relationships
Listen in a non-judgemental way without being distracted by your mind.
Be willing to allow the other person to dominate the conversation, avoid interrupting, ask open-ended questions, and reflect what you heard them say.
Your behavior will encourage others to do the same and, even if they don't, you empower yourself to remain in control.
Practice radical self-acceptance. The person you are right now is all you've got.
Your partner is someone who is in your life to teach you something. At the very least, to teach you to be more present and compassionate.
Pay attention to the body language and reflect it. Listen without preparing your response or defense.
When you have an issue with somebody, wait until you're calm and less defensive. Share the issue without blame or criticism. Share how you perceived the issue, how you felt, and what you need from the other person to restore your connection.
Decluttering Your Surroundings
We react to what's in front of us. Clean up your surroundings and make your home a haven; a place where you feel happy and calm.
Cut back your activities. Realize that busyness contributes to your mental clutter.
Don't fit your priorities around your busy schedule. Schedule your priorities first.
Give yourself time during the day to do nothing. Stare out the window or walk outside.
Change is a constant in life so you might as well make it deliberate. Don't hold back happiness while you wait for some outcome; enjoy every step along the path.
Every day decide the three most important tasks you want to achieve. Allow yourself to do less but make sure that what you do is done with more intention, time, and focus.
Determine your most important tasks for the next day but, before you schedule something, ask yourself why it's important.
Monitor your emotional state. If you're anxious, try a breathing exercise or meditation. If you're tired, try doing something invigorating.
Be more deliberate. Instead of sipping your tea while thinking about all the things you need to do, drink your tea as it's the only important thing in the world.
Focus on doing rather than getting it done.