How do I clear my mind?
“All wonders you seek are within yourself.” – Sir Thomas Browne
I have quite a few clients who come to me feeling overwhelmed, with a goal around something like wanting more clarity in their lives. Why is it so many of us seek the peace and balance we think will come with a clear mind? I think it’s because when we have glimpses of it, when we have experienced so called clarity, we know how beneficial it is and we understand that life just seems to flow better. We’re able to make decisions more freely and can take each moment as it comes; we are more present. So, how can you obtain more clarity in your thinking?
Here are some tips:
Go inwards and have clarity as your goal:
Deepak Chopra suggests that there are three areas which block our potential and path to fulfilment. These “three ingredients make up the managerial part of mental life:
Confusion: this manifests as not setting clear priorities because the path ahead doesn't look clear and decisive.
Distraction: this manifests as a hundred small things that pull your attention this way and that.
Disorganization: this manifests as a lack of orderly thinking that leads to productive results.”
He invites us to shift to having clarity as a goal in itself, “If your goal is clarity, set aside the thoughts and sensations that fill your mind every day. Focus instead on the goal of finding clarity.
Confusion is solved by getting your priorities straight.
Distraction is solved by getting better at focusing your attention.
Disorganization is solved by throwing out non-essentials and tending to the important things first.”
There are multiple benefits to meditation, and gaining more clarity and inducing a sense of calm, are just two. Here’s an analogy: think of your mind like a computer's RAM (the bit of a computer that does all the analysing, thinking and interpreting). When you have too many programs (thoughts) running in the background on a computer, the more important programs slow down. Regular meditation can help you close these unwanted programs and clear your mind of inefficient, noisy thoughts. And with a clearer mind we you are able to work and take decisions with clarity. There are many resources out there to encourage you on your meditation journey, from apps to classes to YouTube videos. If you haven’t tried it, I invite you to make the time – just 10 minutes out of your 24 hours in the day – to be with your breath.
“Empty your mind, be formless, shapeless - like water. Now you put water into a cup, it becomes the cup, you put water into a bottle, it becomes the bottle, you put it in a teapot, it becomes the teapot. Now water can flow or it can crash. Be water, my friend.” Bruce Lee
Clear the clutter:
I did a blog on this one a little while ago, where I invited you to have a good clear out of the clutter in your home and space.It’s hard to think straight or not feel overwhelmed when you’re living in chaos or you can’t see your desk for the paperwork.The process of physically clearing and cleaning can help you feel lighter and give you back a sense of control.
Clutter is nothing more than postponed decisions” – Barbara Hemphill
Unplug and breathe:
Take some time daily to disconnect from your social media, phone, computer and other screens.There’s a lot of ‘noise’ out there and it’s hard to distinguish your own thinking from what you’re seeing and hearing externally. Let your thoughts come and go without judgement.Take nice deep breaths.Go for a walk, have a nice long bath...See what you see, feel what you feel, hear what you hear.Just be…
Play and Create:
Getting ‘lost’ in play or a creative project can be a wonderful way to re-connect with your imagination and the child within you.For meditative creativity, go for colouring books, puzzles, drawing/painting, or get really stuck in with craft making, or building a den with your kids. Having fun, laughing, getting curious, exploring ideas…all these can help de-tangle the mind and ease the overwhelm.
“The creation of something new is not accomplished by the intellect but by the play instinct acting from inner necessity. The creative mind plays with the objects it loves.” Carl Jung
Mind mapping & check-in questions:
A fun way to explore ideas or options that might be clogging your head is to mind map. Use a big sheet of paper, lots of coloured pens and map out those ideas in a way that allows you to visualise and make connections. For more about mind maps, click here.
You can also use mind maps to visualise the answers to these check-in questions:
What is important to me?
What do I want more of in my life?
What must change?
What’s stopping me?
What could I do this week to move towards my goals?
It can be hard to juggle life when you have so much going on, pulling you in different directions. It is very easy to get distracted, to procrastinate and then feel confused and fuzzy in your thinking. It’s at this point that you are letting those outside factors in your life influence how you feel, so as most of the wisdom traditions would teach us, it is really by going within, by getting close to who you really are, that you can make choices and decisions with greater clarity, from your true self.
“You will recognize your own path when you come upon it, because you will suddenly have all the energy and imagination you will ever need.” – Jerry Gillies