Spring is with us and as the sun begins to shine it can show up a lot of dross. It is time for a good spring-clean. A client recently described our coaching sessions as de-cluttering his mind and it set me thinking how much easier focus, clarity and freedom of mind can be when the mind is clear of the mental chatter and clutter clogging up the creative thought process and creating anxiety .
Those of you who know me will have heard me talk about anxiety and the methods to overcome it are my focus this year. You may not realize just how many unuseful thoughts you are handling and trying to process subliminally until you stop for a break. There you are looking forward to some rest and relaxation, lying in the sun in the garden or running in the park and the body would be grateful if only your mind would give it a rest. And it will not, or does not know how to. It needs you – the central control center of you – to switch channels or switch off, and empty out the worries and irritating circular thoughts that achieves nothing for you but just keep running on automatic, not letting you rest.
What I call the thinking brain consultants it is doing its job as long as it is active and will continue to produce thoughts for you to pursue, however tedious, worrying and repetitive they are. Would not it be good to reassure that part of your mind that you will be back soon and then let the thoughts go by? Unless you find a way to do that, you will not reap the benefits and rewards of relaxation which are immense.
The trouble is the adrenaline buzz created by racing along in mind and body is seductive. It is easy to think that if we just keep going we will get past any stuck thoughts and blocks holding us up. Adrenaline feels so much better than anxiety and fear that we feel it must be a good thing. This is faulty thinking. It is certainly good for short-term leaps into action but very poor long-term fuel. Adrenaline is a drug, albeit a chemical you are producing yourself in your body, and there before you can suffer withdrawal symptoms when you stop producing it. You can feel initially exhausted as the true state of your health reveals itself. Also fear can set in that if you do not keep going, faster and faster, you will lose your edge or forget how to accomplish your goals. It can be difficult to accept that in fact a refreshed mind works so much more creatively and competently than a mind that is taxed and tired. So what to do?
De-cluttering the mind tips :
- Decide to experiment with slowing your mind down though scary it feels. Give yourself a time limit for this. In this way you reassure a part of your mind that you will not become a vegetable and resume everyday thinking at a certain time or day. You have to be strategic with the psyche and negotiate otherwise the thinking brain will fear redundancy!
- Worry a lot – but again within strict time limits. This is a cbt method which can work well. Decide to take time to do nothing but worry 5 – 15 minutes a day. I suggest you take no longer than 20 minutes for this. Then Stop! Tell yourself that you have done all the worries you are going to do for today. In this way you are taming your mind, much as you would a wayward pet causing havoc in your home.
- Find a picture, a metaphor which appeals to you for letting your thoughts go by. Images of thoughts as leaves in the wind or on a river; Clouds passing by in the sky which is the essence of the deer, more essential mind, work for me because I relate to wild life and nature so strongly, but you may imagine traffic passing by as you stand on a bridge over a motorway or whatever Works for you.
- Then smell the roses. Watch the real leaves and clouds moving on the breeze. Focus on the sensations in your body you normally do not take time to notice – variations from place to place of warmth and coolness; Heaviness or lightness; Tensions – but be kindly aware of them and do not struggle with them, just keep your awareness moving through your sensations. Pulses and rhythms, the dance of the blood in your veins. There will be areas in the body that feel good, we often do not notice them. In other words experience Now.
I would love to hear your experiences and metaphors for de-cluttering the mind which may help many other people in my coaching program for overcoming anxiety. Also do let me have your questions on anxiety you would like me to address in my next article.
Happy spring-cleaning and warm wishes from Avril
Source by Avril Allen