Declutter your mind summary author says the goal of this book is simple: This book will teach you the habits, actions, and mindsets you can use to clean up the mental clutter that might be holding you back from being more focused and mindful. If you desire to have a simplified, calm mental life—and to reclaim some of the time and emotional energy you give up to overthinking and anxiety then you’ve come to the right place.
Declutter Your Mind By Barrie Davenport & S.J Scott
Summary of Declutter Your Mind
DECLUTTERING YOUR THOUGHTS
It’s not a daily increase, but a daily decrease. Hack away at the inessentials.Bruce Lee
An excessive amount of stress is the primary reason many people feel overwhelmed by life. In fact, the stress created by information overload, physical clutter, and the endless choices required from these things can trigger an array of mental health issues like generalized anxiety, panic attacks, and depression.
Couple this stress with the legitimate worries and concerns in your life, and you may find yourself with sleep problems, muscle pain, headaches, chest pain, frequent infections, and stomach and intestinal disorders.
We worry about our health, our jobs, our kids, the economy, our relationships, how we look, what other people think of us, terrorism, politics, pain from the past, and our unpredictable futures. Our thoughts about these things make us suffer and undermine the happiness we could experience right now if we didn’t have that constant voice in our heads stirring things up.
Sam Harris says, “There is an alternative to simply identifying with the next thought that pops into consciousness.” That alternative is mindfulness . Mindfulness requires retraining your brain to stay out of the mental clutter from the future and focus instead on the present moment. When you are mindful, you no longer attach to your thoughts. You are simply present in whatever you happen to be doing.
Habit 1 : Focused Breathing
Even though you take about 20,000 breaths a day, you probably don’t think about your breathing very often. Your brain adjusts your breathing to the needs of your body automatically. When you’re climbing stairs or going for a run, you don’t have to think, “I better breathe deeper and harder to get more oxygen to my muscles.” It just happens.
One of the best ways to detach from negative thoughts and gain control over your mind is through slow, deep, rhythmic breathing . This focused breathing stimulates the parasympathetic nervous system, reducing your heart rate, relaxing muscles, calming the mind, and normalizing brain function. Deep breathing helps you feel connected to your body, shifting your awareness away from worry and quieting the inner dialog in your brain.
Rather than slouching at your desk or on the sofa at home, sit up straighter to allow more room for your lungs to take in oxygen. Become aware of areas where your body is tense, and mentally “breathe into” those areas, seeing them relax as you breathe.
Be conscious of breathing through your nose rather than your mouth. Your nose has defense mechanisms that prevent impurities and excessively cold air from entering your body. Your nose also can detect poisonous gases that could be harmful to you. Viruses and bacteria can enter the lungs through mouth breathing, so let your nose do the work.
Habit 2 : Meditation
Meditation is not a way of making your mind quiet. It’s a way of entering into the quiet that’s already there—buried under the 50,000 thoughts the average person thinks every day.Deepak Chopra
You don’t have to be a Buddhist, a mystic, or a crystal-carrying ex-hippie to practice meditation. You can belong to any spiritual or religious faith or have no religious affiliation at all to reap the benefits of meditation and use it as a tool for decluttering your mind.
Meditation has been practiced for thousands of years and originates in ancient Buddhist, Hindu, and Chinese traditions. There are dozens of styles of meditative practices, but most practices begin with the same steps—sitting quietly, focusing attention on your breath, and dismissing any distractions that come your way .
The key to finding satisfaction with meditation is simply to practice . By making a daily commitment to meditation, you will improve your skills and discover how the mental, physical, and emotional benefits increase over time.
Habit 3 : Reframe All Negative Thoughts
Our thinking processes are necessary for survival and for competing in a modern world. Critical thinking gives us the ability to solve problems quickly and effectively. Creative thinking allows us to develop original, diverse, and elaborate ideas and connections. But it’s the uninvited negative thinking that clutters our minds and often drains our enthusiasm for life.
Break the cycle using distraction. Do something that will occupy your mind so there’s no room for the negative thoughts. Immerse yourself in a project that involves focus and brainpower. If you’re stuck in the car or waiting in line, go through the multiplication tables in your head or try to memorize a poem.
The Author says overthinking is usually a pointless activity, so why not turn that energy into structured thinking and then action? When your thoughts are cluttered, do something positive that will distract you from negative thoughts. Just about anything that requires some brain power and focus will do the trick, but we suggest you take mindful action—action that focuses on your values, goals, or priorities.