“Emotional clutter” – rubble that hinders an intentional life

emotional clutter hinders an intentional life

Our health is affected by our psycho-social well-being.

This is not news. When we become self-aware and mindful, we may be able to recognise how ‘emotional clutter’ could prevent us from living lifestyles of intention and simplicity.

In a world that is hectic, busy and hurried, simplicity is not. (In) a society that is rushing to gain more, satisfaction with less is often regarded as counter-cultural. It is however not always the physical clutter that makes you stumble in your search of such simplicity.  It is ‘emotional clutter’ –  the subconscious mental “rubble” that stands in the way of our peace of mind.

Emotional clutter robs us from living meaningful lives

Intentions and desires for healthy living, successful careers and constructive relationships may be true for us.  It is however often the unseen, or underlying mental clutter, that sabotage our thinking and action in achieving these. Disruptive feelings distort our intuition and ability to discern the truth.  It also hinders us from interpreting what is really happening, or what is possible. Such state of uncertainty makes it difficult for us to act upon new experiences in a healthy way.

Identifying emotional clutter is tricky, because not everyone is self-aware. An abundance of worries or unresolved issues could be very real mental stumbling blocks.  The first step to dealing with emotional clutter is the ability to IDENTIFY it when it sneaks into our lives and relationships.

Emotional clutter in a busy digital world

One of the least expected culprits that keeps emotional clutter piling up, is the endless stimulation in a connected world. Our inability to ‘slow down’, or shut off and deal with unresolved emotions literally build up like clutter does.  And it’s made worse by an uncertainty about the future, past regrets or guilt.

In order to be healthy, we need the ability to be both stimulated and soothed. We need to be productive AND to let rest restore us.  This can only be done if we identify the mental and emotional stumbling blocks impacting on our wellness.  Make time in a busy schedule to ‘soothe’ the mind.  Find a focal point, maybe outside and clear your mind.  Enjoy this time, being mindful to keep thoughts at bay, knowing you could return later to these.  Make small side notes of worries and fears and other feelings, but ‘park’ these to deal with in a constructive manner later. Being aware is always the first step towards being more healthy.

Small steps forward to a better mindspace

Emotional decluttering does not need to be overwhelming. Here are some practical tips:

1. Reorganise your highest priorities and re-evaluate your commitments.

2. Allow yourself to let go of the past to make room for new things to enter your life.

3. Commit to making decisions you’ve been putting off.

4. Challenge limiting beliefs about yourself and about how things should be.

5. Reframe your attitude about what happens to you. Think positively even if you’re having a hard time. Pair a negative feeling with a positive one.

Our freedom of choice is limited by emotional clutter – deal with it.

Emotional clutter hinders us from having clear thinking.  It clouds our ability to navigate our way forward. Let’s not underestimate the importance of freedom of choice to validate that we are in control of our lives.  We are not victims of external forces.




• Joshua Becker, Author ‘The More of Less’: http://www.becomingminimalist.com/the-helpful-guide-to-living-an-intentional-life/
• Doreen Dodgen-Magee, Author ‘Deviced! Balancing Life and Technology in a Digital World’ http://redtri.com/how-to-konmari-your-mind/
• Abigail Brenner, Author of ‘Transitions: How Women Embrace Change and Celebrate Life’ https://www.psychologytoday.com/intl/blog/in-flux/201804/5-ways-regroup-reprioritize-and-renew-yourself

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