We are so fortunate to have professionals and fellow humans on similar journeys towards meaningful and healthy living.
In a world that is infinitely connected to people globally, many offer online advice on tips for emotional decluttering. This is based on their own invaluable experience in dealing this topic.
Francine Jay, author of ‘The Joy of Less: A Minimalist Guide to Declutter, Organize, and Simplify’ a.k.a. Miss Minimalist, is one such special person. She advocates the principal that less could be more. Besides, one powerful tip she suggests, is to re-frame the way we think about spaces. For instance, ‘surfaces are not for storage, but for functions’ (activities). Makes total sense, doesn’t it? Now, the logical implication – for a productive, stress-free life: these spaces should be kept clear and clean.
There are numerous similar tips to deal with physical clutter. Likewise, our emotional decluttering requires tried-and-tested techniques.
Seven (7) techniques to tackle emotional clutter
In one of our previous blogs, we referred to the types of emotional clutter that could affect us.
The few techniques described below may be used as signposts to point us in the right direction for emotional decluttering.
No 1 – Know your clutter
Our ability to identify the type of emotional clutter we deal with, is pivotal in handling it correctly. Besides, we need to identify what is trash and what is treasure. We also need to differentiate between feelings in a moment, e.g. anxiety about a test, and deep-seated emotional layers, e.g. long-term worry/fear about something important.
No 2 – Be open for professional help & make the call
Some emotional baggage could be unpacked by yourself. Closure is possible in a quiet, private way over time as you manage to declutter emotionally. This could, for instance, be from breakup with the loved one. Some emotional turmoil, however, could affect your day to day functionality so adversely that professional help may be needed. Therefore, understand the difference.
No 3 – Do ‘the work’ daily by focusing on a more constructive emotions
Remember your emotional state of being, like your physical state, did not happen overnight. Your being overwhelmed with the decluttering process is understandable. Emotions are often rooted deep into our psyche. If you know ‘anger’ is consuming you to the extent of not enjoying life, you need act. Therefore, replace it with constructive actions, e.g doing what brings you contentment and joy.
No 4 – Make time to unwind and recharge mentally and emotionally
We live in stressful, demanding times. Most importantly, to remain emotionally balanced and stable, we need to make the time to relax. This could be in the form of a digital break or just time out during the day. Such breaks will make it easier to deal with emotional clutter, especially after incidents of trauma, illnesses, relocating or prolonged stress.
No 5 – Reduce digital noise
Digital overload and consuming information we are fed, seem to be the norm in society. “Being connected” has become important for many people’s senses of belonging and control.
However, the opposite seems to be true according to a study by Stanford University. It was found that people who are regularly bombarded with several streams of electronic information, often suffer the consequences. This refers to their inability to pay attention or control their memory.
If you care to deal with emotions that linger effectively, turn your attention to it. This can be done by turning down the digital input in your life.
No 6 – Avoid multitasking and the stress that accompanies it
Multitasking is NOT a sign of success or being productive. In fact, it actually causes stress and fragmented thoughts – leading to mental clutter.
A major disadvantage of multitasking is the added stress it puts on you. Researchers have found that people’s heart rates are actually higher when they multitask. In addition, having your attention spread over many things at once, reduces your short-term memory.
No 7 – Be decisive and move on
As we procrastinate with decisions, our emotional clutter could become overwhelming. One of the best ways to make decisions is the WRAP method. This technique involves four key steps:
• Widen your options. Be careful to close yourself off to any alternatives due to being bias.
• Reality – test your assumptions
• Attain distance before deciding
• Prepare to be wrong. Do not be attached to get it right
Observe those with balanced, healthy lifestyles around you
Much can be learned from the people we admire. Observing the way they deal with their emotions, and incidents potentially triggering emotional baggage, could serve as life-lessons.
By DORETTE du PREZ
• Noma Nazish, Digital Journalist:: https://www.forbes.com/sites/nomanazish/2017/11/19/how-to-declutter-your-mind-10-practical-tips-youll-actually-want-to-try/
• Professor Clifford Nass, Stanford University, interviewed for article, “Media multitaskers pay mental price, Stanford study shows..” by Adam Gorlick:: https://news.stanford.edu/2009/08/24/multitask-research-study-082409/
• Dr Debi Silber, President/CEO of Debi Silber Companies, LLC. and founder of www.PBTInstitute.com:: https://pbtinstitute.com/the-dangers-of-multitasking/
• Chip Heath & Dan Heath:: “Decisive: How to Make Better Choices in Life and Work”