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Declutter Your Mind

Often, we try to juggle so many responsibilities and concerns that our mind becomes heavily weighed down. Saiyyidah Zaidi offers some valuable tips on decluttering our minds.

Have you ever thought of all the noise that goes on inside your head? If you live in an urban context you probably hear a lot of noise, different noises, all around you. Even if you are in your home in an isolated location you will hear a variety of different noises at the same time. Now imagine all that transferred to your mind – all the different noises inside your head. It can be overwhelming to think of all the noise going on inside your mind but no doubt there will be a lot, especially if you are a busy Muslimah. Did you know that it is possible for you to remove almost all that noise and declutter your mind? The process is not hard but de-cluttering creates peace, helps you prioritise what is important in life and also enables you to have new, fresh, vibrant thoughts to occupy your mind. Even if there isn’t much going on and you have cleared your mind of some of the clutter there is room for improvement.


The human brain is a very complex organ and we are still trying to decipher it. In the recent past, scientists have discovered heart neurons that are similar to the neurons in the brain that connect memories and thoughts and help you work things out. I believe that there is a link between the heart and mind. What you think becomes what you feel and vice versa. So imagine being in a scenario where your mind is full of the scars of old traumas and painful experiences, which are layered in so many levels of consciousness and unconsciousness that even the best psychologists and scientists are unable to bring clarity to it. But you can start to declutter your mind and free yourself of a lot of that noise and free up space for thoughts that will produce positive effects. Some people have even said that thinking too much and having too many thoughts in our mind is a method of avoidance; because so much is going on inside our minds, we avoid change or use it as a form of procrastination and do not do the things that really matter in life.


The problem with clutter in your mind is that it is very similar to a cluttered room – it’s messy and you are unable to think straight or feel the right emotions and the beliefs that you have associated with that space tend to be negative.


So, I know you are now desperate to find out how to declutter your mind. How do you create a space in your mind that feels calming and peaceful? If you implement the following tips, you will be well on your way to replacing the clutter in your mind with tranquillity. The best thing is that when you declutter your mind your relationship with Allah (SWT) will improve as you will have increased presence and khushoo’ (focus in your salah).


Take out the garbage  
The first thing to do is to create some space in your mind by doing a major spring clean. After all, if you don’t clean first there won’t be any space to redecorate!  The best way to do this is to take some paper and write down everything that comes to mind. I know people who have tried this exercise with a computer but it has not been as effective and that may be because they are trying to organise their thoughts or they are not accessing all parts of their mind. Write with a pen on paper as it is more deliberate. This first exercise could take a while so start with 20 minute bursts for a week and see where that gets you. If you think you have finished before the 20 minutes are up do not go and do something else, be patient and persist and you will be amazed at the other things that come out. What is beautiful about this is that when you clear your mind you create space for new ideas and thoughts and that will have an outstanding impact on you, your relationships and your studies or work.


Identify what is important
Now that you have masses of paper with thoughts, ideas and rambles it is a good idea to review and see what you have discovered. No doubt there will be many things in there that are important and you want to keep. So decide what you will keep and what you will delete. Now might be a good time to…


Start a journal
By writing down the important things you not only keep those thoughts in a safe place but you also create space for wonderful new thoughts too. A journal is something that a very high percentage of successful people do and when I started to keep one it really helped me with my business, not being late for important appointments and also to keep on track of the day-to-day, mundane things without too much effort.


Declutter your environment
Once your mind is clear of clutter you will find that you look at your home, your car, your workplace and all you see is clutter. It’s not that it is messy but when things are not in the right place it will be on your mind and take up space. Why not declutter these areas as it does have a very calming effect and increases positivity. To be honest, a cluttered house occupies your mind even if you don’t realise it.


Slow down
It may sound odd but slowing down and taking more time over things also removes clutter. It gives you the ability to think clearly and deliberately. It’s the same with breathing. Take a moment and think about how you breath. Does it just happen or are you deliberate about it and have engaged your body? When you are deliberate you slow down and take in more oxygen and are more relaxed. This is how life is; when you are trying to do everything at once not only is your mind cluttered but so is your body. So slow down, do the things that are essential. Life is worth enjoying so live life deliberately and live it at the pace you are comfortable with rather than the one you believe others want you to live at.


My final thought on this is about the myth of multitasking. I like to call it multi-failing. The idea that women can multitask may be true for some but there is a difference between doing an activity and doing it well with happiness. When you single-task you will be calmer, less cluttered and you can then file things away one by one and keep the in-tray in your mind clear.


Saiyyidah Zaidi is a business coach and positive psychologist and helps women to further their careers or business.  She is the founding partner of a City coaching practice and works with clients internationally and runs online training. To contact Saiyyidah with feedback or questions on the article please email saiyyidah@mcleanstone.com