How to Clear Your Mind of Clutter
Minimizing the clutter in our lives has become the de facto goal of the 21st century. With the chaos of “bigger, better and more” finally reaching a crescendo, a resulting minimalist movement is now trying to clear away the debris and get us back to a simpler and easier way of life. It’s why we’re seeing so much more about scaling back our time commitments and reducing our spending. Even the heightened popularity of the tiny home movement can be traced back to our desire to cut the physical clutter out of our everyday lives. The overabundance of everything in our lives has become such a problem, in fact, that our mental health is suffering, as well. Too much stuff over stimulates our senses and distracts our attention, forcing us into a state of panic as we consider all the things that need to be organized and planned and cleaned (literally and figuratively). More stuff equals more stress, which in turn, makes it harder for us to focus. And with little focus, it’s harder for us to do what needs to be done. This, of course, just perpetuates the cycle. It’s a problem that affects us all. The good news is there is a solution. Meditation can help us clear our minds so that we have the mental energy needed to attack the things that really matter to us.
What is Meditation?
At any given time, our mind races with questions and thoughts on a variety of topics. We ask ourselves big questions like “What caused the Big Bang?” or littler ones like “What is an EB1 visa?” We wonder about the meaning of life and what we’re going to make for dinner. We worry about our messy laundry rooms and the three doctors’ appointments we have next week. Meditation can either be defined as the contemplation of the questions and thoughts that we have on a subject or it can mean the total opposite. It can be the practice of clearing all contemplation from our minds so that we can completely relax. It’s this second definition that can help us deal with the anxiety we have from our overscheduled and overfilled lives.
How Do You Practice Meditation?
There are many different ways to meditate, but all of them focus on training the mind. Whether through mindfulness, transcendental, focused or some other type of meditative technique, a person learns to clear his or her mind of critical thought, focusing instead on a specific object, saying or pattern of breath in an effort to become physically and mentally calm.
One of the easiest meditative techniques to first learn is focused meditation. To start, sit or lie in a comfortable position. While many beginners find it useful to be in a quiet place, seasoned practitioners may find they can meditate whenever and wherever the urge strikes. Close your eyes and breathe slowly and deeply. Concentrate on pulling air into your nose and then releasing it out of your body through your mouth. Try not to think of anything, but if you do, simply return your focus to your breath as it goes in and out. As with any type of training, practice improves performance. Don’t worry if your mind wanders more than it focuses at first. Over time, you will inevitably refine your meditative skills.
The Benefits of Meditation
Meditation makes us more aware of what we think. By routinely clearing our minds, we can override the thoughts and feelings that may have become automatic responses for us and instead reconsider them based on the new information we encounter everyday. Too frequently, we simply exist on a type of autopilot, which hides our motivations and true beliefs. Meditating can give us the energy and clarity to label and attend to our true priorities and clear out the remaining useless clutter.