Let’s face it, there’s just something about the combination of a new year and a change of season that encourages a fresh start.
So when the frost starts to thaw, and our dreams of summer start to seem much closer, spring becomes the perfect time to clean out our homes, bodies, and minds.
So…why do we almost always spring clean our homes and our bodies, but forget to spring clean our minds?
Mental health and wellbeing is just as important as physical well-being, but there’s something about the lack of tangibility when it comes to our minds that leaves them neglected.
However, I say NO LONGER!
This is why I have compiled a list of some great ways that you can spring clean your mind to increase your mental wellbeing and promote a mind space conducive to peace and happiness.
7 Ways To Spring Clean Your Mind
We all know how to de-clutter are homes, but how do we de-clutter our minds?
Well, think about it like you would your home.
If you were surrounded by post-it notes with things to remember, mess in the form of unhealthy habits, and clutter formed from uncompleted tasks, you’d make changes pretty quickly!
But again, as mentioned, we can’t see all this mess when it’s stuck within our heads. So take some time to write it all down.
This activity, known to those in the journaling community as ‘brain dumping’ is a fantastic tool that I think more people should use.
I myself ‘brain dump’ at least once a week, and since starting the practice have seen a noticeable difference in the clarity of my thoughts as well as an overall reduction stress levels, leading to increase productivity and greater life satisfaction across the board.
To start brain dumping, all you need is a piece of paper or journal, and a pen or pencil of your choosing.
A cup of tea or coffee isn’t essential but is strongly advised!
Sit down and simply write the first things that come into your mind, anything and everything, from wants and wishes, to uncompleted tasks or up-and-coming events.
Don’t worry about making your page look aesthetic or organizing it in any specific way, as the process is much more about getting the clutter out of your mind and onto the page.
When you’ve completed your brain dump you can then read over what you’ve written, write up relevant things in planners or diaries, and even formulate a to-do list if you find this helps you.
Whatever you choose to do next, you’ll probably feel as though a mental weight has been lifted, and that your mind feels much clearer.
#2. Revise your Eating Habits
What you eat can have a direct impact on the function of your brain as well as your overall mental wellbeing.
Therefore if you’re looking to spring clean your mind you should also look at spring cleaning your diet.
I must mention for clarity that I am not suggesting you undertake some kind of punishing weight-loss diet full of juice cleanses and smoothies, what I am suggesting however, is that you put more thought into what you eat and how this might affect your state of mind.
To simplify what can be a tricky subject, think about your body like an engine.
With no fuel (food), your body is running on empty. So, if you skip meals or eat sporadically how can you expect your mind to function at its best?
Once you’ve rectified the when, you should next think about the what.
I’m definitely not saying to boycott chocolate or cake, or even chocolate cake, but if you’re keen to experience a happier mind, then you may need to factor in ‘good brain’ foods such as those containing fatty acids like omega 3 and omega 6.
Switching your tea, coffee, and cola to decaffeinated options has also been scientifically proven to support better brain function and mental peace.
Foods which have been linked to causing flare-ups of depression, anxiety, and general mental health distress include caffeine and trans fats, as well as being dehydrated and lacking in protein.
So, if you’ve struggled in the past with keeping your mind healthy, then reducing your intake of these foods and being sure to stay hydrated and packed with protein is definitely worth trying.
#3. Find or Nourish your Spiritual Outlet
One of the best things about being spiritual is that there’s no one prescribed way to be.
Some of us bring an aspect of faith into our lives, while others enjoy the art of scrying, such as through tarot, numerology, or runes.
Where others enjoy acts of relaxation or healing like Reiki, yoga, or mediation, many more of us enjoy our own custom blend best suited to our life outlook and personality.
Whatever your chosen spiritual activities are, you chose them because they bring you joy and peace within yourself.
However, busy 21st century lives aren’t often conducive to nourishing what matters to us, and we can often let what we love fall by the wayside.
Therefore, if it’s been a while since your last yoga session, or you haven’t reached for your tarot deck in some time, then reigniting your passion for your chosen spiritual activity can be the key to a happier and more peaceful mind.
If you’re reading this and are just starting your spiritual journey, or realize that your old passion no longer brings you joy, then don’t panic.
See this as an opportunity to expand your spiritual remit, to explore new ventures and try new and exciting things.
Not every activity will be for you, which I can attest to as I’ve mentioned several times in previous articles that myself and yoga are not compatible!
However, through trying new activities you’ll not only have a chance to meet some amazing new people and enjoy scintillating conversations bound to get your synapses firing,
…but you’ll also learn more about yourself, which can lead to a gained sense of personal awareness which is the first step on the journey to true mental peace.
#4. Taking a Step Back from the Media
Unless you’re a nomad in a distant land, I think we can all agree that each and every one of us interacts with some sort of media on a daily basis.
From social media, to the news, to TV, and content platforms such as YouTube, there’s no denying that media is an amazing tool that we couldn’t live without.
However, some forms of media can be laden with subtle toxicity which can impact on our overall mood or perception of the world without realizing it.
If you’re feeling doom and gloom about the world, which due to the last few years I don’t blame you, try disconnecting from the news.
Avoid watching the morning news, and shun newspapers for a while.
This will help you to put the world’s wider issues that are outside of your control to the back of your mind, and instead focus on tackling your own issues effectively.
It will also allow you to see the beauty still very much present in this world, be this random acts of kindness from strangers, or uplifting stories on social media.
This likely will give you the mental boost gained from a positive life outlook.
If you find you can’t live without being up-to-date with current events then consider switching to one of the many news apps available which condense the day’s headlines down in a much less overwhelming format.
That way you stay up to date without getting sucked into the gloom of politics, war, and austerity.
#5. Social Media
Social media can be a breeding ground for negativity that can leave us feeling deflated.
While getting wrapped up in the latest drama can seem exciting when you’re in the moment, all it actually does is reinforce negativity in your mind.
This environment of ‘hate-following’ is damaging to your mental state. Therefore if you’re looking to de-clutter your mind, have an unsubscribing session.
Unfollow the accounts and services that don’t bring you joy or share content that is negative in nature.
After doing this you’ll notice your feed becomes transformed into a positive space that you want to engage in for all the right reasons.
Social media can also be a time-sink.
I don’t even want to know the amount of time I’ve wasted scrolling through my feed or mindlessly watching video after video.
Sometimes of course this activity can be exactly the mental vacation your mind needs, but when this is a daily occurrence it can have a negative impact upon your mental health.
Running out of time for a project or assignment is one of the most stressful experiences, and can lead to the surfacing of negative thought patterns or low moods and feelings of failure.
By spring cleaning your attitudes towards social media, and reducing the amount of time you spend scrolling, you’ll improve your state of mind as you’ll have more time to focus on the genuinely important things in life, and won’t find yourself cutting deadlines close.
#6. Remove Festering Thoughts and Feelings
The mind is hard-wired to remember slights, grudges, and times that our feelings have been hurt and if you’re like me and avoid confrontation where possible, or brush off the extent of your feelings, then now is the time to change.
Negative feelings towards persons or events can harm our overall world view, leaving us more likely to slip into habits of jealousy, spite, or resentment.
View your brain as a computer hard drive, clutter from spam, junk mail, and even the odd Trojan will clog up your brain, limiting space, and even reducing rational thought and a positive attitude.
Therefore, take this time to spring clean your mind of these nasties.
Forgive people for their wrongs where possible, and try to talk out the issues you can’t seem to let go of with the involved party.
Clearing the air over a hot beverage of your choosing can be a very cathartic and healing process.
You might find the person opposite you has been harboring similar feelings towards you!
Talking through problems is also a great opportunity for you to learn and grow as a person.
You might find that your own behavior during the conflict wasn’t that great either, and the other person involved might highlight reasons why, in their opinion, you were to blame.
Put simply, talking things through gives you the chance not only to heal and move on from your grievances, but also learn more about yourself and the outward appearance you project to others, which may or may not need to be revised or worked upon to avoid future conflict.
If you’re reading this last entry and are thinking ‘I’m not creative’ and are getting ready to click off this article I ask you to read on a little more!
The act of journaling has expanded hugely within the last decade.
No longer reserved for artists, explorers, and teenage girls writing about their crushes, in recent years journaling has been transformed into a mental health outlet that thousands simply cannot function without.
Like being spiritual journaling can come in so many different forms, and there’s no ‘one size fits all’ method either!
I myself keep a bullet journal and a creative journal, and have found the former helps me to de-clutter my mind, while the latter helps to center it in a much more positive space.
Your journal doesn’t care whether you make aesthetic to-do lists or daily spreads, or judge your creative skill.
Instead, it is simply there as a silent tool for you to turn to when life becomes hectic or times get tough.
What you consider journaling can vary wildly from a traditional diary or thought-log, to your own custom day-to-day planner or place of memory keeping.
Journalling can be used as a tool to improve a skill such as sketching or collage, or simply be a place to let off steam in a judgment-free space.
When it comes to the more creative side of journaling I urge everyone to give it a try at least once.
What you create in your journal doesn’t have to have any sort of rhyme or reason, and can instead simply be images cut and pasted from a magazine, or doodling with a biro.
The thing that matters is the art of being creative. Creativity has been scientifically proven to increase feelings of happiness by flooding your brain with dopamine; the happy chemical which has been linked to increases in motivation.
It improves your mental health, as it gives you a way to express thoughts and feelings you struggle to put into words, as well as reduce the risk of dementia, as well as give your immune system a boost.
So, if you’ve tried some of the other entries on this list year after year with little success, a humble little journal might just be the thing you need to truly spring clean your mind and experience true mental peace and happiness.