Many of our clients just have too much going on. Ultimately, this overwhelms the mind, makes thinking cluttered, and creates difficulties in prioritization.
There are however quite a few things you can do to clear your mind – from a good nights sleep to a walk in the woods, to exercise, yoga, and meditation. But what if you don’t have the time – but need to de-clutter your mind right now?
The simple exercise below is a great way to help achieve mental clarity quickly (with credit to PersonalExcellence.) The exercise can:
- Help clear your head (especially if you are feeling cluttered)
- Help calm yourself down (if you are feeling restless, troubled, or stressed up)
- Help free up mental energy (if you are feeling tired)
What is this thing about brain overload anyway? Let’s compare with a computer. Or as Celestin Chua explains in the Personal Excellence blog:
“Every computer has RAM — random-access memory, a form of data storage — which determines its processing capacity. The more applications you run, the more RAM it uses, the slower your computer gets. If you have used resource-intensive programs or played games… you have probably closed unwanted applications to free up some RAM. Like the computer, our brain has its RAM too. Our RAM is used for all kinds of brain work, from thinking to recalling past events to analyzing data. The more free RAM you have, the more RAM you can use for your tasks at hand. However, not all our RAM is available for use all the time. Half of it is usually occupied with mental clutter — thoughts running in the background… The more your mental clutter, the lower your mental clarity.” Eventually, your mind can become so full of clutter that you have no more mental RAM left. This is when you get very irritable and you find it hard to focus.
This mental clutter can be about anything. Most probably not important at all. But still, it is swirling around in your brain making your thinking cluttered, and fragmented. Lacking the clarity you so desire.
Increase Mental Clarity via Brain Dumping
“This exercise is known as brain dumping since you dump out the contents of your mind through writing. Here’s what to do:
- Pick a medium. You can use the pen/paper or word processor. I prefer the word processor as I type faster than I write. Plus you save paper too!
- Type whatever comes to mind. When I say whatever, I mean whatever! For example, if you are looking at the paper and thinking, Wow, this looks so white, then write that. If you don’t know what to write, then just write, “I don’t know what to write.” Basically, dump out whatever is on your mind. There’s no need to overthink this. It’s about pouring out what’s in your head.
- Just keep doing this for the next 15 minutes, or however long it takes for your thoughts to clear up. 10 minutes is usually enough. It can take up to an hour when you feel really weighed down.
With brain dumping, your writing speed determines how fast your mind gets cleared. If you type fast, you can process lots of clutter really quickly.”
Celestine Chua uses this exercise when she feels bogged down, when she needs to achieve 100% focus, or when she feels stressed up. In just 15 minutes, she claims to be able to clear a lot of clutter. If she was sleepy before, the exercise makes her more awake. And she can concentrate more easily.
Celestine Chua writes: -“It’s interesting to review what you write after the exercise. Usually, you will notice your thoughts jumping all over the place. One moment you may be thinking about your breakfast; the next you may be thinking about your work meeting; and the next you may be thinking about your next vacation. As weird and random as they may be, these thoughts have always been on your mind. The exercise merely brought them out. The longer you brain dump, the more clutter you can clear, the higher your mental clarity. Of course, it doesn’t mean that you stop thinking about X after you clear a thought on it. Maybe you have 50 thoughts about X and the exercise only removed two of these thoughts. Maybe you come across X later or see something that reminds you of X, thus creating new thoughts about it. Since you will always be exposed to external stimuli, you need to brain dump regularly to maintain a high level of mental clarity. Just like showering, eating, and sleeping, you should brain dump frequently as part of personal cleansing. Do this often and you will feel a greater calmness in your life. You can also take this exercise to the next level — beyond just dumping out what’s on your mind, dig into the root causes of those thoughts. Why am I thinking this? What’s making me feel this way? Keep asking why and dig into the interesting thoughts. You may arrive at some deep realizations in the process.”
If you have 15 minutes to spare every day we however still highly recommend you to explore some meditation practices for decreased clutter and increased clarity. More about that another time.