The best place to start the journey of decluttering is within your own mind.
The first steps we take are the most important steps on this journey. For me, there are two important ways that can help to declutter and ease the mind. These first steps on the journey are going to be different for everybody, but for me, these methods go hand in hand.
1.Keeping a Journal
There is something beautiful and almost magical in the simplicity of a black notebook with clean white pages. The possibilities are endless — it could hold pages of artwork, pages of stories, pages of thoughts — anything. Even though it can be overwhelming to begin filling the blank pages, the journal itself can be a tool to calm the spinning storm of thoughts in your head. Having one streamlined place to keep everything can help to calm the mind and bring peace.
Studies have also shown that writing things down as a to-do list, or in the form of a journal entry, can help ease the stress of a negative experience or a goal that has yet to be fulfilled.
In my life, keeping a journal of some sort is essential to beginning a life of simplicity. I began using the Bullet Journal system a few years ago after my sister introduced me to it. I love the system for its simplicity, and how much it helps to have a place to write down anything and everything that takes up space in my thoughts. I’ve noticed in my life that if I feel really emotional or as if I’m not thinking straight, writing down every thought in my head allows me to take a step back mentally, allowing me to see the situation and my emotions from a different perspective so that I can make better decisions instead of being caught up in the moment. One of the most meaningful things to keep in a journal is a gratitude log. Write down one thing each day that you are grateful for, and with each day the simple things will become more and more beautiful.
Being able to take a step back and put my thoughts on paper is very freeing and allows me to focus on the important things in that moment. I definitely recommend the official Bullet Journal method as a starting point, and from there you can make your own journal into whatever suits your needs. (Go to the official Bullet Journal website for details on the system!)
For me, this goes hand in hand with keeping a journal because I find it almost impossible to meditate when I have so many thoughts and deadlines and worries spinning in my head. Writing things down can be very meditative for me anyway, so these two things are just two polarities of mindfulness.
Although the idea of meditation has been becoming more popular lately, I still don’t do this as often as I would like. It’s so easy to think that we don’t have time to sit down and meditate when there’s a lot going on in our lives. After all, the rooms are full of clutter waiting to be cleaned out, that work deadline is coming up soon, and that pile of papers isn’t getting any smaller.
But actually, that is the perfect time to sit down and meditate just for a few minutes. When we get overwhelmed, we aren’t able to think as clearly, and we don’t do our best work. Taking a step back for one minute when things are looking busier than ever can help recover some energy, allowing us to perform better.
Meditation doesn’t have to be a whole event either. Doing yoga or just some stretches in the morning or right before bed at night can be meditation. Sitting in the window with a cup of coffee, watching the sun rise can be meditation. Writing in a journal after a long day can be meditation. Listening to the birds chirp while you’re on your morning jog can be meditation. Even sitting at your desk, closing your eyes ,and taking a few deep breaths can be meditation. Each person does this differently, and there is no right or wrong way to do this!
Although meditation can take many different forms, one great way to get started is to find a good guided meditation. There are so many apps to choose from that offer free trials of guided meditations, and one of my personal favorites was Headspace. There are even some guided meditations on YouTube too!
As we begin this journey towards simplicity, being able to reflect inward and to know yourself is one of the most important lessons to learn. Journaling, keeping a gratitude log, and meditating when we can are some of the building blocks for a more mindful and simple life.
Thank you so much for reading! Feel free to comment or contact me with any questions, comments, or concerns!