The human body lives in two places during our lifetime. One is the external world - our environment and the other is our internal world - our mind. While we have no control on our external world to a large extent, we have complete control on our internal world.
Isn’t that an empowering thought?
Our mind has on average about sixty thousand thoughts in a day. If you sit back and think about it, it can either overwhelm you or excite you. But not all those thoughts are constructive. Some might be so extreme as to send you down the path of a panic attack. Your mind sometimes feels like a ‘Black Friday’ sale with each thought jostling for space with another and trying to make itself be heard and felt fully.
Some of us are anxious about the current lock down , some are worried about their finances, some about their health or a family member or a tiff they have had at work or a fall out with a friend or maybe even about their children. Some worry about the past and some about the future. All worries are valid for that person and are very real in their life.
When plagued with these thoughts one might yearn for a universal remote to just hit pause, or to curb the speed of some of these thoughts or some might have even liked the option of shutting them down altogether. But on that front, there is no good news. No amount of meditation and silent retreats can quiet down the flow of thoughts, although they might help you bring in a sense of awareness about them. Our thoughts whether they are happy, sad, fearful or anxiety ridden, ARE HERE TO STAY.
What then can we do to make our minds a beautiful space to reside in?
Some people might advise you to avoid moping around and wasting precious time while all these thoughts are sloshing about the cabinets of your brain. But that is easier said than done. If it was that easy then you might not have clicked on this article to see if there was an alternate solution.
What works for me is that I choose one section of my home to clean and organize. It can be something small like a drawer of T shirts or stationery. You can alternately also choose to attend to your filing system or your home office.
For some of you who might want to run screaming, hang on…..it gets better.
While you clean and organize this space, allow yourself to process your thoughts or current problem completely . Clearing up a space brings in a level of monotony after a point and your active mind is freed up from thinking about the mundane task in front of you, consciously. This gives you space to focus on the worry and come up with a solution or two.
There is an old happy song from the movie, ‘Snow white and the seven Dwarfs’ that goes like this….
‘Just whistle while you work and cheerfully together we can tidy up the place’
While I am sure that this might inject some enthusiasm in your day, how about you ‘Worry while you work’ instead. While that might sound unusual and out of place, it works. You will still end up tidying a part of your home or office, while acknowledging your thoughts and giving it an active space to sort itself out. Once you are done with cleaning up, your brain might either be too fatigued to think of the same thoughts running in a loop or you might have even come up with a solution to the problem at hand.
Imagine on a day you are wrought with worry you end up organizing a part of your home while at the same time you ‘Marie Kondo’ your mind in a more fruitful and purposeful manner.
To some this might seem at odds with what one normally does when their mind is cluttered. Try it once and you might be hooked. If nothing else, by the end of it you will look at your closet or drawer and say — ‘That’s one thing I can check off my list’.
As you consistently do this, it will slowly become a part of you and scheduling these ‘worry segments’ into a cleaning routine will allow you to have a more focused and productive day, outside of them.