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Awareness: The First Step of Decluttering

mind clutter

Figure in the head cleans the brain

The wise organizing guru Barbara Hemphill stated, “Clutter is postponed decisions.” I believe that clutter can also result from thinking in a way that does not serve us well. How we think about our stuff, our time and ourselves shapes our decisions, our feelings and our actions. For reasons of economy the way we interact with our environment and our stuff is in a large part habitual and almost unconscious. If we want our lives to be different, we need to change. It stands to reason that if we want to change our actions, we need to change our thinking and to do that we need to become very aware of our thoughts.
Becoming aware of our thoughts requires us to slow ourselves down in order to shift our attention from the external to the internal. One of the most effective ways I know to slow down is to breathe deeply. I invite you to try this very brief deep breathing exercise:
1. Sit quietly.
2. Put your hand over your heart.
3. Take a slow deep breath through your nose.
4. Hold the breath for a second.
5. Slowly exhale through your mouth as though you are blowing out a candle.
6. Empty your lungs completely.
7. Repeat several times.
Let your thoughts flow as you breathe and notice them objectively and without judgment. Certainly there is some benefit to doing this exercise once; however, awareness is a skill. To develop any skill requires repeated practice. Try this exercise a few times a day over several days. It may be helpful to write down some of the thoughts that come up during this exercise in order to reveal a pattern of thinking that was until now unconscious.
Awareness is the first step of change and it is a skill that will run through the entire process of change. Besides developing awareness, this deep breathing exercise will also reduce your stress level. Try this exercise. I believe your will find the two minutes or so needed to complete it will be very beneficial.