Written by Marlene Cameron | Marlene Cameron Coaching | KNOW Calgary
Most of us have enjoyed the benefits of decluttering. The incentive for getting rid of ‘stuff’ can come from a move, cleaning out someone else’s home or giving your own home a lift by disposing of no-longer-useful-or-wanted belongings. The acknowledged feelings experienced after a significant purge were lightness, expansiveness, spaciousness and freedom. Getting rid of items we no longer want, even though it can be difficult at the time, frees up our attention, energy and time.
I wondered if we couldn’t apply the same approach to our sometimes over-cluttered minds. How might we downsize, declutter and dispense with some of our thoughts in order to experience more spaciousness, freedom and lightness?
Here are seven types of thoughts most of us could do without or at least have less of order to achieve more joy, flow and inner peace. You may have other types of unhelpful thoughts that take up space in your mind too.
1. Thoughts of the Past
These can include things you wish you had or had not done or said, or other people had done or not done or said. Past experiences that continue to cause upset, regret or resentment when you bring them into the present through your thoughts. Or things that you wished ‘had never happened’. The past no longer exists and there can be nothing learned or resolved by returning to it.
We can spend a lot of time thinking about and expressing our opinions about circumstances and events. It took too long. The weather is good or bad. He was right or wrong. Opinions are a waste of energy – everyone lives in their own separate reality and by default are going to perceive things differently. It took as long as it took. The weather is what it is. The other person saw it differently.
3. What Ifs
There are many versions of ‘what ifs”. What if I try and fail? What will other people think? What if it all goes sideways. What if I never succeed? What if I succeed and then can’t keep it up? What’s if provide fodder for the endless black hole of hesitation and doubt. Try for an entire day of no ‘what ifs’ and see what happens.
4. Incessant Planning
I learned about this while walking the Camino. After a couple of weeks into the journey, I sat down one evening to plan my walk for the next few days. After attempting to plan how far I would walk, where I would eat lunch, where I would stop, where to stay, etc. I got so combobulated I gave up. The next morning, I got up and starting walking and it became obvious what to do as I went along.
This is one I am definitely going to work to discard. How many times have I told myself “I should have known better”, “I should have done/not done…..” ‘He/she/they should know better, ‘ Everyone should do/not do blah blah blah’. Giving up ‘’shoulds’ alone would go a long way to decluttering my thinking.
6. Trying to Make Sense of Something
This thinking comprises all the ways we want to know why? Why did it happen to her? How could it happen to such a nice person? That person is so light-hearted and happy, how is it she became ill? Why didn’t I see this coming? Why was I picked, not picked? Why was he selected instead? It feels exhausting just thinking about thinking of whys.
7. Disparaging Judging
This is the Mother of all non-productive thinking. Almost anyone can have a real heyday with judging thoughts. I’m too old (or young), I’m too fat (or thin), I don’t play golf well enough, I can’t dance, I suck at (pick one). I’m not smart enough, know enough, have the right connections. Or, you can direct judging towards others with much the same themes. I have always loved the traditional EFT tapping set-up statement. Even though I’m (feeling) about (situation or person), I deeply and completely love and accept myself.
Downsizing, decluttering and dispensing with our more unproductive thinking frees us up to enjoy the beauty, wonder and possibilities of the present. We get to be more light-hearted, more creative, more intuitive and more spontaneous. We are more able to see and hear beyond our judgmental thinking, experience people beyond our expectations, take in events beyond pre-conceived notions, and generally have a very nice time of life.
We have too many thoughts every day to keep track of them. How then do we know we have wondered over to despairing thoughts? We feel anxious, annoyed, frustrated, discouraged, angry and afraid among other feelings. Sometimes just noticing your mood will help you move on to more optimistic thinking Peace and well-being are our default states. You will return there naturally when you don’t get too caught up in your thoughts.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Marlene Cameron Coaching
An award-winning leadership and life coach, Marlene helps professional women be unshakeable as business owners and leaders. She shows them how to connect with a clear, calm mind and natural confidence so that they act with boldness and create the business success, personal fulfillment and financial freedom they deserve.