Do you have a cluttered mind? We all have times when our thoughts are running rampant, but have you ever taken the time to evaluate your thoughts?
I tend to live in my head much of the time. It is extremely difficult for me to shut off my brain and focus on what is before me. And, not only that, but I’ve also discovered that many of my thoughts and mindsets were wrong or unhealthy.
There is no shame in this; it’s part of being human. However, I believe that it is incredibly important that you learn how to declutter your mind so that these thoughts don’t get out of control.
After all, our thoughts turn into feelings. Our feelings turn into actions. And our actions eventually turn into habits.
There just may be strong-rooted mindsets holding you back in life. Let’s find out what they are so you can begin to change your mindset.
What does it mean to declutter your mind?
First, we need to talk about what it even means to declutter your mind. Clutter is anything that doesn’t deserve a place in your life. So, to declutter your mind is to remove any thoughts or mindsets that don’t belong there.
Any thoughts that are untrue…don’t belong in your mind.
Thoughts that leave you feeling hopeless…don’t belong in your mind.
Any thoughts that are unhealthy…don’t belong in your mind.
And finally, any thoughts that are taking over your time…don’t belong in your mind.
Overthinking, worrying about what others think, comparing yourself to others, living in the past, worrying too much about the future, dwelling on negative thoughts, and self-pitying don’t deserve to be given any brain space.
Instead, fill your mind with thoughts that are true, good, positive, hopeful, and move you forward in a healthy way towards yourself and others.
How do I know if I need to declutter my mind?
Obviously, you know that you need to declutter your mind if your thoughts are untrue, unnecessarily negative or unhealthy. But there are also signs you need to declutter your mind from what they are producing in your life.
Check yourself to see if you are experiencing any of these signs you need to declutter your mind:
Thoughts running rampant. You have control of your thoughts; your thoughts should never be controlling you. Instead, take every thought captive.
Feeling distracted. It can become difficult to focus on the moment when your thoughts are out of control or you are living too much in your head.
A lack of energy. Thoughts that are unhealthy or are simply taking up all of your brain power leave you feeling exhausted!
Feeling stressed or overwhelmed. Thoughts that keep popping up when you are trying to do other things leaves you feeling overwhelmed. Unhealthy thoughts can make you feel stressed because there is so much to do that it seems hopeless.
Forgetfulness. When we are distracted by our thoughts, we tend to become forgetful. This leads to us making more mistakes and letting others down.
If you are experiencing any of these signs, consider whether your thoughts or mindset may be to blame. To do this, you really have to take notice of your thoughts and evaluate them.
After that, it’s essential that you use this knowledge to establish a new mindset over time.
5 Mindsets to Declutter
You may still be unsure if you have thoughts or mindsets to declutter after looking for the signs and evaluating your thoughts. If this is you, I hope this list of 5 mindsets to declutter will help you determine any changes you need to make.
Let’s dive in, shall we?
1. I am a victim.
Many people have a victim mindset, as though life is happening to them.
A victim mentality thinks, Life is so hard. I don’t deserve this. This ______ is keeping me from being happy. Why is this happening to me?
An important sign of having a victim mentality is if you find yourself complaining a lot. People who feel they are always the victim blame their problems on others or even bad luck.
This mindset makes it extremely difficult for you to take ownership and begin improving your life. A person with a victim mindset often finds themselves in a rut that they can’t seem to get out of no matter how hard they try.
It’s time to change your mindset to believe that you can be happy despite your circumstances. It’s time to renew your mind and find ways to USE your circumstances to grow and improve your life, even if just by learning from them.
You deserve better, not because you are perfect, but because you are a valuable human being.
Stop blaming and complaining and begin to take ownership of your own needs and wants. Look outward and begin to see other’s needs so you can help them.
2. I am flawed or damaged.
An insecure mindset is common and comes in many forms. According to an article on Psychology Today, insecurity most often comes from one of three places: (1) a recent failure or rejection, (2) social anxiety, or (3) perfectionism.
Someone with an insecure mindset may think, There is something wrong with me. I’ve been hurt too many times. Other people have important qualities that I seem to lack. I just don’t have it in me.
People who think like this tend to feel hopeless much of the time. They usually have a more melancholy personality, so they find it easier to feel down than to feel joy. Depression is more common among people with this mindset.
They also often go to great lengths to protect themselves in some way. They may avoid certain people or situations, or they may over plan to avoid worst-case scenarios. In addition, they often deal with a lot of anxiety or worry.
It’s time to see yourself for who you really are with a more balanced approach. Instead of focusing on what you feel is wrong with you, make sure that you also regularly take notice of the good.
Think about what you do well, even if it seems like a small or unrecognized quality. And instead of dwelling on the ways something can go wrong, look for ways to turn any bad situation to good.
3. I am defined by what I do.
People with this mindset think they are only as good as they feel important. They believe they are defined by everything they have ever done (good or bad). Their successes and failures are at the forefront of their mind and they believe that is all other people see of them.
They may be thinking, “That big mistake I made is all anyone will remember. I am only as important as my greatest success. I need to have a career that others view as important. People are watching me to see what I will do next. I need to be perfect or “on” all of the time.”
If you have this mentality, you are held in bondage to performing all of the time. It is hard for you to relax and be yourself. You may even have a difficult time being honest about yourself with others.
Now is the time for you to put on a new mindset that gives you the freedom to be yourself. You are not a sum of all your successes and failures. They are only a small part of what makes you who you are, and the world needs the other parts of you as well.
Let go of your need to be perfect or seen as successful. Learn from your mistakes and move on from them. Define success for yourself so you can stop seeking approval and validation from others.
What you do is not who you are.
4. I am who I am; I will never change.
The personality identity mindset is super common in this day in age where personality tests abound. People who define themselves by their personality often go one of two ways. Either they decide to love who they are and become comfortable with their weaknesses, or they feel like they are stuck and will never be able to change.
People who become overly confident with their personality type think things like, “I don’t care what anyone else thinks. This is me; take it or leave it. I won’t apologize for being me.”
On the other hand, those who feel stuck with their personality type may think, Things are never going to get better. “I will never be able to change. I may as well stop trying. My personality dictates who I will become.”
Without proper handling of personality profiles, we can either stop caring when we hurt others or hurt ourselves by not caring enough to grow. By doing this we also put ourselves into a box we were never meant to be contained by…we are complex individuals, after all.
In either case, a person with this mentality is failing to bring proper balance to how they handle the information they gained about themselves. Instead of simply becoming more self-aware, we need to take it one step further and use information about our personality for growth.
It’s time to develop a growth mindset that will allow us to love ourselves and others better. People with this mindset must begin practicing their strengths AND weaknesses in order to improve.
Don’t stop at being self-aware. Use that knowledge to improve your life and make the world a better place.
5. I am defined by what I own.
The final mindset I want to address is the treasure mindset. You may have this mindset if you often think about how much you have (i.e. possessions, money), how much others have, or how to get more.
People with this mindset think that the size of their home, what vehicle they drive, the amount of toys they have, or how grandiose of vacation they can afford to take defines them.
They often think, “I need more _______ to feel important. People are looking at how much I own or the quality of what I own. I don’t have as much as my peer. I need to make more money so I can afford to have more fun.”
If you have this mindset, you likely get caught up in comparison. Because of this, people with this mindset buy things they don’t actually want but think they should have for one reason or another. They also tend to work long hours, even if they don’t enjoy their job.
If this is you, it’s time to let go of things that you don’t love because they don’t define you. Declutter your life of the things you have only because you think they make you appear successful.
Experience the freedom that comes from designing a life you love and that works for you. And, recognize that you are only as successful as you are happy.
As Joshua Becker states on his blog, Becoming Minimalist, you are not defined by what you own or can afford, but true fulfillment comes from living out your values and blessing others.
How to Change Your Mindset
Depending on who you ask, you will get different opinions about how to change your mindset.
You can meditate, journal, practice mindfulness, spend some quiet time alone, listen to music or a podcast, read a book, watch a TED talk, practice gratitude, get active, practice positive thinking, do one small thing towards your goal, seek out a professional, or retell your story from an empowered mindset.
You can also write down daily affirmations, practice visualization, develop a more effective morning routine, celebrate the small wins, ask yourself supportive questions, and use boundaries with negative or unhealthy people.
The Process for Changing Your Mindset
All of these strategies can be good, and they can definitely help you on your way to developing a new mindset. But, in order for your mindset to actually change, you need to continually follow a process like this one:
- separate yourself from your thoughts in order to observe them
- choose the thoughts you want
- turn these thoughts into beliefs by thinking about them more
- practice turning these thoughts into actions
By following this process every day, we can begin to take responsibility, transform our thoughts, balance our emotions, and even make better choices.
Remember what I said at the beginning about the result of our thoughts?
I said that our thoughts turn into feelings. Our feelings turn into actions. And our actions eventually turn into habits. So, it makes sense that we use this knowledge to change our mindset.
After all, if you change your mindset, you change your entire life.
Let’s be honest about what thoughts and mindsets are holding us back in life so that we can put an end to it today. It isn’t worth it to waste so much of our lives with a faulty mindset, wouldn’t you agree?
Knowing how to change your mindset, move forward in honesty and intentionality. When you’re honest about your thoughts, you are able to completely renew your mind and eventually change the trajectory of your entire life.
‘For I know the plans I have for you,’ declares the Lord, ‘plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.'” ~Jeremiah 29:11
Don’t forget to stick around to check out the other posts in the “Mental Health Awareness Month” series:
Have you ever struggled with any of these mindsets like I have? What have you done to combat them and develop a new mindset? Share with us in the comments!
Theresa Bedford is a syndicated freelance home and travel writer with regular contributions to the Associated Press wire and MSN. She helps everyday people love the life they have through simplicity, organization, and prioritization.