When most people think about minimalism, they think about scaling down their physical life, but there is an even more modern problem that needs to be addressed in order to live a life of simplicity and contentment; the mind too must be de-cluttered.
We live in a society where efficiency is valued, pretty much over anything. As a result time has become not an eternal moment, like ancient knowledge would suggest, but a confining structure. Time is now seen as something that we never have enough of. We rush around trying desperately to race the hands of the clock. How many hours are in a day? Not enough according to the way a lot of people live their life.
What this racy and pacy society leads to, among other things, is a cluttered mind; one that is forced to receive and respond to information almost constantly, from the second of waking, to the second of going to bed again.
Minimalism is no longer only a matter of making a conscious effort to live in physical simplicity; it is also a matter of consciously living with mental clarity. In the same way that we have to make cut backs to our physical life, we must also make cut backs to the way we deal with information, time, and knowledge.
In a time long past, information, like material objects, was rare. It was hard to come by. Now, the trend is rapidly progressing in the opposite direction; information is too readily available, and without a limit, without giving ourselves the opportunity to properly process this information, we run the risk of living a mentally cluttered existence.
Here are 8 tips that you can apply right now, to live a life free of mental clutter:
1. Turn Off The TV
The number one device for gormless absorption of information, is the television. With 20 minutes of advertisements to pollute your mind with needless niggles, insecurities, and product solutions, the TV is really not a great friend of the minimalist anyway. Given that most of the programs on the hundreds of channels are unintelligent, to the point of being patronizing, the TV is one information medium that you could do without.
Seriously, I bet you wouldn’t miss it when it’s gone, and your mind will be instantly clearer. Try and give it up for a week, and see what happens.
2. Don’t Be So Current
Current affairs are a bit too endless for me. I get the drift, I really do. Bad stuff is happening every day. The problem in a world of informational connectivity, is that it is possible for newspapers and news channels to find something horrific to show you every single day. They focus on the negative, probably just because it sells better. Do not buy into it. You don’t need to read about all of the badness of the world every day, especially not first thing in the morning.
It is fine to stay up-to-date with global issues, but you don’t need to expose yourself to it too often. Relieve yourself of the weight of the whole world, and you will feel much lighter.
3. Give Social Media A Break
Research suggests that American’s use social media for an average of over three hours a day. That is a very long time to be dwelling in a virtual reality of social images and whinny comments. If there has ever been a more profound waste of time then please tell me about it, but from what I can see social media is the biggest. We call ourselves rushed? How about a more chilled out pace of life, and less social nonsense.
Social media clutters your mind with social politics, concerns beyond your immediate influence, people who you rarely see, and information that is usually irrelevant. I quit social media for personal use three years ago, and have never looked back. My mind is free of the BS that plagues most people.
4. Make Careful And Informed Choices About What You Take In
In this age of information, it is becoming increasingly important to make conscious and controlled decisions about what information you take in. The mind absorbs and processes more information than you realize, and is constantly working to make sense of the world around you. You are making hard work of life if your information input is so incoherent that you can never makes sense of what is going on. Choose to learn what you want to learn, watch only what you want to watch, and absorb information at a rate that your brain can handle.
5. Switch Everything Off, For At Least A Couple Of Hours A Day
All of this talk of information is making my brain hurt. Switch it all off every day, for at least a couple of hours; do not switch any device on for at least an hour in the morning, and switch off at least an hour before going to bed. This will help you to start and end each day with a clear mind, ready for the next.
6. Take Plenty Of Good Quality Time To Yourself
Have time to yourself free of distractions. It can be nice to take a walk in nature. The healing sounds, the fresh air, and the sunshine, always serves to clear your mind, as does the rhythm of a good walk. With all of the time saved engaging less with social media and television, you can partake in healthy activities that come with clarity.
7. Slow Down- Refine Your Life
Mental clutter can come as a result of having too much to do, and not enough time to do it. A busy life is enjoyable, but a stressful life full of pressure is bad for health, both physical and mental. In order to de-clutter the mind you will have to take some steps in minimalism; refine your life. Decide what is truly important to you, and put your energy towards that. Make sacrifices, and cut back on aspects of your life that you are not as concerned about. Take a change of pace and slow down a bit.
8. Live A Life Of Minimalism
Less stuff, less overheads, less worry, less to do, less mental clutter. A life of minimalism brings with it a simple joy, and a lasting happiness. By living a more minimalist life, your mind will de-clutter.