Clear your mind – the wonders of purge and refresh

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In my last post, I mentioned cleaning and organizing as one of the tips for being productive when tired [Read How to be productive when tired here]. Now, let’s get deeper into this concept and how it can revitalize you.

Your own physical surroundings often reflect your state of mind

Messier people at this point might get defensive and say “well, I know exactly where everything is, even if it looks disorganized to everyone else.” Although it may be true, that statement doesn’t capture the point of why you want to be more aware of your physical surroundings. It’s because they emanate certain energy. Now, I don’t know what to make of Feng Shui or Marie Kondo, but do I feel a kind of energy when I walk into someone’s house or an office building, and I’m sure you do too. A couple of examples:

I once stayed with a relative for one summer when I was in high school. I’d go out during the day, and then would absolutely dread coming back home. She was in a really toxic relationship, and I would immediately feel bad vibes entering the house even when neither person was around.

When I was a kid, I used to hoard. Ironically, I didn’t have a lot growing up, and so, I guess I’d cling onto whatever that came my way. That included feathers, rocks (okay, my rock collection was actually kind of cool.. I had a fossil and petrified-wood-looking rocks), and other weird things. Also, there was a period in elementary school when my room was always messy. If anyone entered that room, I’m sure they could sense how deprived and chaotic my life was.

Fast forward to me as an adult, I’ve had different visitors to my house or apartment comment on how relaxed they felt.

Clean and declutter your physical surroundings to declutter your mind. That’s normally the first thing I do when I feel unmotivated or stuck.

Purge and refresh your mind often

The mind that’s not refreshed often decays.

If you wash your dishes right after you’re done using them, the residue washes off really easily. If you wait, it gets stuck on the dishes, so you have to spend more time washing it off. If you wait even longer, the residue can become mold.

If you’re going through a tough time in your life, and feel stuck, anxious, or unclear about what to do, I’d highly recommend jotting down everything that’s going through your mind every morning. Julia Cameron popularized the concept of Morning Pages in her book The Artist’s Way as a way to release creativity.

Morning Pages are three pages of longhand, stream of consciousness writing,
done first thing in the morning. *There is no wrong way to do Morning Pages*–
they are not high art. They are not even “writing.” They are about
anything and everything that crosses your mind– and they are for your eyes
only. 

Julia Cameron

For me, I found that writing a short journal entry (usually just a page) of what’s going on in my head in the morning helps me identify the source of certain emotions, and gently reboots my mind. I make sure I write morning pages every morning when I’m going through a period of uncertainty.

Don’t lose perspective of the underlying goal

I remember the days when I worked for marketing agencies in New York City. I’d be so consumed by what’s going on in my computer screen and the immediate task at hand, and as soon as I’d step outside the office, I’d be in the middle of the hustle and bustle, and feel back in touch with reality.

Two additional ways I refresh my mind include meditation [related post: My first breakthrough with self-guided meditation] and visualization. Visualizing my future helps me to put my daily life and work into a long term perspective so that I can remind myself of what I’m trying to accomplish in the long run. What problems am I trying to solve? Am I getting closer to my long term goals? What will my legacy be?

They say if you don’t use it, you lose it. I’d add that if you don’t purge, you stagnate.

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