March 27, 2022
As the air changes outside, it begins to refresh my insides on every level. Last week, an article entitled Spring Cleaning for the Brain captured my attention and curiosity. As the author, Christina Caron, writes, “Perhaps, experts say, the arrival of spring can serve as a natural point to take stock of our mental well-being and reconnect with the things that bring us purpose and joy, offering our brains a respite when possible” (New York Times).
Changing seasons are natural transitions in which to release that which no longer gives life and allow something new to emerge and grow. The things that served us well through the winter months like warm blankets, scarves, and gloves are no longer needed. Plants that have been sheltered inside can return to the patio. Windows can be opened! Our living space takes on a new feel with fresh air and spring colors. We may get the urge to clean and organize everything.
Since our outer world reflects our inner world, it makes sense to work from the inside out. Caron offers five ways to declutter your mind:
1. Practice mindfulness.
Mindfulness meditation is a great way to reduce the stress of daily life, which can be significant these days. Breathing and focusing on the five senses can calm and ground us in the present moment and relieve anxiety. She suggests doing this as we wake up each day, and again at different points of transition during the day.
2. Write in a journal.
Studies have shown that jotting thoughts down in a journal can improve well-being. I can attest to that! It can be short and sweet, just writing a few thoughts, feelings, or intentions. Julia Cameron recommends a daily practice of “morning pages” to clear our heads at the start of the day. Writing is an excellent tool for decluttering and focusing the mind.
3. Reduce information overload.
Limit news and social media consumption. Choose one or two reliable sources and read or listen to them at the same time each day. It is important to stay connected and informed, but getting caught up in the nonstop news feed is draining! We may not have control over what’s happening “out there,” but we do have control over what we take in and how we respond to it.
4. Declutter your physical space.
When my home is cluttered, I feel more tired. There is a definite connection between our inner and outer worlds, and we can increase our well-being by keeping our living space clean and free of clutter.
5. Reconnect with the people you love.
As we emerge from two years of limited social contact, it can be rejuvenating to reconnect with the people we have missed. It may feel awkward at first, but as we take steps forward and re-engage more often, we will notice a shift in our mental, physical, and emotional energy. We need each other, and we may not realize how much we’ve missed those connections until we start renewing them.
When I spend time with friends, I feel an energy like the green shoots of spring pushing up through the dirt of our common ground. I sense potential and possibility. I reach toward the light.
As the signs of spring emerge all around, be transformed by the renewal of your mind. Open the windows of your home and your soul. Allow the vibration of new life to refresh your spirit and fill you with joy.
Rise & Shine,
Elisa J. Juarez