[00:00:00] Welcome to the Extraordinary Life Podcast from the creator of the Extraordinary Life Tribe, Crystal Obregon, the Self-Development Podcast propelling you forward toward your goals using science-backed high performance habits. Reach the next level in your physical and mental health. See new heights in your relationships.
[00:00:18] Gain clarity on your purpose and live your extraordinary life. Welcome your host writer, speaker and coach, Crystal Obregon.
[00:00:29] Hi there. This is Crystal of Crystal Obregon Coaching with Episode Number 80 of the Extraordinary Life Podcast. This month I've been talking about clearing out the mental clutter and gaining more mental clarity for greater success.
[00:00:47] I hope last week's podcast was helpful in sharing some of the habits you can start or stop so that your brain is operating more efficiently. This week I'd like to share some daily [00:01:00] practices that will help you gain control of the thoughts that continually swirl around in your brain. These will provide you a specific course of actions that you can turn to
[00:01:14] when you find yourself in a situation where you're feeling overwhelmed by unhelpful thoughts. I don't know about you, but it does happen, and sometimes on the daily.
[00:01:27] The first practice is mindful breathing. If you start to feel overwhelmed or are experiencing a lack of focus, practicing a mindful breathing technique can help calm your heart and clear your mind.
[00:01:44] When negative or overwhelming thoughts start to bombard your mind, just close your eyes and think to yourself, "inhale" as you take a long, deep breath and "exhale" as you slowly release the breath. [00:02:00] When you slow down your breathing and concentrate on inhaling and exhaling, it will help you regain a feeling of control.
[00:02:08] Deep breathing has been proven to help lower stress and blood pressure levels, and in addition to being able to calm the physical body, concentrating on your breathing can allow you to achieve a greater sense of focus. Noticing your breathing forces you to think only about one thing, and this can help you stop the other thoughts that are vying for space in your head.
[00:02:35] A lot of smart watches these days have a feature on them that do different breathing techniques, and those are great too. Or there are apps on your phone that can help you also with deep breathing. So give it a try. Experiment, but you can always go back to simply an exhale and inhale. Make it super simple.
[00:02:59] Another [00:03:00] great way to clear your mind of clutter is to get some sort of physical exercise every day. Not only does exercising allow you to focus on the activity you're participating. But it also changes your brain in ways that have been scientifically proven. For one, exercise increases the production of endorphins in your brain, which can help you to calm and relax your body and mind.
[00:03:28] Other benefits of exercising include increasing your self-esteem, easing the symptoms of anxiety and depression, improving sleep, providing you with an added sense of control in your life and enhancing your mood and increasing your optimism. And I know when I'm feeling down unmotivated or unfocused, usually the last thing I wanna do is exercise.
[00:03:54] But I also know that if I do, I will feel 100% better. [00:04:00] Just the other day, I was having a heck of an afternoon. I was trying to get work done on the computer. My internet kept dropping, and I finally decided to call the company because it's been happening for a while. I am grateful that they're very friendly and helpful, but it didn't actually help that particular day.
[00:04:21] Wednesdays, I volunteer to help coach the local middle school mountain bike team and honestly, the last thing I wanted to do was get on my bike for the scheduled practice. I went though, mostly because I had a commitment. It only took about five minutes to start feeling so much better, and then when I finished an hour or so, or an hour or two later, I was happier, more optimistic.
[00:04:50] I quickly was able to get some of the work done that I was trying to get done earlier. I slept really well too. So [00:05:00] if you aren't currently doing much in terms of physical exercise or activity, becoming more active can be incredibly beneficial in helping you slow your mind down and eliminate mental clutter.
[00:05:14] Adding exercise to your daily routine can be as simple as going for a walk in the evenings or in the morning, or practicing some yoga when you wake up. I often do just a walk in the morning. If I do that or if I go swimming in the morning, my productivity is so much better than if I don't. Another way to teach your brain to stop moving so fast and declutter the mind is to write down as many thoughts as you can.
[00:05:47] This doesn't require a formal journal. But instead just performing a brain dump with whatever writing utensils you have at hand. When you regularly decrease the number of [00:06:00] ideas you have floating around in your head, by writing them down, you can start established positive habits that lead to long-term change.
[00:06:09] And for many people, once they write their thoughts down, they feel as though the weight of their brain's activity has been purged from the mind. Some of the things you might consider writing down include the steps you need to take to accomplish your goals, or a list of your current worries, or even details about a relationship that might be straining your mental energy.
[00:06:32] There aren't any rules about which thoughts you can or you can't write down. The idea is to clear the mental clutter by pulling the thoughts out of your head so that you can acknowledge them and let them go. In fact, there's a woman, Julia Cameron. She has a book called The Artist's Way, and Morning Pages is a big part of what she teaches about.
[00:06:56] I can't remember the particulars off the top of my head. It [00:07:00] just involves every morning doing a brain dump right after you get up. And the idea is that it increases your creativity by a ton. Another great way to declutter the mind is to read a book. Simple. A good book can allow you to escape from reality in a way that might not otherwise be possible.
[00:07:22] While watching a movie or TV show can also provide you with a similar feeling of escapism, these avenues of entertainment don't allow your mind to calm, as your mind does when reading a book. Additionally, a good book can occupy your mind with details that a TV show or movie won't.
[00:07:47] So this next idea is a little different than writing your thoughts down. If you find that your mind is always preoccupied with thoughts about everything you need to [00:08:00] accomplish, it can be beneficial to simply keep a list of the tasks you need to complete. A lot of people find that if they take some time before they go to bed to write down a list of all the tasks consuming their mind, they'll sleep a lot better and are less likely to wake up in the middle of the night with anxious thoughts.
[00:08:23] So you can use a pen and paper for this, or you can download one of the many apps that are available for your smart phone, so that you can keep the list and add to it wherever you are. When you compile that list of everything you need to do, you're removing some of the clutter floating in your brain and putting it into one place.
[00:08:46] The next step of that would be to also organize and prioritize those tasks so that you can really do them more efficiently.
[00:08:58] The next tip [00:09:00] is to say no to interruptions. The research is showing that multitasking is not better. It's not more efficient. And there are so many things these days that can interrupt your workflow from your cell phone to your social media, to chatty coworkers and employees.
[00:09:19] For those that work at home, it can be a chatty partner or just a pile of laundry or other chores staring at you. So take the time to think about all the potential interruptions that you personally deal with on a daily basis. And consider whether some of these interruptions can be dealt with at a later time.
[00:09:43] For instance, email notifications on your smartphone can interrupt you many times a day. Instead of reaching for your phone to check your emails. Every time you get a notification, turn these off and you can even go a [00:10:00] step further and commit to only checking and responding to emails a couple of times a day.Just schedule checking email into your calendar because few people really need to check emails continually, and it does lower your productivity a bunch.
[00:10:19] If you have an issue with coworkers or employees stopping by your office to chat, you can shut your door if you have one and place a do not disturb sign on the door for a few hours or even an hour so you can get work done without interruptions. Or think of some other creative ways to accomplish that if you don't have a door to shut. Constant interruptions end up pulling your focus away from the task at hand and can significantly decrease your ability to focus on what needs to get done. The fewer interruptions you have to deal with, the less cluttered your mind will be [00:11:00] and the greater success you'll achieve.
[00:11:04] The last and the hardest, in my opinion, is simply to quit procrastinating. Everyone is busy and it's only natural to want to put things off until the last minute, at least for me, especially when you have a lot going on.
[00:11:19] However, if you're someone who tends to wait to do something, this could lead to a ton of excessive mine clutter. The fact is that completing the tasks on your plate is good for your mind. If you don't address the things you need to complete in a timely manner, then they just end up occupying your mind until they're completed.
[00:11:44] A great way to stop procrastination is by implementing the two minute rule and applying it to all the tasks on your to-do list. It involves asking yourself what actions you can take in two minutes or [00:12:00] less of the tasks that are on your to-do list that will move you forward. So the idea is that if you look at it and commit to spending just two minutes on completing something, an assignment or a task, you're more likely to continue working after the two minutes is up until you complete the task in its entirety.
[00:12:22] This is due to the psychological phenomenon called the Zeigarnik Effect. Not sure if I'm pronouncing that right, which states that unfinished tasks are more likely to get stuck in your memory, which is why our minds tend to get stuck in a loop thinking about all the things we've not yet completed. It's important to remember that even the smallest actions are still actions and two minutes can make all the difference.
[00:12:53] Even if you don't believe you need to work on all the different kinds of mental clutter that these [00:13:00] exercises pertain to, the chances are high that you can relate to at least one of them. If one tip is speaking to you more than the others, just try adding that into your daily routine before moving on to the others. Don't be afraid to experiment with the different tips I've shared. There aren't any rules stating that you can't adjust them to work for you.
[00:13:25] Finding ways to get rid of mental clutter in your head is super important if you want to be able to gain mental clarity and achieve the success that you want in your life. In the past four weeks, I've talked about different topics related to gaining mental clarity. If you haven't started on any of 'em or you haven't listened to the last few podcasts, it's not too late.
[00:13:53] You can start small, decide what you're gonna work on first, and just go from [00:14:00] there. Implement some of the tactics I've presented, and don't forget to be patient. Decluttering your mind and gaining mental clarity won't happen in a day. The most important thing is to remember to be steady, realistic, and don't give up.
[00:14:18] Change will come. Be sure that you acknowledge and appreciate the small victories along the way. If you want to reach out to me for a free consultation to learn how we could work together, you'll gain at least a small amount of clarity just from filling out the questionnaire. So I will put that in the show notes, how to schedule that.
[00:14:45] That's it for. Have a great rest of your day, and I will see you in here next week. Bye for now. Thank you for listening to the Extraordinary Life Podcast with writer and coach Crystal Obregon. [00:15:00] We'd love to connect with you outside of the podcast too. To find more helpful insights, show notes, and more about Crystal, go to Crystal Obregon.com.
[00:15:08] That's O B R E G O N, where you'll also find info for the Design Your Decade workshop. This workshop will help you to stop drifting and start creating. Until next time, be extraordinary.