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As the weather warms up and the season of renewal approaches, you may be thinking about getting rid of old furniture, toys, clothes, and other clutter taking up space in your home. Spring cleaning can certainly help you better-organize your space to make the best use of your home... but can the same concept be applied to mental health?
The short answer is "yes!" It's possible to perform a "mental spring cleaning"—decluttering unnecessary messages, habits, and even certain people—in order to improve your state of mental health. Take a few minutes to better understand how you can begin to “clean out” your mind and start feeling mentally refreshed!
Throughout the year we may accumulate negative messages and drama that collectively impact our mental clarity and ability to enjoy life. Eliminating these issues can help you feel refreshed (rather than depleted), and refocus your energy on self-improvement. In addition to shampooing the carpets and reseeding the planters, consider the following ways to spring clean your mind.
How you approach a deep cleaning should be tailored to your individual needs. For many, a great way to start is by reflecting upon the things that trigger stress in your daily life. Below are a few suggestions to help you jump-start your self-reflection.
If you find a friend or other type of relationship leaves your drained and lacking in energy, it may be time to "cut the cord" with that person—or at least minimize contact as much as possible. Those people who are a constant negative presence do little to help motivate you toward positive change.
Bad habits can include anything from emotional eating to substance abuse problems. Select one habit to change at a time. It generally takes 30 days of consecutive effort for the new behaviors to replace the old ones, so be sure to stick with it for long term results!
Negative self-talk gets in the way of achieving your goals and making positive changes. Use this season of renewal to "take stock" of your mental health—areas in your life and thoughts that may be holding you back or causing a drain on your energy—and replace those with affirming, encouraging self-talk and activities.
Try starting a gratitude journal to help you refocus thoughts in a positive direction. Cultivate supportive friendships which can help you identify and eliminate relationships that may not be affirming. Work in more physical exercise, which can provide energy and boost your mood. Meditation can also help you identify and release negative thoughts, reduce stress, and bring you more in tune with your inner voice and personal needs.
You can replace old habits with new behaviors gradually. Every small achievement will provide additional incentive to continue your path to better mental health!