Flourish Self Help

Five Strategies to Stop Hoarding Thoughts and Find Peace of Mind

Last month, I decided that it was time to do some cleaning. My quest actually started at the start of the new year, but last month is when I sprung into action (don’t judge me).  So, I love shoes and clothes. Looking around in my closet, I realized that my love is out of control.  Let’s be honest; we all have our go-to pieces. Yet, hold on to stuff! A little back story, yes, I’m that chick that will hold on to something because I’m going to wear it eventually. My latest “eventually” has lasted over 20 years.  I’ve had this green (my favorite color) pencil skirt(eeek) since 1999; I’m dating myself now. I love everything about this skirt. I got the skirt, wore it once, and every year after that, I’ve told myself don’t let go of it just yet. Eventually… you’ll get back into it. Eventually is going to happen. So that skirt and a host of other things had my closet a mess. The final straw was when I realized I’d created a path to get in and out of my closet. If we’re honest, our lives are full of clutter. Your clutter may look different than mine. Your clutter may be kitchen gadgets. Your clutter may be hair care products. Jewelry or crafting material. Whatever the case is, clutter can be physical stuff or mental stuff.  We’re all attached to something that makes us feel good, look important, and more. That green pencil skirt, she is cute, but she was pre-baby! In 1999, your girl was snatched! I felt good. I was in a good place in my life.

Are you hoarding thoughts?

Hoarding is something we’re all familiar with thanks to television shows like Hoarders or Hoarding: Buried Alive. These shows follow hoarders through their lived experiences and help them learn to manage their illnesses. Hoarding is a serious condition, and over 1.4 million Americans are affected by this illness. So, it is a thing that many suffer with.  Have you considered that you might be hoarding thoughts? Think about it. I like to put things in perspective. Hoarding is another way we hold onto the old, and the unnecessary despite its lack of usefulness, and it’s not limited to just physical stuff. We think around 80,000 thoughts a day. What if 20,000 of those thoughts are negative and on repeat from day to day? You could be hoarding thoughts. You could be hoarding old ways of thinking, living, and believing. Are you hoarding or hanging on to thoughts that are of no use to you? Is your mind filled with so many thoughts that you don’t know what to do next or how to handle them? Maybe your green pencil skirt is childhood related. Maybe your green skirt is regret or doubt. Is your green pencil skirt unforgiveness?  All you can think about is what that person did to you, and those thoughts clutter your mind to the point of anger, paralysis, or even fear. Hoarding thoughts will have you stuck in the past, crippled by fear, and ultimately block your blessings.

Here are 5 techniques to declutter and calm your mind, achieve greater focus, and experience greater peace.

  1. Avoid obsessing about over completely silencing the mind. This does no good, and it keeps us stuck in problematic thinking. When I first start working with a client, our goal is to limit how long the negative thoughts stick around. It’s not about stopping those thoughts altogether.  Why? The more you try to stop thinking, the more your thoughts will flow. So, the opposite of what you want actually starts to happen.
  2. Understand that you’ll always have thoughts. All human beings have thoughts. Recognize this is a normal process. Thoughts are just thoughts; they are not reality. Although you can learn to silence your mind in certain situations, you can achieve great peace by learning to take control of what you think instead.
  3. Avoid judging your thoughts. This is a game-changer. It’s tempting to get upset if you have negative thoughts or emotions. You may be quick to judge. Instead of judging and criticizing your thoughts, accept them as normal human emotions. Acknowledge them and then move on. Learn to love and appreciate your mind. This will help your mind calm down because you won’t fight internally. Consider this; you’ll never get to the place of appreciating the positive thoughts if you never had negative ones.
  4. Try to stay present. Overthinking often comes because you’re worried about the future or regret something that has already happened. Ultimately that stress and anxiety will take over. Your brain starts spiraling, and you begin imagining different outcomes, with most of them being, you guessed it negative, and start living in fear.  If you stay in the present moment, then fear can’t take over, and overthinking isn’t an issue. You’re able to focus on what you have to do each day to thrive.
  5. Be okay.  Say it with me; it’s okay to be okay. Not perfect and not awful, but okay. Being okay is the balance between positive and negative. It’s the thin line that allows you to find mental peace. Being okay also means that you learn to accept what is happening in your life. Being okay may mean that you learn to love where you’re at and what you’re doing right now. You learn to appreciate what you have and the people around you. Look, you don’t have to pretend that negative things don’t exist, but you can avoid focusing on them. Center your attention on what is working.

Your thoughts can save you, but they can also destroy you. Your mind can be a busy, cluttered place, so it’s important to learn ways to deal effectively with some of the thoughts. Strategies like these can help you deal with your overthinking so you can find peace.

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