Mental Health

8 Ways To Clear Mental Clutter

Do you feel mentally exhausted by the end of the day? Try these 8 mindful ways to clear your mind and control your thoughts.

By URLife Team
29 Nov 2023

Do you ever find yourself mentally exhausted by the end of the day? Similar to how physical clutter accumulates, mental clutter can pile up, impacting your mind. Although not as conspicuous, it's crucial to declutter your mind just like you would tidy your space.


Mindfulness 101:Bring calm into your day with these daily tips. Sign up here.


According to a 2020 study in the journal Neuropsych,  a regular individual has around 60,000 thoughts daily–contributing to heightened stress and mental clutter. External stressors and life changes can contribute to mental clutter, but a significant portion stems from our own thoughts and habits. 

  • Clutching onto outdated notions, habits, or aspirations that no longer align with your present life.
  • Being pulled into a continuous stream of information from all directions—endless dates, meetings, and appointments—creating overwhelming pressure.
  • Yielding to a persistent fear of missing out (FOMO) or struggling to keep pace with everything.
  • Delaying decisions frequently, falling into the habit of procrastination.
  • Engaging in negative self-talk within your own mind, unconsciously echoing pessimistic thoughts.

So, if you have ever experienced such mental chaos, then you are not alone. It happens to the best of us. 


Related story: Declutter Your Life, Declutter Your Mind


What is Mind Clutter?

Mental clutter occurs when our minds become overloaded with an abundance of thoughts, creating challenges in processing information and maintaining focus. This clutter disrupts our cognitive flow, adversely affecting productivity, equilibrium, and overall mental well-being. It's a familiar experience: forgetting crucial dates, feeling pulled in numerous directions, and struggling to see a project through to completion.

A cluttered mind can have significant repercussions. It's a drain on both time and mental energy, leading to confusion, distraction, and disorganisation. This clutter hampers your ability to establish clear priorities, make decisions, maintain focus, and be productive. Furthermore, a cluttered mind can disconnect you from the present moment, causing a loss of connection to yourself, your surroundings, your relationships, and the immediate experiences you're in. Recognising these effects highlights the importance of decluttering the mind for improved clarity, focus, and presence in daily life.


Related story: How To Be More Mindful At Work And Home


Signs of A Cluttered Mind

Recognising signs of a cluttered mind can help identify when a mental decluttering process might be beneficial. It can manifest in multiple ways for any individual. 

Here are some common indicators:

  • Difficulty focusing: Constantly shifting thoughts or finding it challenging to concentrate on tasks.
  • Feeling overwhelmed: Sensation of being mentally overloaded or unable to prioritise due to an influx of thoughts.
  • Forgetfulness: Regularly forgetting important details, dates, or commitments.
  • Lack of clarity: Struggling to make decisions or feeling uncertain about the next steps.
  • Emotional imbalance: Experiencing heightened stress, anxiety, or mood swings due to mental clutter.
  • Procrastination: Putting off tasks or projects because of mental confusion or disorganisation.
  • Ruminating thoughts: Repetitive, negative, or unproductive thinking patterns that loop in the mind.


Related Story: Ask the Expert: Everything You Want to Know About Mental Health

How To Declutter Your Mind?

In today's fast-paced and interconnected world, experiencing brain fog has become a prevalent issue. However, by making minor adjustments to our routines and habits, we can effectively declutter our minds and steer clear of unnecessary mental fatigue. These changes can significantly mitigate the strain on our brains in this busy environment.

Breaking free from limiting mental habits is crucial for unlocking your full potential. To cultivate mental strength and declutter your mind, it's essential to be deliberate about where you direct your focus and how you allocate your time and energy. This intentional approach allows you to unravel unhealthy thinking patterns that hinder your progress and clutter your mind.


1. Ditch the pity parties to get out of negativity

It's normal to feel sadness or disappointment, but self-pity is distinct. It involves exaggerating misfortunes and convincing yourself they outweigh others' struggles. Yet, if you let it, self-pity can keep you stagnant. When you catch yourself hosting a pity party, commit to taking positive action, even if the issue seems unsolvable—such as a loved one's health problem. Choose to improve either your life or someone else's, redirecting your focus.

Watch out for language that portrays you as a victim. Statements like "Nobody gets me" or "I always attract bad luck" signal a mindset cluttered with negativity. When you notice these thoughts, pause, take a deep breath, and pinpoint one immediate action you can take to enhance your life. This shift in focus helps clear out unproductive thinking patterns.


Related Story: 7 Signs You Need to Take a Break for Your Mental Health


2. Keep surroundings clean to avoid distractions

A 2012 study cited in the Journal ofi, suggests that a cluttered environment—be it at home or work—creates a continual battle for your attention, limiting your mental focus and information processing abilities. 

Clutter, whether acknowledged or not, occupies a portion of your mind, hindering clear thinking and decisive actions. A 2016 study published in Environment and Behavior explored in the context of food choices within a chaotic kitchen. It revealed that individuals who felt powerless over the clutter in their kitchen tended to make poorer food choices, consuming more cookies compared to those who felt in control of their kitchen environment. Improving your mental well-being involves organising and decluttering your physical space to free your mind from these distractions.


3. Get some sleep to rejuvenate and think straight

Sleep plays a crucial role in maintaining a healthy mental state. Insufficient sleep not only leads to sleepiness but also contributes to a phenomenon known as brain "fog," where clear thinking and memory are affected. A 2017 study cited in the journal Nature Medicine has found that sleep deprivation disrupts communication between brain cells, resulting in temporary mental lapses.

Prioritising restful sleep is a foundational step in decluttering your mind and cultivating healthy habits. By ensuring adequate and quality sleep, you support your brain's ability to function optimally, enhancing mental clarity and overall well-being.


Related story: How To Calm Mind And Get A Good Night's Sleep

4. Detox your body to declutter your mind

The impact of toxins in the body can lead to various health issues like exhaustion, adrenal fatigue, painful periods, and adult acne. Prioritising balanced and nourishing meals can significantly improve how you feel. While healing takes time, consuming nutrient-rich foods gradually enhances overall well-being, lifting mental fog and promoting clarity of mind.

Additionally, engaging in physical activity can be beneficial. You don't have to run if it's not your thing; any low-impact workout can provide similar effects to a runner's high. Getting sweaty through exercise contributes to overall health and mental well-being, complementing the benefits of a balanced diet.


5. Meditate to get clarity over cluttered thoughts 

According to a 2012 study as cited in the journal Psychology Today, meditation serves as a tool to reduce confusion by honing in on priorities and enhancing focus while minimising distractions. Integrating meditation into your daily routine empowers you to declutter your mind effectively, paving the way for mental clarity and a more centred perspective.

Take a minute to centre yourself by focusing on your breath. Feel the air flow in through your nose, filling your lungs, then gently exhale through your mouth. If thoughts interrupt, take another deep breath and restart. Be kind to yourself and let your mind unwind, allowing relaxation to flow in with each breath.

6. Let go of any emotional baggage to reduce overthinking

Mental clutter and emotional clutter are closely intertwined. Holding onto negative thoughts and emotions not only clutters your emotional landscape but also clouds your mind. Letting go of emotional clutter isn't simple, especially when deep-rooted feelings are involved. Seeking therapy can be incredibly beneficial in this process.

As you address emotional well-being, you'll notice a freeing up of mental space. Emotions have the power to cloud thoughts and drain your energy, so working on emotional health can clear mental clutter and revitalise your mental state.


Related story: Steps You Can Take When You Are Overthinking

7. Write down your feelings to reorganise your thoughts

Journaling is a powerful tool to declutter the mind and organise thoughts. Research in the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health highlights how expressive writing reduces intrusive thoughts about negative events and enhances working memory. This process effectively frees up mental space, aiding in the management of anxiety and stress.

Maintaining a journal offers a dedicated space to dissect and clarify thoughts, managing mental clutter effectively. If simply jotting down thoughts doesn't curb rumination, journaling provides further avenues. It's an explorative form of writing, ideal for problem-solving or delving into personal beliefs and reflections, providing the mental space necessary for finding solutions or deeper self-understanding.


Related story: Journaling 101: How To Journal For A Better Mindset

8. Create a to-do list to complete priorities on time

Creating a to-do list allows us to streamline our thoughts, breaking down the seemingly endless stream of tasks into manageable priorities for the day, week, or month. Psychology Today highlights how completing tasks on a to-do list provides a sense of accomplishment as we tick off each item. The beauty of a to-do list lies in clearing our minds of minutiae, subsequently reducing anxiety and fostering creativity, leading to improved brain function.


Decluttering your mind frees up valuable time and energy, allowing you to channel these resources toward positive and productive endeavours. This shift empowers you to cultivate the mental strength necessary to evolve into the best version of yourself.

Slowing down intentionally to prioritise activities that nourish your body, mind, and spirit can significantly reduce mental clutter and enhance overall well-being. By actively reducing mental clutter and incorporating stress-reducing practices to clear your mind, you'll experience a notable improvement in how you feel overall. Taking these steps to prioritise self-care and mental clarity can profoundly benefit your well-being.

Mindfulness 101:Bring calm into your day with these daily tips. Sign up here.


Follow Us On Instagram