Declutter Your Life
How do you declutter your life? It brings to mind an old routine by George Carlin when he talks about how modern life seems to be all about accumulating stuff. We fill our houses with stuff and when we get too much stuff, we buy a bigger house so we have room for all our stuff. Our houses are containers to keep all our stuff. Sometimes we even have to rent a storage space to keep our extra stuff. That’s a whole industry around keeping our stuff. The funniest routine is when he talks about when you go out of town to visit friends. They put you up in their guestroom and there’s never any room to put your stuff because their stuff is everywhere. Other people’s stuff is worthless, but our stuff is important. Our stuff is not junk. Our stuff has meaning and value, but I realized that sometimes my stuff becomes junk. I’m talking about internal stuff, not the extra knick-knacks cluttering my house I threw away. I’m talking about the ridiculous stuff that takes up space in my head. I realized that the same way I need to clean up my external life and get rid of my useless stuff. I also need to clean up my head space. I need to clean up my brain. If I don’t, it turns into head junk. All of us have stuff and if we don’t deal with our stuff, it becomes junk.
I do this twice a year in the beginning and at the end. The purpose of this is to simplify, declutter and throw out all the things that don’t matter. When you’re not careful, things will creep in. Things will pile up. The next thing you know, you’ve got more head stuff. I’ve mentioned the less is more pattern that shows up in every area of our life. I use this idea to point out that only a few things in life matter. When we break it down, only a few things, ideas or people have the biggest impact. The same pattern shows up in our head junk. Here’s an analogy to explain what I mean. I’m sure you have all been to picnics. It’s nice, peaceful and relaxing. You spread out your blanket and enjoy your lunch. You sip a little wine or beer or juice and then the ants appear. It doesn’t matter if you check the ground beforehand. Somehow they find you and invade your space and you fight back. It doesn’t matter how many you smash. More show up, they’re automatic. Automatic like the negative thoughts that pop up in our heads and start spiraling around even though we don’t invite them in and we do our best to get rid of them. I call these annoying mental patterns INTS, internal triggers. Like a column of tiny little ants can ruin part of the picnic, INTS can ruin your day at least for a while.
The internal trigger starts an endless spiral of internal babble where you start obsessing about what you should or should not have done and how you overlooked something and so on. You will see the collection to less is more in this analogy. For most of us, a few thought patterns dominate and the negative patterns have a particular potency, especially when they are left unnoticed and unchecked. If you watch your thoughts closely, I’ll bet you agree. In fact, I’d like to challenge you to take part in an experiment. Call it an exercise in self-awareness. Over the next few days, pay close attention to your thoughts. Notice how much of you thought energy is taken up in shoulds, coulds or have-tos. Then notice how often taught patterns like yours are negative and judgmental. Start to notice those INTS. I know how I deal with the INTS in my brain. Almost everything in your life is a result of an ongoing series of internal cognitive events happening continuously inside your head. Your feelings and behaviors and what you believe and what you value and nearly everything else about your life are all the results of these internal cognitive events and this is important.
All of it happens outside of your awareness. Here’s why that’s super important. What happens outside of your awareness isn’t a choice. If for instance, your feelings and behaviors are generated outside your awareness, they will happen automatically on autopilot. Sometimes the results would be good and sometimes not. I call this ongoing stream of cognitive events or internal map of reality. Here is what I discovered. If your internal map of reality runs on autopilot, you have to accept the consequences. It can include negative emotions, behaviors and habits you can’t control, continually ending up in the wrong situations and with the wrong people and overall lack of success in your life. In fact, all of the problems from my younger days were the result of an internal map of reality that didn’t work well. All of your problems are being created in your internal map of reality.
I use meditative or mindfulness practice to create enough awareness to observe my internal map of reality, which normally operates outside your awareness. As it created my feelings, behaviors and the people and situations I attracted or became attracted to, because whatever you’re doing with your awareness becomes a choice. I had a lot of that melted away and here’s why they melted away. You can’t keep doing something that doesn’t serve you and do it with awareness. Don’t explain your problems to yourself. Split brain experiments reveal a fascinating phenomenon in the left side of your brain and that phenomenon is affecting your life. When the connections between the two sides of your brain are interrupted, the different tendencies will come to the surface. The left side of your brain wants to find a reason for why things happen even in the face of scans or conflicting information. It’s an explanation factory where quantity is more important than quality. This tendency to form conclusions in the face of scans or conflicting information is especially important when you’re under stress. That’s when you tend more strongly towards an unthinking habitual pattern of thinking, feeling and behaving. Most of us tilt negative. The problems seem bigger, the world seems meaner and you have more reasons to justify your conclusions.
You need to realize this is happening and then you can take proactive steps to improve your life. Take a conscious look at your explanatory style, how you make sense of a stressful event. This conscious exploration can affect the resonance to stress your happiness and your productivity. First, think about the stressful event. Who was involved? What did they say and do? What do you think about the stressful event? Can you be sure that your first thought about the stressful event or situation is true? How will you feel if you didn’t have that thought? What’s a less stressful and more positive way to explain the situation? What are the three reasons that a more positive perspective might be equally true as your original conclusion? What I normally used to do before I became more aware and more conscious was even in my early days, I learned not to speak when I was angry, frustrated or overwhelmed. At that point, I went through it and show that there was some good to it. It didn’t allow the situation to precipitate and become something more. The downside was that people felt troubled and experienced it as rejection.
Along the way, I learned that when I felt overwhelmed and stressed and I knew that I was spinning out of control, I would tell somebody who I’m working with or the group I was working with that I was ready to consider the situation. I will come back and give them a measured response. On the other hand, I also recognized that when I was in a situation like that I was often overwhelmed. My decision-making and choice-making would be extremely restricted and I would normally pick the worst case scenario. I learned then to be aware of what I became aware of, my worst case scenario, and ignore it as reflecting reality. When it came up, I would recognize and acknowledge these were my feelings, but I didn’t take that as a true or reasonable reflection of what was happening. Thirdly when I went back, I would note down, write down and verbalize all the emotions and feelings I had about that situation so I wasn’t bottling them up inside and getting frustrated and angry. I will vent it somewhere.
Sometimes some people talk it out with others. I tend to write about it or ruminate over it silently until after a while everything will spiral down and the whole intensity of the situation will die down. I will begin to see a new emerging perspective, which would then result often in the whole situation to either disappearing as a problem or being quickly resolved and becoming far less of an issue that I originally experienced it as. That brings us to the next area about neuroplasticity. The more I learned about the latest brain discoveries, the more grateful I feel to be alive. Exciting practical life-changing discoveries are being made every day. Did you know that your income level, your happiness, how much you love or be loved, how easily you recover from setbacks and dozens of other desirable human qualities are all generated in your brain?
Scientists now know that you can change your brain, what’s called neuroplasticity. They also know exactly how to change it so that you can create the qualities and capabilities you want to have internally and externally. This takes personal growth and human potential to a whole new level that is much more precise and much more achievable. The bottom line is you can make specific brain changes that will allow you to change the actual wiring in your brain in a way that raises your income ceiling. Increase the power of the prefrontal cortex, the source of self-regulation, and creating lots of effortless willpower. Become natural and confident and motivated. Raise your threshold for stress so the ups and downs of life don’t just bother you the way they used to. Be creative. Have more good ideas. Learn faster and more easily, remember what you learned. Make better decisions, saving your time and money and reducing your regrets. Be happier, more peaceful and more productive. That’s a long list of other desirable qualities.
All of the things I’m talking about are results achieved by my clients and people I’ve worked with in my medical naturopathic practice. Young children with ADD, ASD, autism, older people struggling in difficult times in their lives. Business owners running six to eight-figure incomes and figures businesses and they recognized that they were running into challenges. They were running their businesses and their lives based on their old programming and wiring. When you change that, the capacity changed. In fact, they will come back and tell me how surprised they were that the moment we ran this resulted in a whole new response. Suddenly, the people they were dealing with who they used to experience as difficult and challenging became easy to handle. The first step to all of the above is practicing awareness. The second step is mental spring cleaning or eliminating all the non-essential. This is how and why I regularly do my mental spring cleaning.
One lucky audience that posts a review in iTunes will win a private confidential consultation and coaching with me on discovering your soul’s purpose. I will lead you in a personal journey to discover your unique mind, body psychosomatic map of your life. You will get a detailed report and a personal 45-minute consultation with me that’s worth thousands. I’m going to help you design a life that works so you are able to say yes to the things that matter and eliminate everything else that slows you down. The clearer you can be about how to organize your daily life to support your bigger vision, the more you step into your true potential, stay on track and accomplish all that you want and deserve. Are you ready to make that happen? Feel free to reach out to me to ask your questions at AskDrSun.com. Your life is a gift. Design it. Do what matters and join me each episode as we get closer to designing the life of your dreams. Join me next time on Your Life By Design.