What exactly IS mindfulness? According to the dictionary it’s a mental state achieved by focusing one’s awareness on the present moment, while calmly acknowledging and accepting one’s feelings, thoughts, and bodily sensations.
Decluttering can be mindfulness in action. YOU in action, taking steps to improve your environment, right now and in the future.
Of course clutter is subjective: We’re all somewhere different on the scale of Clutter Tolerance. But bearing that in mind, almost everyone has stuff they could get rid of and doing that would make them feel better.
- Things that remind them of bad times.
- Things that hold them back in an old life.
- Things that annoy them, daily.
- Things that get in the way of an easier life.
- Things that weigh on their mind.
- Things that overwhelm.
But tackling those things can be a real challenge. The emotions we feel when we declutter can be uncomfortable. We feel bad.
Bad Feelings and Mindfulness.
We would like to declutter these things but avoiding those bad feelings holds us back from actually doing it.
We avoid guilty, anxious, sad or angry feelings.
Guilt about waste, money, memories, the feelings of others. Anxiety from deep within us. Sadness or angry feelings about the people in our lives. Overwhelm from the sheer volume of stuff.
So what if…
We used mindfulness when we decluttered.
We calmly acknowledge those feelings.
We declutter despite those bad feelings and let them go.
If you’re motivated, you’ve set aside time with no distractions and you ask yourself the right questions, you’re almost there.
You open a cupboard or drawer that makes you feel a bit sick. You hold something in your hand. Thoughts flood your mind, memories, intentions, failures and lost dreams. Those thoughts bring up uncomfortable feelings. But that’s ok. You’ll survive it. Having a support person with you can help too, they can help remind you that you will be ok.
Let those feelings and thoughts pass through your mind as you touch the thing you want to declutter.
Name the feeling if you can. Don’t argue with it, or let it overwhelm you, just observe it. Sometimes it helps to have someone with you to help you describe your emotions and listen to you tell the story behind the feelings.
Accept those emotions. Yes, you’re feeling them. That’s ok. You’re being completely present with the thing in your hand and the thoughts attached to it. Now is the time to let the feelings go as you make a decision about this thing.
You want to declutter it and now you can if that is your choice. You can ask yourself what your priority is, what is the true value of this thing in your life. You might like to read this free ebook – The Secret To Decluttering Difficult Things: 16 Questions To Ask Yourself When Your Head Hurts Or Your Heart Aches.
You can do this step by step, one thing at a time for any length of time that works for you. The most important part is that you keep doing it.
You’ll find that you have decluttered that difficult space, mindfully. You have let the things go and you have let the bad feelings that you associated with them go too. Because you made a decision while fully present you know you made the right decision for you, right now.
Learning to let bad feelings happen, acknowledging them and letting them pass takes practice. It’s a good discipline to have in any area of your life to shorten and reduce your experience of bad feelings. Decluttering can give you that practice.