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Simple ways to clear your mental clutter

Sarah Caron is a Connecticut-based freelance writer and editor. She lives with her wonderful husband, two adorable kids and two funny beagles. Check out her food blog at Sarah's Cucina Bella.

free your mind

Tired of being so stressed out? May is Mental Health Month, and we've got helpful ways to clear the mental clutter and ease your mind.
Woman closing eyes and relaxing

You know the drill. You've been trying to focus on work for the last hour, but you can't seem to make any progress. Your mind is going in a million directions and it's getting you nowhere. Or maybe you've been trying to fall asleep, but the harder you try to relax, the more awake you become because those thoughts just won't stop.

Mental clutter is the worst. Besides taking you away from what you should be doing, it saps your energy and leaves you totally stressed out. What can you do to combat it?

Work out (literally) the kinks

It's amazing how a good workout can have so many benefits and good results for your body, mind and soul — and it can even help with that mental clutter. "Even just taking a walk can bring equilibrium to a busy brain," says Kelly Walsh, owner of 1 Smart Life, a personal coaching business.

Breathe it away

Sometimes the simplest solution really is the best one. And in the case of mental clutter this can be true — all you need to do is breathe away your stress and trouble. "The next time you catch yourself feeling overwhelmed or rushing — stop. Close your eyes. Reconnect. Touch base with your inner calm. Try it for 30 seconds. Just breathe," says Susan Steinbrecher, a leadership author and management consultant.

Do a brain dump

Is your brain going a mile a minute? Free yourself by doing a brain dump. "Find a time where you can spend a few minutes and just write everything that pops into your head. Don't worry about what it is and how you are going to get it done, just write. Write until you can't think anymore, but leave space because you will always think of more things, always," says Michelle Monroe Morton, DIY mompreneur.

Morton says that she uses the strategy to great success. It helps her break out of that cranky can't-think slump. "After you've gotten everything out of your head, go back and read what you wrote. Take a deep breath and ask yourself what you can do to help alleviate some of this for yourself," says Morton.

Five-minute refresh

Still need help? Take five.

Seriously.

"The most effective and quickest way to clear mental clutter is to take five minutes and do something completely different than what you are doing. This could include getting outside if you are stuck inside, practice deep breathing, close your eyes and visualize a beautiful place you love," says Diane Sieg, a former ER nurse turned speaker, author, life coach and yoga teacher. "Movement is also very helpful with a walk, simple yoga pose or even just standing. Set your timer so you can do this for the whole five minutes and notice how refreshed you are."

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