As adults with ADHD, our plates are often piled high with millions of urgent tasks. You cannot focus on the task on the top of your to do list because you have a thousand other things that are nagging at you. You have difficulty sleeping, even though you are tired because of a disagreement you had that morning and it keeps on replaying in your head. You need to sit down and work on a task but instead you turn on your t.v. to drown out all the worries in your head. You have mind clutter. Me to..
So how do you get rid of mind clutter? It isn’t like you can just pick each of those thoughts up and put them on a shelf, throw them in the trash like garbage, or give them to someone who might need them. Getting rid of mental clutter mean finding strategies (like the ones below) to assist you in taken charge of your own brain.
Assess the mess - Physical clutter is easy to locate, however mental clutter can be more easily said than done. You can first ask yourself the following – What in your life is draining? What specific thoughts don’t add up with your life and desires. What is distracting you emotionally? To assist you in indentifying the mind clutter, sit quietly, close your eyes and try to clear your mind. As your thoughts start to flow and distract you from focusing, pause and write these thoughts down. Repeat this over again until all the invasive thoughts are down on paper and your mind finally feels quiet.
Sort –Organize your mind clutter into groups based on how you intend to process the information. Categorize it into groups such as “ I can let it go right now, I can change my attitude or opinion about it, and/or I can talk through it with a mental health professional”.
Action Steps - Take care of this as if you are working on any other project, you will need clear direction for your action steps and deadlines for when to take the next step. Working through the categories that you came up with in Step 2, you can write a to do list of the next steps to reduce to get rid of your feelings of overwhelm. Once you have solidified your to do list, open up your calendar and schedule all your time sensitive action steps for a specific date and time.
Throw out the back pack – Once you resolve the mind clutter issues, do not keep it in your mental backpack to recover it later. Once you have resolved the issue, do your best to never discuss it again, let it go for good.
Avoid Future Mind Clutter Traps – It is difficult to avoid mind clutter, but you can try to prevent some of it. Keep a journal/notebook where you can write down your daily mind clutter. You may want to think about setting a time everyday to ponder on the mind clutter that you can.