Decluttering was one of the buzzwords of 2019. The word became especially noteworthy when the series Tidying Up with Marie Kondo premiered on Netflix. In the show, organizing consultant and author Marie Kondo talked about, among other topics, letting go of things that do not “spark joy.” Kondo’s methods resonated with so many people, it received an 81 percent rating on review aggregate site Rotten Tomatoes. Kondo’s success goes to show how people want and need to learn how to focus on the important things, and let go of those things that no longer serve them.
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This is the same theory behind decluttering the mind. A tidy mind beats having a tidy home any day—but it is always harder to achieve the former.
Aurora Suarez, a certified life and career coach, tells ANCX in an email interview, “Decluttering your mind is the same as decluttering your space—to leave behind the thoughts that we no longer need and fill it with positive ideas instead. Thoughts we no longer need include limiting beliefs, old habits, ideas of self-hate, and anything else that doesn’t lead us toward the life we want.” In other words, decluttering the mind is like letting go of the bad thoughts and holding on to the thoughts that “spark joy.”
Suarez began her journey to becoming a life coach a few years ago, when she was working with a counselor during a difficult period in her personal life. She recalls her experience: “I was amazed at the transformation I had in terms of how I thought about myself and my life, and what’s possible.”
Here's a little secret: every time I do a workshop, I get anxious and stressed the night before. When I woke up this morning, I made a choice: to acknowledge my anxiety but not get stuck in that story or give it more energy and instead to start my day with a little dance and remember the joy and delight that always happens when I stand in front of a group of women and invite them to look at their lives from a new perspective. So what do you want to give your energy to today: self-defeating thoughts or ones that empower and make you feel alive? It's always your choice. Photo by @photographybylianne, taken during the At Home workshop with @amommabroad. • • • #lifecoach #lifecoaching #lifecoachingph #yourheartcraftedlife #craftalifeyoulove💖 #havecourage #bekind #embraceyourawesome
At the end of her last session with the counselor, she already knew she wanted to help other people feel better about themselves. She then took a 10-month training program with the Courageous Living Coach Certification, a life coach and leadership training organization based in the United States. Three years ago, she became a full-time coach.
In her years of practice, Suarez learned that it is always easier to look at the more unfortunate aspects of life, to focus on what’s missing or what’s not working at the moment. “These are habits we’ve built up since we were children,” she explains. “When our parents would tell us what we were doing wrong and how to behave; when our teachers would give us low grades, and we would get a bigger reaction from the low grades than from the good grades.” This habit continues as we grow older, and as we are given a longer list of the traits that we can improve on. Somehow, the list of the positive things we do is cut shorter as time goes by.
“Please be gentle with yourself as you work through this process of focusing on the positive,” she writes. “You are unlearning and undoing the habits of a lifetime.” She likens the process to working out: the more regularly and consistently you do it, the bigger the rewards.
“These are habits we’ve built up since we were children. When our parents would tell us what we were doing wrong and how to behave; when our teachers would give us low grades, and we would get a bigger reaction from the low grades than from the good grades.”
Suarez suggests two powerful practices to declutter the mind: meditation and gratitude.
She learned about meditation when she first started doing yoga. It took years before she could stick to the habit. “What made it stick was finding guided meditations that spoke to me, inspired me, and helped me start the day in a positive state.” For beginners, there are applications that you can download on your phone, such as Headpsace and Calm. Suarez uses Insight Timer. Start the habit by meditating for five minutes, then go up to 10 minutes. As you progress, lengthen the amount of time you spend on the habit.
The “gratitude practice” is a method she often recommends to most of her clients. This is how it’s done: At the end of the day, list down the five specific things that you are grateful for. There are two components to this practice. One, you have to write it down—don’t just keep it in your head. Two, the list of things you are grateful for has to be specific to that day only. This can also be done in the morning to start your day with positivity.
Her former counselor recommended this to her, after she had read about it on O Magazine. “I told him that it was corny, and he told me to try it anyway. Needless to say, it changed my life.”
A powerful mind
Decluttering the mind is important because “the mind is incredibly powerful,” Suarez reiterates. “Your thoughts have the power to create reality.” She cites an example: “You can think, ‘My life is amazing’ even if there is no evidence yet. But if you really look deeper, you can find proof that your thought is true.”
Getting to a goal can start with powerful thoughts, which will lead you to the right actions. Simply thinking and believing in statements like, “I am in perfect health,” or “I am earning so much money,” can take you to the right people and to the right steps, both of which can make these statements your reality.
To emphasize her point, she quotes a line from the book You are a Badass by Jen Sincero: “Our thoughts become our words, our words become our beliefs, our beliefs become our actions, our actions become our habits, and our habits become our realities.”
Simply put, “If you want a better reality, think better thoughts.”
As the first month of the new year is about to end, Suarez urges everyone to declutter their mind. It will not be easy. But if an organized home evokes feelings of peace and calmness, imagine what an organized mind can do.
Suarez says, “We can take responsibility for our lives, or we can allow the circumstances of our lives to dictate our moods, feelings, and motivations.” Take the first choice.