I don’t know about you, but when I have too much going on in my mind, I suffer from the mental “fuzzies.” It’s like having dust bunnies in the head, the kind you get under the bed when you forget to sweep it out.
But it’s more than that. In a lot of ways, your mind is like a closet that you shove all kinds of things (thoughts) into and forget they’re there, only to have them remind you of their presence when you have to open the door to get something else out.
I’m convinced, based on my own experience that creativity comes best with a clear mind. So taking the time to declutter mentally as well as physically is a good way to, well, create more access to your creative center. (I’m no psychologist though, so take whatever I say here to be my personal experiences, not professional advice.)
So if you’re not feeling as creative as you’d like to, here are a few of my favorite ways to clear the mental cobwebs and make room for new ideas.
1. Do something physical.
You know, that dreaded “E” word…
Yes, I’m talking about exercise. I never would have believed that exercising can clear your mind until I joined a gym and started working out every day. Even if I only go in for 20 minutes and walk on the treadmill, it leaves me feeling clearer and cleaner bot mentally and physically and I come home ready to sit down and write for the rest of the day.
2. Organize your space.
When your space is organized, it’s much easier to organize your thoughts as well. If you’re feeling mentally cluttered because there are already too many thoughts taking up room in your head, then having to deal with physical clutter only makes it worse. Take some time either at the beginning or the end of each day to organize your space, especially your work space, and you will find that your creative energy flows more smoothly when it doesn’t have to navigate piles of clutter and unfinished work.
3. Organize your thoughts.
Just as you organize your space, you can also organize your thoughts. I realize that doesn’t sound very inspirational, or even creative to suggest making lists and writing things down but it really does help. If you can journal or even keep a list of the things you have to do, the things you’d like to do, and the ideas you come up with during the day it makes it much easier to access the mental energy needed to tackle each item on the list at the appropriate time.
4. Focus on one thing at a time.
There’s nothing more mentally tiring than trying to juggle several projects at once. Focusing on one project at a time lets you focus all your creative energy on that work so that you can create to the best of your ability.
If you must work on more than one thing during the day (and we all do to some degree) make sure that you give yourself enough of a break in between so that you approach each project with a clear mind.
5. Make some “Me time” for yourself.
Speaking of taking a break, make sure you always take some “me time” during the day. Even if you can only manage ten or fifteen minutes it will help to recharge your body and spirit as well as your mind. Having only to focus on yourself instead of meeting the demands of others for those few minutes will give you a lift and time to clear your mind.
6. Go for a walk.
One of the nicest ways to use your me time can be going outside for a short walk. It is a great way to not only clear your mind from a previous project, but to gather new ideas and creative energy. Let your mind wander free and take in the sights and sounds of nature all around you and you’ll be surprised and what you come up with that you might not have considered if you’d spent the entire day indoors.
7. Find other ways to relax.
If walking is not your thing, (and granted it’s not for everyone) then do something else that you find relaxing. Whether you like to curl up with a good book, or soak in a nice bubble bath, or even hit the local pool for a swim these are all ways to get in some quality me-time and let your mind wander at will.
8. Learn to meditate.
Or, if you already know how, then make time to practice every day. One of the best ways to clear your mind is through meditation. I’ve also found that not only do I get rid of the mental dust bunnies, I also come up with some of my best ideas just by meditating.
9. Take a deep breath.
Finally, if you need a quick mental clearing, nothing beats just taking a deep breath or two. Breathe in calm, peaceful energy and exhale all your stress, tension, and mental clutter. I find this works especially well if I’m in the middle of something and the words just won’t come.
Clearing out your mental clutter is essential to being more creative. Try using some of these tips to get rid of your mental dust bunnies and you will find that older ideas and energy that no longer serve your purpose are replaced by fresh new energy and ideas that will leave you at your creative best once again.