You may have de­clut­tered your home and of­fice spa­ces. But have you de­clut­tered your mind? Rus­sell Hem­mings of­fers tips to make this year work splen­didly for you

Friday - - CONTENTS -

Men­tal min­i­mal­ism is all the rage now – Rus­sell Hem­mings from Fri­day’s ex­pert panel tells us how to get rid of all the clut­ter lodged up there.

So here we are again. An­other fresh and op­por­tu­nity-laden new year stretches out be­fore us. Wel­come to the world 2019. After all, this year will be ‘the’ year, won’t it? You surely must have read a lot about the power of a new year; about new be­gin­nings, new chal­lenges, new hori­zons, new di­rec­tions, new life­style – the new you. They are all won­der­fully valid in their own way – to be em­braced, com­mit­ted to and en­cour­aged.

I’d like to in­tro­duce an­other idea into that new year mix. Much of the pres­sure and stress we ex­pe­ri­ence in life is brought on by the count­less minis­cule choices we make or don’t make through­out the year. As the old year ends, we can feel weighed down with the con­se­quences of some of those choices. This new year presents us with an op­por­tu­nity to find ways to lighten the load and be­come more aware of how much metaphor­i­cal, emo­tional and phys­i­cal bag­gage we haul around. Let’s make 2019 the year we lighten the load and start think­ing and act­ing with clar­ity. So, how do you be­gin to ‘live light’?

Start­ing the year with an ex­tremely long list of res­o­lu­tions is often a counter-pro­duc­tive strat­egy when it comes to change. If you’re some­one who strug­gles to make change stick, then at­tempt­ing too much too soon can back­fire and leave you feel­ing de­flated and worse than you did be­fore you started.

Change should come in chunks and be dealt with one small piece at a time.

So, here’s a pick-and-mix menu of small changes that can help you make real progress in the year ahead.

Be true to your­self

En­deav­our to be your­self. Per­sonal hon­esty is a skill many peo­ple strug­gle to master. Con­tin­u­ally try and for­give your­self and don’t carry the bur­den of fear and re­gret. Try not to worry when you mess up. You can al­ways try again to­mor­row... and the day after.

De­velop your re­silience quo­tient by re­fram­ing neg­a­tive events and putting a more pos­i­tive spin on them. Fail­ure is part of life and can be seen as an op­por­tu­nity to learn some of life’s most im­por­tant lessons. To­mor­row is an­other day and peo­ple who don’t feel weighed down by re­gret or fail­ure know this.

Try to worry less about what peo­ple think (or at least what you think they think). Some­times you’ll need to make choices that make sense to you, even if they don’t nec­es­sar­ily make sense to those around you.

All ac­tions have con­se­quences and that means you need to be able to live with the choices you make. When it comes to those key life events, mak­ing the right choice can some­times be over­whelm­ing, so tak­ing the time to weigh things up and plan­ning be­fore you opt for a cer­tain path­way will em­power you and give you that self-be­lief – a key in­gre­di­ent in suc­cess.

Mi­nus or plus?

Min­imis­ing the ef­fect neg­a­tiv­ity has on your life is also a key fac­tor in ‘liv­ing light’. Avoid­ing at least some of the in­ter­ac­tion with those who make you feel low can give you an enor­mous sense of re­lief and free­dom. Granted, I un­der­stand you can’t al­ways pick and choose who you in­ter­act with. How­ever, by re­duc­ing your ex­po­sure to neg­a­tiv­ity you will in turn in­crease your own pos­i­tive out­look.

If you’re em­bark­ing on a de­tox pro­gramme I al­ways sug­gest you start with the toxic peo­ple; neg­a­tiv­ity is in­fec­tious, so the more you limit your ex­po­sure the less likely you are to catch a dose of it.

Once you be­gun to min­imise the neg­a­tive, there are lots of small ways to max­imise the pos­i­tives in your life. It’s a proven fact that those ‘up-beat’ op­ti­mists among us are more likely to live longer, forge bet­ter re­la­tion­ships and bounce back quicker from ad­ver­sity.

Liv­ing light is about learn­ing to put pos­i­tiv­ity into your life wher­ever you can. And be­lieve me, you can ac­tu­ally learn to do this.

Neg­a­tive thought pat­terns can be bro­ken, but you have to want to do it and work at it. Anx­i­ety, low mood, stress, fear, low self-es­teem... these repet­i­tive emo­tional be­hav­iours con­spire to weigh you down and keep you trapped.

The first step to be­com­ing un­bur­dened is to recog­nise when these emo­tions strike and take a step back. This is the only way can you achieve that dis­con­nec­tion be­tween thought and re­al­ity. This ob­jec­tiv­ity will al­low you to man­age that neg­a­tiv­ity far more ef­fec­tively and be­gin to un­der­stand that this is un­help­ful think­ing and only serves to hold you back.

Each new day is a gift

Do you go to bed stressed and wake up tired? In­creas­ingly, our modern, tech­nol­ogy-filled lives are nib­bling away at our sense of in­ner tran­quil­lity, leav­ing us feel­ing fraz­zled and like we’re al­ways run­ning on empty. So, in­stead of recharg­ing your phone, it’s time to re-charge your bat­ter­ies and plug into a new way of think­ing.

Try start­ing your day with easy con­ver­sa­tion or re­lax­ing mu­sic or peace and quiet – just for a lit­tle while.

Avoid so­cial me­dia be­ing the very first in­ter­ac­tion you have with the new day. All of those com­pet­ing voices, all of that ‘noise’ can be over­whelm­ing for the brain.

Tak­ing a lit­tle time to ease into things can bring enor­mous re­wards for the day ahead. Just start­ing with that clar­ity will aid your fo­cus and give you a more pos­i­tive en­er­gised feel­ing.

The same goes for the very last thing at night – avoid so­cial me­dia be­ing the fi­nal in­ter­ac­tion and thought you have prior to sleep. If you must have a smart­phone by the bed (and I’m afraid many of us do), dis­able the pings, dings and rings which will pull you out of im­por­tant qual­ity sleep which is a must.

It cleans the brain and fresh­ens it for the next day. It’s es­sen­tial to sort­ing your thoughts and pre­par­ing your body and mind for the day ahead. Get­ting plenty of rest is nec­es­sary in the re­duc­tion of stress and helps to boost your im­mune sys­tem.

Re-learn the gen­tle art of re­lax­ation

When was the last time you had a com­plete rest day? When you did ab­so­lutely noth­ing? Tak­ing a whole day off from ev­ery­thing might seem im­pos­si­ble, but it’s vi­tal to ded­i­cate at least some time to our­selves. As adults, we often have to sub­ju­gate our own needs to pri­ori­tise the needs of oth­ers. Mak­ing time for your­self every once in a while to do… well… ab­so­lutely noth­ing… is def­i­nitely a per­sonal skill worth de­vel­op­ing. You’re worth it.

One way to have the time to do this is to learn how to make the time.

When you man­age your time more ef­fec­tively, it’s amaz­ing how much more you seem to have. By prac­tis­ing time man­age­ment in ev­ery­day life, and not just at work, you’ll dis­cover that there are more hours in a day to ded­i­cate to plea­sure and re­lax­ation. The key chal­lenge for those want­ing to live light is not to au­to­mat­i­cally fill this time with more from the ‘to do’ list. In­stead, use it to en­joy your­self and achieve more of that life bal­ance that will ul­ti­mately make you hap­pier.

Tidy your mind, tidy your space

A clut­tered and messy mind is a rest­less and un­fo­cused mind. Try­ing to go in nu­mer­ous dif­fer­ent di­rec­tions at the same time re­sults in very lit­tle get­ting done. Men­tal clut­ter hap­pens when you find your­self wor­ry­ing about the fu­ture, pon­der­ing the past and re­play­ing count­less sce­nar­ios end­lessly in your thoughts. Luck­ily, there are strate­gies you can em­ploy to calm things down and tidy your head space.

De­clut­ter the en­vi­ron­ment around you. Have you con­sid­ered that phys­i­cal clut­ter can lead to men­tal clut­ter? I think it does. I’ve found that clut­ter as­saults the mind, mak­ing it harder to know where to start. This then en­er­gises the brain into work­ing over­time to process all this ‘clut­tered’ in­for­ma­tion. There’s no deny­ing that or­gan­is­ing your liv­ing space can help you or­gan­ise your men­tal space.

Leave the past right there

There’s so much clut­ter and bag­gage as­so­ci­ated with what you’ve done or not done in the past that it can over­take your fu­ture thoughts and plans. Be­cause mind clut­ter is usu­ally re­lated to the past it can over­shadow the fu­ture. I be­lieve a new year should equal a new start – and you can’t make a new start when your head is filled with the mis­takes you’ve made, the op­por­tu­ni­ties you’ve missed and the griev­ances you’ve had. It just won’t work.

To truly move things for­ward you need to throw off the chains of the past. If you’re gen­uinely bur­dened by what has gone be­fore, seek­ing pro­fes­sional help is def­i­nitely worth con­sid­er­ing. Some­times, we aren’t strong enough to move for­ward on our own and hav­ing a per­son by your side to guide you can help you nav­i­gate the road ahead. By be­ing de­ci­sive, clear and stay­ing fo­cused, 2019 is a great op­por­tu­nity to rem­edy your ap­proach. Fo­cus­ing on what you re­ally want and work­ing back through the steps to get you there will help you to set a course for suc­cess. There will be ups and downs along the way – that’s life – but it’s all about mak­ing that se­ries of small changes and weav­ing them to­gether to trans­form your big­ger pic­ture.

Don’t feel guilty to say NO in 2019. Pleas­ing all the peo­ple all of the time is im­pos­si­ble and detri­men­tal to your own health and well-be­ing. But don’t be afraid to say YES ei­ther – YES to new ways of think­ing, yes to chang­ing things that can be changed and yes to wel­com­ing a new you.

If you’re em­bark­ing on a de­tox pro­gramme, I al­ways sug­gest you start with the toxic peo­ple; neg­a­tiv­ity is in­fec­tious, so limit it to a min­i­mum

There’s so much clut­ter and bag­gage as­so­ci­ated with what you’ve done or not done that it can over­take your plan, says Rus­sell

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UAE

© PressReader. All rights reserved.