5 Steps to Clearing Mental Clutter

Posted by: Jo Banks

Date: 18-11-2014

Our constant mental chatter can put us in a constant state of fight or flight which leads to bad decision making which impacts our health and wellbeing. 

Clearing away mental clutter using one or all of the following techniques can really increase ability to deal with the daily stresses and strains of life and make better decisions, much easier.


1.            Learning Lessons Analysis

The US Army uses a process called After Action Review to learn from the past and do better in the future.  The process helps clear out regret from things that have already happened.  Learning lessons from the past can help set you on a more productive future.

Ask yourself the following questions:

  • What was supposed to happen?
  • What actually happened?
  • What would I do differently next time?

2.            Visualising the Future

As the brain can't tell the difference between something real and something that's vividly imagined, visualising a positive future and how you really want things to turn out increases the chances of it happening immeasurably.  For top athletes, visualisation is a key part of their training.

Take a few deep breaks and answer the following two questions:

  • What am I trying to do?
  • What do I need to do to achieve it?

3.            Deep Breathing

Navy Seals are trained to do four minutes of deep breathing before they are deployed, to counter balance the stress of their mission.  I regularly teach this to clients, it's a great way to release tension and feel calmer almost instantly.  It's also incredibly easy to do and no-one needs to know you're doing it (great for calming interview or public speaking nerves). 

  • Take 10 deep breaths in through the nose and out through the mouth, breathing from your stomach rather than your chest (putting your hand on your stomach will help with this)
  • Observe what's going on around you and within you.

4.            Create Time for Unconscious Thought

Have you ever noticed that we have our greatest ideas when we're doing something completely unrelated eg when we're in the shower?  If you're struggling to find the solution to a problem, leave it ... go for a walk, do something different, stop thinking about it consciously and give your subconscious time to come up with the answer.  Believe it or not, we always know the answer to our all of our problems, we just don't realise it consciously.

5.            Ask if it's Necessary

Quite often when we find ourselves in overwhelm, we continue to do the same old tasks on a regular basis which are not really necessary.  How many hours a week are you using doing tasks that you don't need to or that could be delegated?  Ask yourself, "What's the most important thing to get done today? What could be postponed? What could be done by someone else?"  It's not about ignoring tasks, it's about refocusing distractions.

These are really simple techniques that can have real impact if you use them on a consistent basis. 


Do you need help clearing your mental clutter? Contact us a call for a free, no obligation consultation about how we can help you.

JO's FIRST BOOK: Thoughts Become Things

Visit the website for Jo Banks' first book, Thoughts Become Things now available in paperback and Kindle formats.