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Declutter Your Mind to Sharpen Your Brain
Mental Health

Declutter Your Mind to Sharpen Your Brain

By Elizabeth Drain, LPC, NCC
Posted: August 19, 2021

Have you ever felt so overwhelmed by work and life that you couldn’t think straight? 

You’re not alone.

According to author Marelisa Fabrega, “there’s something worse than having a cluttered home or work space, and that’s having a cluttered mind. A cluttered mind is restless and unfocused. It tries to move in many different directions at once and the result is that very little gets done.”


My own Decluttering story

While brainstorming for this newsletter, I started thinking about my own journey into living a simple life.

I’d had enough of being a stressed out, working mom. I’d had enough of juggling all the work and life while trying to keep it all together.

I wanted to enjoy my daughter, spend time with her and have time for myself too. I wanted to try new things instead of hanging out on the sofa every evening, too tired to do anything and several loads of laundry to do before the morning.

My first experience in making my life easier was decluttering my closets. This project provided insight into what a difference less clutter could make in my daily life and it wasn’t long before I realized I needed to declutter my mind.

I put in place self-care routines to decrease stress and improve my physical and emotional health. I guarded and valued my time like it was the end of the world! Wow, what a difference I felt!

I felt happier, less overwhelmed, less stressed, more energized and more motivated to do things. I began to realize that taking care of my mind was an essential part of self-care and being emotionally and physically healthy.

Not only did I feel better, but I was also a better friend, mother and employee.

Now I prioritize decluttering my mind on a daily basis as part of my own self-care routine. I found that I’m a better person when I’m in a better place, physically and emotionally!


Ways to Declutter Your Mind and Free Up Mental Space

adapted from article by Marelisa Fabrega,


  1. Declutter Your Physical Environment.

Physical clutter leads to mental clutter. First of all, clutter bombards the mind with excessive stimuli, which forces the brain to work overtime. Secondly, physical clutter signals to the brain that there’s always something else that needs to be done, which is mentally exhausting. As you declutter your physical space you’ll discover that your mind is also decluttered.

  1. Keep a Journal.

A journal allows you to download the inner chatter that’s constantly interrupting your thought process when you’re trying to get important things done. For example, you can write in your journal about the following:

      • Things that you’re worried about;
      • Plans for achieving an important goal;
      • Concerns about a relationship that’s draining your energy; and so on.
  1. Let Go of the Past.

Mind clutter is often related to the past. Most people keep a large cabinet of mental drawers stored in the back of their minds. These drawers are filled with mistakes they’ve made, opportunities they’ve missed, people they’ve hurt, past grievances, and so on.

Take the time to go through those mental drawers and discard memories of the past that are not serving you well and are just cluttering up your current life.


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  1. Limit the Amount of Information Coming In.

Too much information can clog up the brain. This includes the information that you take in each day by reading newspapers, blogs, and magazines; watching TV; participating in social media; surfing the web on your smart phone; and so on.

Limit the amount of information that comes into your life—and create space in your brain–by doing the following:

      • Set a limit on the amount of time that you’re going to spend on social media sites or browsing the internet.
      • Make sure that the opinions that you pay attention to come from well-regarded and credentialed individuals.
      • Decide what information is relevant to you and disregard everything else.
  1. Prioritize.

Nothing creates as much brain clutter as an endless to-do list. Accept that you can’t do it all, and choose to focus on the things which are most important to you. Make a short list of your top priorities, and make sure that the bulk of your brain space is devoted to the things on that list.

  1. Learn to Meditate.

In essence, meditation is learning to focus the mind completely on the present moment. When you learn how to place all of your attention on one thing—such as your breath–, all other thoughts disappear. It’s almost the equivalent of taking your mind through a car wash, and having useless and unnecessary thoughts washed away.





If you or a member of your household would like to talk about ways to free up mental space, or any other life challenge, please call Methodist Healthcare EAP at 901-683-5658 to schedule an appointment. All sessions are confidential and currently offered via telehealth.



Elizabeth Drain, LPC, NCC


Elizabeth Drain is a Licensed Professional Counselor. She is a native Memphian and earned her Masters of Science in Clinical Mental Health Counseling from Freed-Hardeman University. Elizabeth possesses a highly effective combination of experiences across a broad range of individual/family counseling, behavior management, crisis management, case management, spanning community mental/behavioral health, juvenile justice, residential, and therapeutic foster care. Elizabeth has a passion for problem solving and providing support to clients to enhance well-being and positive outcomes. In her spare time, she enjoys learning, shopping, and spending time with family and friends.

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