Physical Clutter vs. Mental Clutter

Clutter can come in many forms. For simplicity’s sake, I’d like to break it down into two main types. These are physical clutter and mental clutter. Each can have a heavy impact on your stress levels. Both are likely to keep you from creating calm in your life. Therefore, I think it’s important to take a look at each type, define it, and examine ways both can negatively affect you.

Physical clutter

Physical clutter is easy to understand. This is the kind of mess you can see. It’s the piles of clothing, papers, dishes, and more that are strewn around your home or office. It’s the overabundance of “stuff” you’ve been holding onto for years because it has sentimental value or you might use it some day. Physical clutter can even be the many tabs you keep open in your computer browser or the tons of media you consume each day (I have to admit I see myself in this one. I’m a bit of a digital hoarderT). These things can be seen. They consume large amounts of your resources such as time, space, and money.

Mental clutter

Mental clutter isn’t as easy to define. It involves the overload of information, along with nagging emotional issues, that overwhelm your mind. This type of internal congestion can consist of things such as your never-ending to-do list, negative internal dialogue, relationship demands, old grudges, or habits that don’t serve you. The source of this mess usually lies in emotions like fear, regret, worry, guilt, or shame. Identifying the types of mental issues that are cluttering your brain is the first step toward clearing the mental clutter.

Effects of clutter

Ridding yourself of physical and mental clutter, can increase your feelings of happiness and calm. It can lead to less stress and greater well-being. The negative effects of too much clutter are astounding. Surrounding yourself with clutter can even lead to mental health problems. Studies show that mental hygiene is improved when clutter is kept under control, both in the home and in the workplace. Too much physical clutter impairs visual processing. It can be incredibly distracting to see lots of piles and messes in your surroundings, making it harder to study, have conversations, or even relax. Your cognition and clarity of mind are adversely affected by excess mental clutter. You simply can’t think straight when you’ve got a whirlwind of thoughts and emotions swirling around in your head.

This is merely an overview of the ramifications that can come from physical and mental clutter. However, this information should give you some insight into how important it can be to clean things up in both your physical world and within your mind. Doing so can lead to tremendous benefits for you, including more of the elusive calm you’ve been seeking.

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