Like a well-kept garden, our mind needs daily decluttering to function properly

A famous devotional song in Bengali has these lines: “O mind! You don’t know how to cultivate. / The human field remains barren, / Would have grown golden crops if you cultivated it properly.”

Nothing can be more appropriate than this. If managed properly, your mind can give you a repertoire of golden ideas. For this, you must declutter your mind from time to time and must store your productive thoughts carefully. A cluttered mind can include:

  • Overthinking a subject
  • Focusing on the negative
  • Worrying about things that you cannot control
  • Holding onto negative emotions and experiences
  • Keeping a mental to-do list, including incomplete dreams and goals
  • Having external distractions and constant sensory inputs

A cluttered mind wastes your time and energy. It gives rise to mental confusion, distraction, and disorganization that comes in the way of identifying priorities, making decisions, having focus, and being productive. Your conscious effort should be towards eradicating the mental habits that keep you from realizing your full potential. To declutter your mind, you need to place your attention and spend your time and energy intentionally on productive topics. Continuous effort will help you explore unhealthy thinking patterns that keep you stuck and your mind cluttered.

Your Brain as an Empty Attic

Think of your brain as an empty attic where you can store information conveniently. Isn’t it helpful to fill it with all the necessary thoughts and keep the unnecessary away as much as possible? Just like physical decluttering with objects, mental decluttering requires mindfulness. Be careful of each idea that crops up in your mind. This is an expedient method that you should do with utmost care. If we don’t regularly weed our mental garden, the unnecessary parts will crop up and overshadow the important ones. This will create trouble for the mind to function correctly. It will hamper your clarity of thought, and you will fall prey to unnecessary diversion.

Keep Intrusive Thoughts at Bay

Intrusive thoughts are the bane of effective thinking. Those who tend to come across unnecessary thoughts often find it difficult to concentrate on an important piece of thought. Keeping your mind under perpetual watch is of utmost importance. Watch out for the thoughts intruding into your mind from time to time. If some of those are not beneficial, discard them at once. Identify a particular thought as important or unimportant at the outset and give it an entry according to its merit.

Identify Productive Thoughts from Non-productive Ones

Distinguishing the productive thoughts from the non-productive ones creates a mental atmosphere in which the productive thoughts stand out.

To identify a constructive thought, ask yourself – “Does it lead to positive action?” If the answer is “Yes”, make the thought’s dimensions, size, and brightness more prominent. If the answer is “No”, diminish the parameters and turn it into a shabby picture. This will lessen the effect of the thought considerably. You can also use the power of affirmation with your positive thoughts and the power of denial with the negative ones. Once you have come across a negative thought, you have to repeat a few times mentally, “I am not going to give it space.”; and whenever a positive thought occurs, you can repeat mentally, “ This will change my life. I am proud of it.”

When it becomes a habit, you will be able to quickly play tricks on your mind and manipulate the thoughts to your best purpose.

Most of all, keep your positive thoughts as your assets. Every morning as the first thing or at night before going to sleep, find some time to nurture those thoughts.

Some Practical Ways

You have to practice mental decluttering daily to master the art properly. The best way is to constantly practice whenever you find the time to work on your thoughts. Some practical ways to facilitate the process are here:

Declutter Your Environment First

Mental decluttering is similar to physical decluttering, and the latter helps achieve the former. Decluttering and organizing your surroundings regularly will help you tidy up your thoughts.

Get Some Sleep

Undisturbed and restful sleep helps the mind become peaceful and organized. Daily restful sleep helps to clear the mental haze and set the priorities in the proper perspective for the mind.

Meditate and Enjoy Time in the Nature

Meditation is the panacea for the cluttered mind as it helps connect with our inner self to introspect our thoughts. Practising meditation while enjoying time in nature soothes your mind and clears it of disturbances.


Exercise is one of the best ways to declutter the mind. Undertaking exercise boosts your happiness hormone, dopamine, and refreshes your mind to come up with positive thoughts.

Transfer Thoughts to Paper

When you write down your thoughts periodically, it becomes easier to prioritize between them and separate the wheat from the chaff.

Reduce Multitasking

Too much multitasking is harmful to the clarity of the mind. Taking one task at a time and accomplishing it helps to focus on the project and achieve goals.

Practice Prioritizing

Setting priorities in your daily routine will always help you separate the essential tasks from the non-essential ones, decluttering your assignments and giving sufficient time to each task.

Limit Your Social Media Exposure

Social media is an essential part of today’s urban life. But too much of it can jeopardize your capacity to think clearly as you are constantly under the onslaught of information on social media platforms. Use it judiciously for your best purpose.

You can approach how to declutter your mind as an exciting game where you keep decreasing negative thoughts and enhancing positive ones. When you are new to the game, you may sometimes brood over a negative thought unnecessarily. With practice, you will develop the ability to cast away a negative thought whenever it occurs and immediately put a stop to it. The whole process develops the efficiency of your mind and makes you a smart thinker.

  • About the Author
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Ananda Mukherjee has completed a PhD in Economics from Visva Bharati University in India. He has written for newspapers and magazines for quite some time while working on his first novel and is particularly interested in serious literary fiction. ‘Wind of Change’ is his first novel which he wrote for over four years