Do you ever feel like your brain is tied in knots? Do your thoughts resemble a massive ball of string, wound messily and tightly together? Are you unsure of what to do next? This feeling is all too common in a world of sensory overload and multiple responsibilities. The ultrabusy person sometimes feels like thoughts don’t even get a chance to fully form. At times of high stress, where we are trying to satisfy multiple demands at once, it feels like our minds are being constricted with warring priorities. Let’s talk about some ways to untangle, unwind, and refocus. Here are seven simple tips to clear your mind and get your mental house in order. You can try any one of them, several or even all of them. They are listed here in no particular order: 1. Write madly to get some mental breathing room. Writing is a proven way to help organize your thoughts. Morning pages, as popularized by *Julia Cameron* in The Artist’s Way, are a way to adopt the habit of clearing your mind on paper. Three handwritten pages, done daily, can clear out your conscious thoughts and bring unconscious clutter to the surface. Some people write memoirs as a more in-depth way to clear their consciences, but we’re not trying to do that here. We’re just trying to open up some space for your thoughts to breathe. If you don’t have the time to devote to writing regular morning pages, consider a speedier approach. Try writing as quickly as possible with whatever time you have. Don’t worry about what you are writing and don’t worry if you can read it afterward. Use the speed writing to loosen mental knots as the activity itself becomes a source of release. 2. Take deep breaths to calm yourself Deep breathing as a relaxation technique is another well documented way to regain some mental clarity. Deep breathing increases the oxygen levels in your body; the brain benefits from more oxygen. Increased oxygen flow is a known benefit of aerobic exercise; this is a way to get some of those benefits quickly and easily. 3. Go for a walk to get some temporary distance from your thoughts Walking might be the perfect and ideal aerobic exercise It provides many of the same benefits of deep breathing along with the benefits of exercising your muscles. Sometimes we need movement to burn off some of the excess energy that anxiety squeezes into our minds. As our rampaging thoughts lose steam, we regain some much needed clarity. 4. Draw a picture to show what thoughts are on your mind People have different learning styles and preferred means of communication that vary between each person. For those of us who like a bit of physical and visual styles, drawing may be a way to combine both of these styles in a way to clear your thoughts. You don’t need to ask for permission, just go ahead and draw. You can draw simple pictures that show what’s on your mind. You can make charts, graphs, or other images. You can just write words or phrases down about the things on your mind and draw connections between them to understand what’s going on, a kind of simple mind map. Draw stick figures and give them word balloons to display what’s bother you. Give it a try! 5.Describe your desired end state and then work backward There’s a technique called backward planning that could come in handy for mental blockage. If you’ve got a big job coming up and you don’t have a lot of time to do it, you start with your target date for delivery and move backward. Figure out what things have to happen to finish the job. Then find the next set of things that need to happen before that, and so on, until you get to the beginning. Sometimes, in order to untangle a string, we need to find the end and then work our way back to the beginning. Maybe you can do the same thing with your thoughts? 6. Talk it out with another person Then there are people who prefer talking (or some who find it hard to do) instead of writing or drawing. That’s perfectly fine! Maybe you just need someone who’s willing to listen. Explain your problems or concerns to them. The point here is not to force them to solve your problems for you. The objective is to express your hopes, fears, and questions. If you can describe your concerns you can understand them better and determine what’s important and what isn’t. 7. Ask for help from an expert There are times when you need to go to the next level to resolve the problems. If your thoughts are resulting in serious anxiety and you can’t function normally, you may need to talk to a medical professional to help you deal with your problems. Or perhaps you have business problems that require the help of a consultant or specialist. At some point, you have to make the determination whether you can handle the situation yourself or whether or not you need help. That’s perfectly OK: we all encounter problems where it makes more sense to get help than to try to do it by ourselves. I hope these seven tips will help you untangle your thoughts and get back to a more productive state of mind! Mark Dykeman is an IT professional with several years of blogging experience. He writes the award-winning blog Broadcasting Brain and recently started Thoughtwrestling with some friends to help you wrestle ideas to the ground, overpower problems, and become the champion of your great ideas.
How to Get Sh*t Done will teach you how to zero in on the three areas of your life where you want to excel, and then it will show you how to off-load, outsource, or just stop giving a damn about the rest.