Everybody’s familiar with the overwhelmingly positive benefits of doing a little spatial decluttering (less stuff crowding your desk or taking up space in your bedroom makes for some serious piece of mind). Fewer of us, though, are really in on the perks of doing a little bit of emotional decluttering in addition to physical. The concept is basically what it sounds like: the process of ridding yourself of anything negative or toxic in your life that may be holding you back or weighing you down emotionally. The fact is that negativity in your life can make for a majorly stressed out and, well, cluttered mind. So it follows that clearing your life – and, ultimately, your mind – is an effective way to boost everything from your focus and productivity to your happiness. (Three words: Count us in.) Here, we get you started on a few ways to tackle the process of emotional decluttering, each of which can give your life a major boost of positivity.
Ditch the unfulfilling relationships.
It’s hard to acknowledge when a relationship – be it a friendship, a romantic relationship, or a professional relationship – has lost its value, especially if it’s one that’s been in your life for a long time. But it’s important to take the time every now and then to assess the people in your life in order to see if the relationships that you are prioritizing and making time for are worth the effort you’re investing in them. When it comes down to it, any relationships that you feel are one-sided, toxic, or otherwise unfulfilling may not be worth the emotional effort that goes into maintaining them. At the end of the day, relationships can take a lot of energy to keep up with, so you always want to make sure that the people you are investing your time and emotional energy in are worth that.
Stop comparing yourself to others.
It’s tough not to give into the urge to compare yourself to others, whether that means doing a little career comparison, a physical comparison, a financial comparison, or the like. But aside from the occasional healthy dose of competition – there’s nothing wrong with letting a coworker’s success drive you to strive for a little more yourself, for example – the habit of constantly comparing can be seriously draining on your mind and emotions. The reality is that everyone you encounter in life will have a very different experience than your own, and there are plenty of factors that tie into where people are at any given point in their lives. Rather than focusing on what the journey looks like for somebody else and basing your perception of yourself on how you stack up in comparison, spend your time thinking about how to better yourself for you. Just the decision to focus on yourself will help reshape the way you think about your own success and life, and you’ll suddenly find yourself feeling a lot lighter and and empowered in that process.
Don’t dwell on the past.
If you’ve heard it once, you’ve heard it a million times: there’s no way to move forward in life if you’re constantly living in the past. Of course, it’s important not to totally let go of your past – both the good, and the bad – but the key here is to make sure that the past isn’t holding you back or dictating how you live now in a negative way. If, for example, you spend some time thinking about a situation that you wish you would have handled differently in an effort to make sure that you are better prepared to handle it well the next time, then you’re probably using the past as a positive force. However, if you dwell on the incident only to wish over and over again that you would have handled it differently the first time around, you’re only going to feel stuck – and you’ll end up clouding your mind with a lot of confusing “what if’s” that only make it harder to focus on more productive and proactive thinking.