Suggestions for calming a cluttered mind can fit into all three dimensions of Sustainable Productivity. This may seem counterintuitive to suggestion action for an already overworked system.

However, Sustainably Productive habit change comes from replacing one behavior with another. When you stop doing something, there is a void. You have to replace that void with a different something.

Here are some suggestions for what that replacement could be.

Health and Fitness

Walking meditation as a way of calming a cluttered mind.

  • Engage your 5 senses. Notice your surroundings by identifying something you can see, hear, taste, smell, and touch. Therapists recommend a strategy called the 54321  Grounding Technique to overcome anxiety.
  • Cal Newport’s “Productive Meditation” is a sort of walking meditation as well. Although the name seems counterproductive, focusing on a single problem while moving – especially in nature – can unstuck the most stuck of us.

Mental Well-being

Traditional Meditation is another option for you to begin to settle a mind in overdrive. There are numerous apps, books, and classes that can teach you about or guide you through meditation.

What has worked for me is simply sitting with a 10-minute timer set and clearing my mind. If thoughts wander by, I imagine them as clouds floating through. On days where my mind wanders a smidge more aggressively, I imagine picking up that thought and depositing it in a filing cabinet.

You may never make it through the whole 10 minutes wander free, but noticing the wander and returning to intention to clear your mind will help with calming a cluttered mind.

“Nothing in the universe can stop you from letting go and starting over.” Guy Finley

Environmental Surroundings

Set up your surroundings to soothe you from the outside in. This requires you to pay attention to what you pay attention to when it is “one of those days“.

  • Get rid of what may set off monkey mind. Are the walls closing in on you in your home office because of the bags of donations that need to be dropped off? Do you get frustrated at the lack of counter space every time you meal prep? Address those areas instead of continuing to be annoyed.
  • Seek out what calms your mind. Here I want you to notice when soothes you. Maybe you feel the knots in your belly untie when you sit under a certain blanket. Do you imagine sinking into a corner of the sofa at the end of they day? Or is the seat at your kitchen table with the sun streaming in where you find you are best at calming a cluttered mind?

Just as with traditional meditation, part of the calming happens just by noticing.

Your Turn

I would love to hear your strategies for calming a cluttered mind. What has worked – or not worked? Let’s crowd source our ideas – a high tide raises all boats. The more we all can reduce that frantic pace of life, the more we will create a culture of Sustainable Productivity.