Our cellphones deliver us a constant barrage of pings and notifications. Our schedules easily get filled with events and activities, and our brains hold the to-dos we can’t fit on our schedules. And above all of this, we’re connected to a global network that shows us hundreds of people who are doing life better than us.
There’s one word to describe today’s world: overwhelming.
The world is growing and moving faster than our brains can adapt. As a result, anxiety is the most common mental health problem of today. In fact, 1 in every 5 people struggle with anxiety.
Not knowing how to handle the firehouse of everyday life hurts our capacity for joy. If we cannot adapt to our stressors and have a positive mindset in the midst of them, then we cannot have joy.
The solution to an increasingly overwhelming world is to clear your mind.
In this article, I’ll break down why clearing your mind is an essential practice for today’s world and the several signs to help you notice when you need to do it.
Our minds tend to hold onto things that don’t serve us. This is because humans have a natural Negativity Bias. Our brain is constantly scanning the environment for dangers and threats to escape.
Our Negativity Bias attracts negative things in our environment and lets it in underneath the surface. Even though we experience 3x more positive events than negative events, this bias in our brains gives more weight to negative events.
Unconscious negativity is all the stuff our brains are letting in past our filters. This gathers in our brain until it becomes overstuffed, overstimulated, and overwhelmed.
To clear your mind is to provide an outlet for all this unconscious negativity to flow out of your brain. It’s detoxing from the negativity in your environment.
It’s important to not let this negativity gather any more than it has. Once your brain feels overwhelmed with all the negativity it has let in, then you engage in self-sabotaging behaviors. Your mind will tell you to treat yourself to pleasures or engage in protection measures that only reinforce the stress in your life.
Clearing your mind helps you stop self-sabotage and return to a joyful headspace.
With today’s advancements, it’s easy for our brains to get overwhelmed with unconcious negativity. It’s not easy, however, noticing when you need to clear your mind of all this negativity.
Here are 10 signs you need to clear your mind:
1. You feel pressured to work past your limits.
Is your work or your family life burning you out? Chances are, unconscious negativity in your mind is influencing this internal pressure to work past your limits. Clearing your mind can help reorient you back to what’s most important, so you don’t burn out by saying yes to everything.
2. You constantly compare yourself to others.
Social media makes comparison easy today. But comparison will only hurt your contentment for the life you have. Clearing your mind can reconnect you back to the joy of the life you’ve been given.
3. You start assuming the worst in people.
If assuming the worst in people is a default of yours, you might think you’re just a negative person. However, your negativity toward other people is most likely the work of unconscious negativity in your brain. Clearing your mind can help you assume positive intent in people again, so you can stop sabotaging your relationships.
4. You are defensive against any criticism.
If your boss, spouse, friend, or coworker gives you constructive feedback that causes you to immediately go on defense, there’s probably unconscious negativity underneath the surface. Clearing your mind can help you be more receptive to feedback so you learn from it and grow.
5. You are overwhelmed by everything in your day.
Do you find it easy to get overwhelmed? If your mind was a bucket, do you feel your bucket overflowing before 9am every day? If tiny things are setting you off into a spiral early in the day, chances are, your mind is holding onto too much. Clearing your mind can help you be proactive about your day, instead of reacting to all the overwhelm it throws at you.
6. You fear you don’t have the resources to face life.
Does your mind have a habit of reminding you of limited resources? If you find yourself on edge because you don’t have enough money, time, energy, and more, it’s most likely because unconscious negativity has built a home in your brain. Clearing your mind can help you gain perspective on your resources, and stop letting it call the shots of what you can and can’t do.
7. You blame others for your situation.
Blaming is a protection measure we do when we brush up against pain. We don’t want to own the pain of something being our fault, so we blame. But if you’re blaming more than usual, it’s because your mind is dealing with more negative emotions and it’s trying to protect you. Clearing your mind can help you process these emotions so it doesn’t turn into unhealthy blame that does nothing for no one.
8. You emotionally shut down when things get too hard.
When life and emotions get to be too much, it’s easy to shut down and retreat into our phones or Netflix. But if your mind is telling you to escape and numb out more often, it’s because your brain is full of negativity. Clearing your mind can help you stay present when life gets heavy, so you can push your way through to the other side.
9. You feel lonely, but fear connection.
Loneliness is on the rise in our world that’s more connected than ever. This is because we believe following others on social media can be a substitute for reaching out to people. It’s not a good substitute. We need face-to-face time with people in our lives. When unconcious negativity builds a home in our brains, it convinces us that people don’t want to be with us. If you feel lonely, but never reach out to be with people, you need to clear your mind of the unconscious negativity reinforcing your loneliness.
10. You fear your actions and your voice don’t matter.
Finally, when life gets overwhelming, we can grow hopeless and just let life drags us forward. If you feel like nothing you do can change your situation, it’s because unconscious negativity has compounded in your brain and turned into hopelessness. Clearing your mind can help you gain control of your life again.
Joy is the internal satisfaction you feel when you pursue hope. It’s when you can let your guard down and show up for life again.
But joy doesn’t happen when your mind is on alert from all the unconscious negativity it has gathered. You can only have joy once you’ve cleared your mind of the negativity you have.
To learn how you can clear your mind in an overwhelming life, join my Joyletter.
Each week, I share new tips, studies, and simple actions to help you clear your mind of the overwhelm in your life. In the first few emails, I equip you with tools to help you clear your mind, and then I apply the tools in different domains of your life (marriage, finances, work, health, etc.).
If you want to clear your mind and replace the negativity with joy, the Joyletter is the perfect next step for you. It’s time we build a home for joy in our minds.