I have already written a piece on how the quality of your space can affect your mental health (read that one here), but your space is so so so important to reducing anxiety, and increasing mindfulness. I’ll let you in on a not-so-secret of mine, I am a bit of a hoarder. I get attached to items easily, I’m sentimental and I’m lazy. Things I know that I don’t need often don’t get donated or thrown away, because I am too lazy to do the work. But it is so important to cleanse your space. It not only makes you feel better because your space is tidy but it also, on a spiritual level, opens your space up to new things, and ideas that you have been yearning for.
Your physical space is your house, your car, your closet, and your own body. By clearing these spaces of unnecessary items, things you don’t like, and cleaning them, you make space for things you actually love, and things that you haven’t found yet that you will love. I have been working on this slowly with my house and my closet. I have donated a bunch of clothes, and have been working on sorting through my home decor and unnecessary kitchen items. I have found that by doing this I have rediscovered a love for what I already have, and I have learned to be very selective in what I replace these items with. I have felt more inspired and comfortable in my space without all of these excess items around that I didn’t love.
When it comes to my body, I have been making space by learning to love what I have, and to thoroughly evaluate what I am putting on it and in it. If you know me in real life then you’ll know that I healed myself from Lyme Disease with the help of a holistic health practitioner/ herbalist. Since then, I have been obsessive about the way I eat and have noticed an incredible difference in my mental health when I don’t eat the way that I am supposed to. I have also been directly my attention to how I put myself together or more accurately, how I haven’t been. Since I have graduated college, I have put hardly any effort into what I look like or how I dress and it has put a damper on how I feel about myself. Call it superficial, if you want, but when I put some care and consideration into how I look before I step out into the world, I feel more confident and I am able to think more positively about myself.
When my physical space is decluttered, clean and polished, I feel good. I’m sure I could dig up some scientific evidence for this, but I don’t feel that I need to. I feel an immediate difference in my own attitude and mental space, and therefore see the difference in how I speak to others and how they respond to me.
My mental space has been even more important than my physical space in changing the way that I feel. I read The Power of Now by Eckhart Tolle recently, and it changed the way I interpret my inner dialogue. I learned through reading this book how to differentiate my own self from my ego and from my destructive or non-self. I have always had self-esteem issues, and like most girls, I have had a voice in my head feeding me critiques about the way I look, the way I act, and what others think of me for as long as I can remember. Eckhart Tolle taught me how to observe these voices objectively or without judgment. Just sit and hear them. Then pay attention to what feels true and what doesn’t. By placing attention on the thoughts, they lose control over you. My big moment in doing this was about a week before my period a couple of months ago. I was standing in the bathroom brushing my teeth thinking about how chunky my legs were, and how much fat I was holding on my waistline. Then it crossed my mind that just two days before I was standing in the same spot feeling really good about myself. Only one of those thoughts could be true. I had not changed size in those two or three days. I haven’t changed size since 8th grade! Now every time that those negative thoughts pop up, they are dismissed by my brain so quickly I hardly have time to notice them.
Clearing your mental space, can also look like forgiving people from your past, including yourself for events that you are still holding on to. To do this, I journal out what the situation was and then objectively analyze each side. I tell myself how I could be wrong about the other person’s intentions and then I forgive them for offending me and myself for being offended. I do this over and over again until I let go of that memory. This takes some work and some digging (maybe some crying too) but it is so worth it.
By taking the time to clear my spaces, I have made space for the feelings and the things that I want in life, and I’m not finished yet. I will never be entirely done with this process. But already, I feel so much happier, so much lighter, and more free to do the things that I am passionate about.