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Saturday, October 25, 2014

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Brain Detox Checklist: What You Need to Know to Reduce Cognitive Clutter

Team - 5:57 AM

Do you ever feel like you are running between your daily tasks like a chicken without a head? This feeling is all-too-familiar to many of us. Sometimes, during the course of our busy lives, we look up and realize that our minds are swimming with too much information – way too much stimulus to process.

When you feel this way, it’s time for some mental detoxification. Taking a few simple steps can help reset your mind to focus on the issue at hand.

Clear some space

If you are overwhelmed by mental noise, it’s time to slow down and make some space in your brain. One of the primary factors behind a serious case of cognitive clutter is stress. Not only is prolonged stress damaging to all of the body’s systems, it can leave you scattered, anxious and unproductive.

Your first step is to take a day, or at least an afternoon, off. Take some time just for you to do something you enjoy. Take a walk outside, work on a craft or project you’ve been putting off or read a good book with a big mug of tea. Make a decision to not worry about your to-do list during this time – just let your brain unwind.

In order to achieve – and maintain – mental clarity and focus, meditation can be a great help. Meditating every day, even for just a few moments in the morning and at night, can help you to organize your thoughts. With time, you will be more and more able to focus on the present moment, and let distracting and unnecessary thoughts slide.

Exercise is another great stress buster. When you begin to feel like everything is too much, go for a run. You’ll be surprised at how much more energetic and ready to take on the world you will feel.

Get organized

The clutter in your home or workspace can actually contribute to mental clutter. Many psychologists report that when we see disorder and unfinished work around us, it can be agitating and lead to mental distress. Taking some time to organize your space can be highly therapeutic to your brain.

As far as the thoughts, ideas and responsibilities swimming around inside your mind, organize them too. Make ordered to-do lists in your planner or calendar, making sure you keep a separate one for home and work. If you’re brainstorming ideas for a project or upcoming event, make a list on paper, or on your computer, and file it away somewhere that you can easily find it.

This way, with all of your to-do’s on paper, your mind will be free to focus on the moment, and not scrambling in every direction struggling to remember everything.

Feed your brain right

How well your brain functions partially depends on the fuel that you give it. Make sure you are feeding your brain properly by sticking to whole, nutritious foods and avoiding junk foods and processed snacks. While healthy variety is key, there are some foods, as we recently covered, that can really do your brain right, so make sure to add these to your meals whenever you can.

Head to bed

A 2013 study led by Dr. Maiken Nedergaard of the University of Rochester Medical Center found that eight hours of sleep detoxifies the brain of toxins accumulated throughout the day. So, no matter how busy you are, make sure to get those Z’s: the functionality of your body and mind depends on it.

The Alternative Daily

Sources:
http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/the-psychology-dress/201202/your-closets-your-clutter-and-your-cognitions-1
http://www.ninds.nih.gov/news_and_events/news_articles/pressrelease_brain_sleep_10182013.htm


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