When was the last time you started talking in your mind but your train of thoughts were all over the place?
When was the last time you shed the tears without even knowing what’s wrong?
When was the last time you opened the refrigerator and forgot why were you even there?
When was the last time you toss and turned – unable to sleep – because you couldn’t silent your thoughts?
When was the last time you couldn’t concentrate because your head felt too stuffed?
Sounds quite familiar, right? Happens to me more than I’d like to admit! Staring down at my own noise and realizing how it keeps taking control is uncomfortable to say the least. If you’re in the same boat, then know that it’s a sign of a CLUTTERED MIND!
A mind that has stored the to-do lists longer than your own height, responsibilities heavier than what your shoulders can handle and goals farther than your sight!
And guess what all of that results in? You unintentionally put the burden on yourself that crushes you with every step you take forward and you end up feeling exhausted even if you didn’t get to do any physical work.
On the contrary, the worst result of a cluttered mind is the following realization – ask yourself…
When was the last time you talked to Allah?
When was the last time you cried in your prayer or dua?
When was the last time you had goosebumps while doing so?
When was the last time you prayed with tranquillity and not in a hurry?
When was the last time you breathed between each verse?
When was the last time you recited a longer surah you knew of Qur’an in your prayer?
When was the last time you touched the pages of Qur’an like you hold them so dear?
When was the last time you were satisfied with your spiritual self?
When was the last time you just sat there thinking, when was my last time…
In such a fast-paced world, with everyone rushing to one thing or the other, you feel like you’ll be missing out if you’ll stop and breathe for a while. So you keep running too. Until you just pass out on your bed and wake up the other day in that same loop. Not knowing when was that last time…
Just like our bodies, our minds deserve rest!
To be able to reflect!
To be able to absorb!
To be able to understand!
To be able to memorize!
To be able to retain!
And most importantly,
To be able to just breathe!
To be able to just BE!
If you find yourself in this loop constantly, try out some of the following methods to regain control of your mind (Or at least a part of it) in shaa Allah:
1) Sleep Early/Rest Well (so you can utilize the time before/after Fajr)
When most of the world is asleep and it’s still a little dark. When your mind is well rested and fresh with new thoughts. That is the time when you can stand and breathe. Bow down and breathe. Prostrate and breathe. Sit down and breathe. And then just shed tears because just breathing felt so beautiful.
That silence and peace when taking a breath becomes so breathtaking…
After taking advantage of the blessed hours of the day, you can take a midday nap – which can recharge your mind and body! To get an idea of how Prophet (ﷺ) used to spend his day, you can READ THIS!
2) Single Task (say no to multi-tasking)
Shorten your to-do lists and jot down only ONE realistic goal a day! Something that REALLY matters and defines your day! When you have to-do items constantly floating around in your head and your brain has too much on its plate, it splits its power up.
The result? Clutter!
I love that When Prophet (ﷺ) addressed a person, he turned his whole body towards that person and be present in the moment – listening with all his attention (even though everyone would crave for his time). He did so much in his life as a Messenger, leader, father, husband, friend, role model (& the list goes on) and yet when you read the seerah, you will find him in ONE place every time. Every single time. Not multi tasking but giving each task its due right and then moving onto the next one.
3) Write Down the Thoughts (journal what clutters your mind space)
Although our minds should be able to process thoughts without having to write them down but having trillion things in your mind at once can use up a lot of your mind space! Until your mind is clear and present for a large portion of the time, you have more clutter to release than you may realise.
Writing things down helps a lot in those times alhamdulillah as things will seem a lot more manageable when you map them out on paper. And not to mention deeper self-awareness! You will probably figure out the main source of clutter too. And when you know the source, you can find a solution too in shaa Allah.
Old-fashioned pen and paper works really well in this scenario (for which you can get Journals etc. or print them) but you can also write on your device (as long as it’s on airplane mode) which brings me to:
4) Unplug to Reconnect (digital decluttering)
Clutter isn’t just physical – Files on your computer, notifications from your Twitter, Instagram and Facebook accounts – anything that goes “ping” – competes for your attention. This creates a digital clutter that erodes your ability to focus and perform creative tasks.
Although I can’t personally completely plug off as AYEINA is run completely online, but I have deleted these social media apps from my homepage and turned off the notifications. So I am not constantly multi tasking – but I still have a long way to go! 😩 may Allah help us consume and share wisely!
5) Remember: What You Consume is What You Become (track your time)
Really understand where your hours go each day. For 3-5 days, track your activities to see what you can cut. Be honest and include how much time you spend on media consumption – especially social media!
Ask yourself – are you constantly consuming others’ lives? Do you want to become them? Do you benefit from such consumption or is it simply adding to the stress, sense of comparison, envy, grudges etc.?
Are you consuming stuff that isn’t beneficial? Are you listening to music and it’s constantly stuck in your head?
Are you giving yourself an over dosage of what’s beneficial even? Because there will always be more information available than what you can consume so set limits on what you are consuming (even if it’s beneficial – because your brain needs space to process it all as well – otherwise you are simply consuming and forgetting it later on).
6) Nature Walks (experience nature to unwind)
Just being in the nature can really help you relax your mind! The present moment may feel fantastic, but you have to show up for it too. Don’t just exist there, BE there!
7) Let Go (take a step back)
Let go of goals, things, huge self-expectations, unnecessary responsibilities, arguments, worries, saying yes to everything, regrets, guilt, workload, stuff you promise yourself you’ll get done that sits – year after year – untouched and most importantly; let go of constantly “doing” (I feel hypocritical saying this but I need to write it down too – to tell myself to just let go and BREATHE!).
It’s easier said than done of course, but sometimes we are completely unaware that these things are actually cluttering our minds. And since we don’t consider them a threat, we don’t even work on a solution. So pause to internalize what triggers these problems and go for a hunt!
Prevention is always better than cure, so work on at least some of those points and see if it makes a difference? Just like cleaning your room prevents it from turning into a huge mess, may these things help prevent the build-up of mental clutter in your head.