Declutter Your Emotional Closet

dr. saundra dalton-smith |

When you think of spring cleaning, you may have an image of mops, brooms, and trash bags filled with items you no longer need.

Spring is a great time to get your physical spaces clutter-free, but it’s also an excellent opportunity to access your emotional space. If you find yourself battling negative self-talk, feeling overwhelmed, and struggling with life’s stressors, let’s look at some ways to reorganize your thought life.

You can get rid of many negative emotions during spring cleaning, and anger is at the top of the list.

You will need to confront this feeling rather than trying to put it in the corner of your emotional closet. If you try to hide it away, it’ll just grow stronger and cause you more distress. Face your anger by determining what is at the root of these feelings. Is your anger directed at the actions of another? Or are you angry at yourself?

Be angry and do not sin; do not let the sun go down on your anger. Ephesians 4:26 ESV

Everyone will experience this emotion at some point. The goal is not to allow anger to become a permanent fixture in your life. Address it quickly. Start by taking a moment to seek God about the cause of your feelings. Follow your vertical conversation with a horizontal conversation with the object of your anger. Look for ways to find solutions for the issues rather than placing blame. The temperatures outside may be warming up during spring, but you can learn to stay cool emotionally.

Focus on organization.

Just like you would organize your house when it becomes too cluttered, take this opportunity to learn to organize your mind when it becomes cluttered too. Avoid letting jumbled thoughts overpower your thinking process. Resist mental multi-tasking and deal with one situation at a time.

Take time each day to clear your mind.

You can accomplish this through meditation, prayer, or any relaxing activity that helps you focus your thoughts. The mind is often like an unruly child. If you tell a five-year-old to have a seat in a chair and then leave the room for 10 minutes, it’s unlikely they will still be in that chair when you return. In the same way, your mind may resist settling down. The good news is your mind can be disciplined and trained.

One strategy you can use is what I call using a mental word chair. Have one word you choose to say in your head whenever your mind tries to stray. If you struggle with worry, your word may be “peace.” So every time your mind attempts to get out of its “peace chair,” you say the word “peace” to redirect your thoughts. Another tool you can use to focus your attention is to focus on a characteristic of God during those times when your emotions try to challenge your faith.

Forgiveness is also a tool needed when doing emotional decluttering.

Focus on forgiveness if you’re holding onto negative emotions dealing with situations where you feel someone has wronged you. You may not feel the person deserves it, but you deserve to be at peace. Think of it as doing something good for yourself instead of letting someone off the hook.

Forgiveness is like unchaining yourself from the emotional weight of the offender’s actions.

What’s a good reorganization project without a few checklists? Just as you make a list of your chores during cleaning, make a list of some of your short-term and longterm dreams and goals. When you list them out on paper, it gives you something concrete to work toward. Post your list where you’ll see it often, and cross things off as you accomplish them. Include some God-sized dreams that stretch you to trust him more as He enlarges your territory. Be open to new ideas. When you open yourself to new situations and ideas, you’ll bring a unique freshness and more opportunities into your life. It might feel safe to stay closed off, but eventually, you’ll feel that things have become stale.

Life in Christ should feel like spring. There should regularly be new things blooming.

Don’t be afraid to have fun and embrace joy.

Spring cleaning for your mind doesn’t have to be a chore. It can be a healing and restorative process to let go of thoughts that are no longer beneficial. It’s like getting a fresh start, and you can fix your mind on things that are lovely, true, honest, pure, and praiseworthy.

Leave enough time after spring cleaning your mind and your home to enjoy life and nature. Learn to see the beauty in things that you’ve taken for granted. Take a walk, get some fresh air, or get up early one day to watch the sunrise. These things will give you new perspectives on life.

Remember, your mind-body-spirit wellbeing is vital.

It’s more critical than those household things you clean every spring. Use these tips to spring clean your mind, and enjoy your new beginning free from stresses and negativity.


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