Protect your inner happiness: Be the gatekeeper
Recently we considered the value of reducing clutter in your external spaces to open channels for positive change. But what about that internal garden of yours – your mind? Is it thriving with rich life that enhances your inner happiness, or is it as cluttered as your email inbox? There is no better time than right now to clean up those internal spaces, and make room for fresh choices.
We face many obstacles to achieving inner happiness with all that is going on in the world. Of course it is important not to bury our heads in the sand, or completely tune out current events and news. But we must also regulate what we take in, and carefully choose what to keep as well as how much of it. We are the gatekeepers of our minds and hearts, because we alone decide what makes it past the entrance to the inside.
Weeding your internal “garden”
We have SO much power to choose what to keep or discard, that which either feeds or diminishes our inner happiness. The mind, much like a garden, is a space where ideas, beliefs and perceptions grow. We plant those “seeds” intentionally, and we also allow others to plant them there. Once you become aware of the mechanics of your own internal garden, then you possess what you need to make informed choices.
There is no single way of doing this, and it can and should become a lifelong process. Weeding your internal garden is like any seasonal clearing, but it is your mind that you are refreshing instead of a closet or your backyard. Ideas and messages drop like seeds and propagate, so it is important to declutter – weed the garden – to make room for what serves us. Part of this decluttering may include pruning, or cutting back unpleasant content like bad news, because it may overrun your mind. It is a balancing act, and your job as the gardener.
Four tips to declutter your mind and promote inner happiness
Let’s look at some effective ways to clear away toxic weeds from your mind so you can plant what you want to grow intentionally.
- Start with a “brain dump.” Take an inventory of your internal garden. Deeply examine what may not belong in your internal garden, and whether it diminishes your inner happiness. Write these things down: bad news, family dramas, divisive politics, tragic events, negative self talk…whatever ails you. Get clear on vagueries like boredom or anxiety because they are simply how something may affect you. It is important to be specific – you need to know what is growing before you can weed it!
- Weed your garden. Look at everything you wrote down in your brain dump. If you don’t need it, then WEED IT. Tear it off the page and burn it in ceremony! Take a limiting self belief for example: it was probably a message planted there by someone else anyway (more on that another time). If it makes you feel bad, weed it out – don’t let it take up residence in your garden.
- Reduce input of messages. It’s okay to give social media a break, or place limits on your daily exposure to news. Choose what you allow in your feed, and establish boundaries with friends who spread controversial or inflammatory messages. If it’s daily news getting you down, then change how you take it in, as well as how often. I like CNN’s Five Things and the New York Times’ The Morning Newsletter for succinct delivery of the most important news of the day. They are briefs of breaking news, and include links to other articles if you choose to read more. Also, I NEVER read news first thing in the morning. I prefer to start with a bit of meditation, which centers me before I take in anything stronger that a good cup of coffee!
- Create a Zen garden. I wrote a post about this recently. It is something anyone can do, and the benefits are enormous. Working and sitting in a simple, beautiful garden can declutter your mind like a charm, and melt away all your stress. I live to be in my garden!
There are more tips than can be shared in a single blog post. Perhaps I will take you down the rabbit hole of this topic another time – there is a lot to learn here. Stay well, friends, and keep me posted on your journey of pursuing inner happiness!
Keep calm and Brumbylon.
Thanks for hanging out with me – have a great week!