You've probably heard of the Marie Kondo method of tidying up.
If you haven't, here's the scoop:
This method is great for decluttering your living space. But we think it's worth pushing the Marie Kondo method one step further, beyond just getting rid of old sports jerseys, vacation tchotchkes from the late 1990s, and dusty books that, let's face it, you're never going to read.
Because here's the thing. We don't just live under the crippling weight of a cluttered house. These days, we live with an increasingly cluttered mind
Just think of all the stuff we jam in there every day. Celebrity gossip. Biohacker-bro podcasts. Streaming binges. Requests from colleagues. Breaking News Updates from war zones across the world. Instagram updates showcasing your friends' seemingly perfect lives. The mental to-do list you're managing. And that's all before you eat breakfast.
Here's the hard truth. If our minds existed in physical space, they would be like the homes of a hoarder, littered with grease-stained pizza boxes, filthy clothes, and random shit everywhere.
So as we round out the first month of this new year, it's worth asking: How can you Marie Kondo your own mind?
The answer? Create more space up there.
But how do you do that? Try out these five tools.
Start by taking a close look at your sources of digital consumption: the apps on your phone, the news sites you visit, the shows you stream, the social media feeds you scan, the podcasts you follow, and all the other digital mind-treats you take in each day.
Ask: Does this bring me joy?
If the answer is no, delete the app, the account, or the subscription.
If your craving for these quick hits of pleasure is so intense that you can't quite bring yourself to hit the delete button, try the addiction strategy of self-binding. Lock up your phone in a kSafe, leave home without it, or put your router on a timer so it shuts off each evening.
You've no doubt heard about all of the scientifically validated benefits of this practice. It reduces stress. It boosts productivity. It enhances focus.
That is all true. But here is the real benefit of meditation: it creates more space in the mind.
To get started, try it out for just a few minutes a day. Use an app or guided practice to help you. Click here to download Nate's free audio meditations for his new book OPEN.
So maybe you're not the meditating type. That's fine. You can still create space in the mind by setting aside time for undistracted movement.
The key word here is "undistracted." For many of us, exercise and movement have become yet another time where our headspace gets clutter up by texts, podcasts, or our favorite Netflix series.
There's nothing wrong with this. But it can be powerful to leave the earbuds behind every once in a while and allow the mind to rest while you walk, stretch, run, bike, or swim.
When it comes to creating more space in the mind, we moderns, with our smartphone-flooded, overly-stimulated, minds seem to inevitably encounter a problem: the stress, busyness, and agitation of modern life makes the mind messy.
Relaxation – calming the nervous system – is perhaps the best way to cut through the clutter. When we relax – the real kind, not the Netflix or TikTok kind – the grip of difficult emotions loosens, the speed of our whirling thoughts slows, and, most important, the sense of space in our mind begins to expand.
How can you relax? Try yoga. Try extended exhale breathing, where you inhale four counts, exhale eight counts. Try yoga nidra. Or, just treat yourself to a nap.
Now for the most advanced practice. It's the advanced practice because it cuts against everything our culture believes in. In a world where everyone is trying desperately to get more done, one of the most radical acts is to not do -- to do nothing.
Even just a few minutes of this paradoxical practice can help you experience an expansion of space in the mind.
Lie on the floor or outside on the grass. Close your eyes. Put on your favorite music if you want. Set an alarm for a few minutes so you don't freak out too much.
Then, stop. Drop the technique. Drop the effort. Just allow yourself to savor this rare experience of doing absolutely nothing.
If you want to go deeper, be sure to preorder Nate's new book OPEN: Living With an Expansive Mind in a Distracted World. It's full of stories, science-based insights, and tools for creating more space in the mind. Click here to get your copy.
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