Posted by Tami Anderson in Guest Posts on March 8, 2017
Today I am delighted to bring you a third guest post written by Holly Ashby all about the benefits of meditation when it comes to the big Spring Clean which I am sure a few of us are starting to think about…
Most people aren’t all that keen on household chores, but there aren’t many of us that don’t feel better after a spring clean. The act of going through our living spaces and getting rid of gathered dust, chucking out the things we no longer need and rearranging the things that have been bugging us can deliver a huge psychological boost. This is especially true when we put a little thought into getting rid of the mental junk that can accumulate over the years, letting go of old worries and rejecting the ideas that bring extra stress into our lives. So how should you go about having the ultimate spring clean?
Get in the right frame of mind
In order to have the ultimate spring clean, we need to be in the best frame of mind to make a change. Habit, listlessness and sometimes even fear can keep us holding onto the things which aren’t that good for us, or simply cluttering up our lives. Meditating regularly will help enormously with this, helping us build our self-esteem and bolster the confidence needed to step forward in life.
There are many things we let hang around which either contribute nothing or have an actively detrimental effect. It could be anything from the old sofa in the spare room that irritates us every time we see it, or a so-called friend that isn’t a friend at all. Maybe it’s a pattern of behaviour, like always forgetting to eat breakfast in the morning, or habitually putting ourselves down so eventually we start to believe that we’re actually a bit useless.
Putting a foot down and deciding to discard the things which impact our wellbeing isn’t all that easy – it requires an awareness of what’s actually the problem, and then the grit to go through with making a change.
Start with the material
There’s a reason why our houses are prone to getting filled up with clutter – it can be hard to throw things away. Furthermore, once it’s all stored up and out of sight, it’s easy to forget that we even have this stuff in the first place. Opening up the cupboard and realising we’re looking at a 3 hour sorting job can make it tempting to simply shut it again, even though it means we’ll have a load of pointless dross hanging around for another year.
There’s lots of ideas being circulated about minimalism and detaching ourselves from material objects, and there certainly seems to be value in the idea that we can free ourselves from a certain amount of worry and obligation by cutting down on the stuff we own. Going through our things and asking ourselves some questions which will make it easier to determine what we actually want or need, such as “have I used this in the past year?” and “does this object add to my happiness?”.
It may be 15-year-old birthday cards from someone we can’t remember, a bridesmaid dress we didn’t really like at the time but feel bad about giving away or a drawer full of mysterious electrical goods. We are encouraged to constantly consume and the usual result is owning far too much. Getting rid of what we don’t need, and then making a commitment not to buy anything but the absolute essentials for the next few months, can clear our minds.
Then move onto to the difficult bit
Reflecting on where we are in life – thinking about what is making us happy and what isn’t – can be more of a challenge than it sounds. We have to untangle a mass of thoughts and consider the things we usually take for granted.
For example, you might be bound by the idea that you always have to stay in regular contact with (and constantly help) a family member even if they unkind and cause you nothing but pain. In this scenario it may not be that you have to cut off contact entirely, but by acknowledging that they are a negative influence in your life and that you have no obligation to inflict worry and hurt on yourself with their demands, you can come up with strategies to distance and protect yourself.
This is just one way in which our preconceived ideas can hold us back from our own happiness, and others like “I have to clean up after the kids because no one else will do it” or “I can’t go for the promotion because I’m not experienced enough” can be powerful but ultimately untrue. Giving our minds a spring clean by taking some time out to look after ourselves could lead to some small changes, or even something profound, letting us throw out the junk that keeps us from achieving the life we want.
This piece was written by Holly Ashby, a writer who’s interested wellbeing and managing stress. She currently works for Will Williams Meditation, a meditation centre in London who teach Vedic meditation, an alternative to Mindfulness in London.