Have you done any spring cleaning, this year? Whether it’s dusting baseboards or cleaning out closets, a deep spring cleaning not only leaves the house fresher, it can also lift your spirits and help clear your head. Let’s take that a step further and look at why it might be a good idea to do some figurative spring cleaning “in your head.”
What’s in Your Head and How Did it Get There?
Let’s first take a look at where all of the thoughts in our head come from. Basically, we learn to have a relationship with the world (“the world” being people, money, family, friends, etc.) from our family of origin. As we grow, all of the voices we hear (teachers, parents, siblings, friends) combine to form the voices we hear in our head. What is the most important relationship? It’s our relationship with ourselves, which helps determines what our “self-talk” is.
Self-talk. It’s that little voice inside our heads that either speaks to us positively or negatively, or sometimes a bit of both. From, “I did a great job” or “I look good today” to “What is wrong with me?” and “Why is everything so hard?” – those voices can come from experiences we’ve had in the past and can influence how we form judgements about the future. Negative self-talk can be indicative of a negative self-concept, which can leave us feeling defeated and helpless. “Why bother?” we may ask ourselves.
Another thing that can pile up in our heads is old defense mechanisms. Any past experiences where we felt physically or emotionally threatened caused us to defend ourselves. The problem is, that while those defense mechanisms may have protected us at one time, they can actually harm us if we hold onto them for too long.
How to Clear Your Head
The first thing to do is to step back and take a really good look at yourself. Identify what is inside your head. The best way to do that is with a counselor or with a coach. They can help explore how any negative or limiting thoughts got there in the first place, accurately identify them and help you with a plan to get rid of them.
Just like it may take a while to clean a house that is particularly cluttered, it may take a while to clear your head and change thinking. We usually learn the most when we have had to overcome something difficult. Many times, people make changes because the pain of staying the same is worse than actually changing. When tackling something difficult, it’s helpful to realize that the pain that comes with difficulty is actually growing pains. This can help you embrace a change or an improvement in your life.
Keep Your Head Clear
We clean our homes on a regular basis. We also exercise for our physical health. We eat healthy and take care of our personal hygiene, but when it comes to our emotions, we’re supposed to always be well and not have to “exercise” for prevention. What if you could visit a counselor or a coach to strengthen your mental or emotional well being without feeling embarrassed?
Spring cleaning often involves letting go of things. We sometimes even put our discarded items by the street, with no regard for who sees them. Yet, we do not want people to see our problems and hardships. “There must be something wrong with me if I go to a counselor,” we tell ourselves. Baloney! We need to plan our emotional well being just like we plan other aspects of our lives.
One of my favorite sayings is this, “If you want to know why you are where you are right now, just take a look at your feet.” Basically, every step has led you to where you are, right now. Spring cleaning is about letting go of things. Letting go of where you thought you’d be and allowing yourself to be where you are, today. That’s how you get a clean, clear head.
Note: May is National Mental Health Awareness Month and one of the campaign goals is to take away the stigma of mental illness. It would be great if we all could say, “I’m going for mental wellness!”
National Mental Health Awareness Month link: http://www.mentalhealthamerica.net/may