How to Clear Your Mind

Tom Dunkley/Cultura via Getty Images

How to Clear Your Mind

How to Clear Your Mind

Free your brain from negative thinking
How to Clear Your Mind

Tom Dunkley/Cultura via Getty Images

It seems like everyone’s doing a detox these days, from diets that rid your body of toxins to eliminating things in the environment that impact your health. When it comes to your mental health, doing a cleanse might be just what the doctor ordered to help promote positive thinking.

According to the Mayo Clinic, thinking positively can lead to increased life span, lower rates of depression, better cardiovascular health and better resistance to the common cold.

The good news is that unlike many diet detoxes, which can have hidden side effects, doing a mental cleanse requires only a few, easy steps.

Journal or write it down

Journal or write it down

Tom Merton/OJO via Getty Images

One of the best ways to deal with what’s in your head is to get it out. Journaling can help get a handle on your feelings and is beneficial to your mental health. When you write things down, it allows you to visualize and prioritize your issues or worries. It’s also a chance to identify common triggers and learn better ways of controlling them. Journaling can be as easy as sitting down with a pen and paper, or there are online classes you can take that offer tips on how to get started.

Get organized

Get organized

kate_sept2004/E+ via Getty Images

When things become over-cluttered or just too messy, it can have an impact on your mental health. According to Intermountain Healthcare, a disorganized home or workspace can affect your physical health and, in some cases, negatively impact personal relationships. Incorporating a few home organizing hacks into your life can help reduce stress, allowing you to focus your time and energy on more important things.

Move on from toxic people

Move on from toxic people

PeopleImages/E+ via Getty Images

There are a lot of important relationships to cultivate in life, but not all relationships are good for you. Whether they are a partner, friend, family member or co-worker, if spending time with someone constantly brings you down, makes you feel miserable or belittled, those are signs that your relationship is toxic. If you’re not ready to move on or end the relationship, you can seek help or support from a therapist.

Stop self-criticism

Stop self-criticism

Charday Penn/E+ via Getty Images

If, like a lot of people, you are your own worst critic, it’s time to stop. Though it’s beneficial to have self-awareness and understand habits or things you need to change, regularly criticizing yourself can be detrimental. If you’re constantly comparing yourself to others or feel like you are never successful enough, it can reduce your quality of life. Instead, focus on being a kinder person to yourself along with practicing self-compassion.

Let go of negative thoughts

Let go of negative thoughts

Klaus Vedfelt/DigitalVision via Getty Images

It can be difficult to not dwell on the little things, let alone the big ones, but all that negative thinking isn’t good for you. According to University of Wisconsin Health, negative thoughts can be a sign of depression or can make existing depression worse. To help, take time to notice your thoughts and replace negative ones with more positive, encouraging thinking. It’s also beneficial to stop thinking in terms of “should.” Instead have goals, but don’t base your self-worth on meeting them and try to find ways to boost your happiness hormones.

Just say ‘no’

Just say ‘no’

fizkes/iStock via Getty Images Plus

For a lot of people, saying “no” to something can be challenging for any number of reasons including wanting to boost productivity at work, guilt or a sense of obligation. But saying “yes” all the time isn’t necessarily good for you. In fact, according to the Mayo Clinic, it can lead to stress and being overburdened with obligations. Instead, before agreeing to something, stop and think about your current commitments, sleep on it to give yourself time to think, and don’t be afraid to say “no” when you need to take a pass.

Have a heart-to-heart

Have a heart-to-heart

Compassionate Eye Foundation/David Oxberry/DigitalVision

Relationships often come with baggage that can weigh you down over time. Though often easier said than done, talking problems or issues out with a partner, friend or family member can often help relieve some of the burden. And you both might have a better understanding of relationship boundaries you might not realize you’re violating. To get the most out of a heart-to-heart, express your thoughts in a positive way, take a break if you’re getting too angry or stressed, be willing to compromise and be a good listener in return.

Take a break from your phone

Take a break from your phone

Luis Alvarez/DigitalVision via Getty Images

There are a lot of ways your smartphone might be affecting your health. In fact, according to a study published by the National Institutes of Health, excessive phone use in teens can lead to any number of mental health issues including lack of sleep, anxiety and depression. Taking a mindful break from your phone occasionally is good for you. The American Psychological Association recommends making conscious choices about what you use your phone for, increasing the amount of time between checks, silencing notifications and putting your phone in a different room when you go to bed at night.

Meditate

Meditate

Patrik Giardino/DigitalVision via Getty Images

Too much stress can do scary things to your body and your mental health. Meditation is not only a great way to deal with stress, but it can also clear your head and help with depression and symptoms of anxiety. To get started, set aside a few minutes each day, sit comfortably, then close your eyes, breathe deeply and try to focus your mind. When you breathe out, imagine your thoughts being carried away. According to Harvard Health, if you do it regularly, you’ll see a noticeable change in your mood and stress level within a week or two.

Practice gratitude

Practice gratitude

Klaus Vedfelt/DigitalVision via Getty Images

Mindfully taking time to appreciate the good things in life is a great way to clear your head. Research suggests that regularly giving thanks can lead to greater happiness and more positive feelings overall. It can also help improve health and help you have a better relationship with your kids, friends and other important people. Practicing gratitude is as easy as focusing on what you have, as opposed to what you lack. Ways you can show gratitude every day include doing mental or literal thank-you notes and writing in a gratitude journal.

Getting it off your chest

Getting it off your chest

Lucy Lambriex/DigitalVision via Getty Images

Keeping things bottled up inside isn’t good for you. Instead, if the stress of life, your job or other problems are getting too overwhelming, help manage those negative feelings by reaching out to a professional or simply talking it over with a trusted friend or someone close. Keeping it all inside can add to your stress, causing sadness and frustration. When you’re talking it out, it’s important to express yourself in appropriate ways without getting angry or yelling, which are toxic habits that can hurt your relationships.

Talk a walk

Talk a walk

Maskot/DigitalVision via Getty Images

Sometimes clearing your head can be as simple as taking a walk. Even if you’re already doing the best exercises for weight loss or working out at home, walks can provide a different kind of mental break. Positively impacting your mood, walks give you a chance to reflect and take a break from everyday stressors like work and other demands. Walks can also change your life in other ways, including boosting happiness and improving self-esteem.

Get your finances in order

Get your finances in order

10'000 Hours/DigitalVision via Getty Images

According to a 2018 study by Northwestern Mutual, nine out of every 10 Americans agree that nothing makes them happier than feeling like their finances are in order. The study also finds that money is a leading cause of stress for most people. If you’re overwhelmed or worried about money, start by developing an organized spending plan or financial checkup that tracks income and expenses. If you’re still having trouble making financial resolutions, seek help or guidance from a professional.

Cook something

Cook something

10'000 Hours/DigitalVision via Getty Images

Simple but effective, the act of cooking or baking is not only good for your mood, but it also stimulates your brain in many positive ways. Formulating a meal plan encourages organization, working through details is good for problem-solving and multitasking while you cook is good for executive function. So whether you’re preparing an impressive dessert or vintage recipes no one makes anymore, chances are you’ll feel better after you’re done.

Commit a random act of kindness

Commit a random act of kindness

Oliver Rossi/DigitalVision via Getty Images

There are many reasons to commit big and small acts of kindness. One of them is that doing something nice for someone else is good for your overall well-being. It’s easy to get caught up in life and daily stressors, but putting someone’s needs before your own, even if it’s something as simple as baking a loaf of bread for a friend, not only brightens their day, but it can also help improve your own mood, reduce stress and increase happiness.

Set a priority list

Set a priority list

Luis Alvarez/DigitalVision via Getty Images

It can be overwhelming and stressful when your brain is cluttered with too many things. To help keep it all under control, Harvard Health suggests developing a routine, getting enough sleep and asking for help if you can’t manage everything. Creating a concrete list of tasks that need to get done can also help. Making a priority list gives you a solid endpoint and allows you to check things off when they're complete, helping you feel less bombarded.

Let it go

Let it go

Aja Koska/E+ via Getty Images

Much like the popular song, it’s important to learn how to let go. People often hang on to all sorts of emotional baggage including unfulfilled dreams, perceived failures and grudges. Dwelling on them, however, can end up hurting you more in the end. When you let go, it clears the way for change and opportunity. According to the Mayo Clinic, letting go of grudges can also lead to a stronger immune system, healthier relationships, better self-esteem and lower blood pressure.

Take a media break

Take a media break

Uwe Krejci/DigitalVision via Getty Images

Phones, computers and television are all information providers that are constantly delivering news. When your media intake gets overwhelming, make the mindful choice to take a break and focus instead on carving out a little “me” time. Decide how much time you want to spend reading or watching news and stick to it. Know that once you see something, you can’t unsee it, so choose what you let in. Finally, take regular breaks from your computer or television to go on a hike or read a book.

Have a good laugh

Have a good laugh

MoMo Productions/DigitalVision via Getty Images

Is laughter really the best medicine? Maybe. According to an article by the Cleveland Clinic, having a sense of humor and laughing often can help you stay healthy. According to research, laughing helps increase blood flow, lessens the production of stress hormones and can help build antibody-producing cells. If you need a little help, catch one of the happiest shows to watch right now.

Get your health in order

Get your health in order

Justin Paget/DigitalVision via Getty Images

One of the best things you can do for your mental health is take care of your physical health. According to a study published by the National Institutes of Health, regular physical activity benefits mental health by improving your mood, relieving stress and increasing energy and alertness. Eating right is also important, so be mindful about what you choose and make sure to add heart-healthy foods to your diet.

More from The Active Times:

35 Ways to Create a Healthier Home

How to Stretch Your Neck, Legs and Everything Else

Life Lessons Our Parents Taught Us

35 Healthy Habits That Keep You Young

25 Habits of Toxic People