Overwhelmed? Gain Clarity of Mind with One Simple Yet Powerful Practice
“I can shake off everything as I write; my sorrows disappear, my courage is reborn.” ~ Anne Frank
Chris (not her real name) came to me feeling out of control. She described herself as always being in a hurry. She had to hit the ground running every day. Chris had minimal self-care. She had no time for deep relationships. She never got enough sleep and couldn’t remember the last time she sat down to eat a decent meal. A vacation? What’s that! And at the end of the day, she couldn’t say what meaningful things she had accomplished. She felt empty and lost. She needed to gain clarity of mind.
As we talked, I could see that her mind was ablaze with new ideas, which were quickly being extinguished by her many self-imposed obligations. She spent a lot of time just trying to retrieve information from her brain, notebook and computer files. She often didn’t know if she’d completed a project, because she was already on to the next. Then she’d have to retrace her steps and recreate mentally what had been done. Can you relate?
Through somatic coaching, I helped her to slow down and listen to what her body was telling her — it wanted sleep, good nutrition, tenderness, and time to figure out what really mattered to her.
The simple, yet powerful practice that helps you gain clarity of mind…
One practice that helped Chris to get back on track and gain clarity of mind was a morning routine of writing whatever came into her head. She started by writing to-do lists and struggling with three things she was grateful for. Her thoughts were coming strictly from her head, not her heart. But, as she learned to relax her body and mind, her writings became free-flowing thoughts that captured creative ideas, explored deeper feelings, and sometimes made absolutely no sense at all. And that was perfectly okay!
We didn’t put a number to how much or how long she would write. The only rule was to write it out in longhand on paper. This process slowed her down so she could experience her thoughts in her body. For example, as she wrote about a situation that caused anxiety, she sat with it until she could mindfully feel the tension in her body — sometimes in her neck, sometimes in her belly. Then she did breathing exercises until she relaxed. As her body released the power of that emotion, her mind could do so as well. Through her writings she got to know, love and appreciate herself on a much deeper level.
How can you gain clarity of mind through a daily practice of writing everything that comes to your mind?
Here are some tips:
1. Dedicate a set time every day to write. I do best in the morning and what keeps me motivated is thinking about how it quiets me and gives me peace. It’s helpful to let go of expecting immediate or certain results. What you write today is exactly what you need to write, nothing else is required.
2. Commit and honor the process. Turn it into a ritual — sit in your most comfortable chair and place, use a special journal and pen, drink an energizing beverage, play music softly in the background, light a candle — whatever makes this a special occasion just for you.
3. Turn off the inner critic. Write as words come to you, without editing, judgment or censoring. Anything and everything is allowed. As William Wordsworth said, “Fill your paper with the breathings of your heart.” This will really clear the mental clutter. And it’s a great stress/anxiety-reducer too!
4. At the end of the day, week or month, read what you’ve written and highlight topics you’d like to explore further. Perhaps color code your highlights according to subjects like business ideas, feelings to explore, dreams, personal development. Pay attention to the mood of each entry — is it speaking positivity into your life, bringing you joy, or keeping you in a rut? Observe without judgment and ask yourself, “That’s interesting. What can I learn from that?”
5. Start mindfully setting intentions. As you create greater awareness of what’s causing disharmony and pain, you can take mindful actions to improve those situations. After a week of writing, start shaping your day by using the last page or last 15 minutes to write positive affirmations, tasks, intentions that keep you excited and engaged.
My client, Chris, has improved her family relationships and now has a clearer vision of where she wants her business to be in five years. When you gain clarity of mind and learn about how to connect each experience with your body and your mind (somatic embodiment) you can experience similar breakthroughs.
Are you already using the power of writing longhand to gain clarity of mind? I’d love to hear about your experience and the insights it’s given you. You can connect with me on my website or visit my Facebook page. And be sure to sign up for my newsletter, because my community will get first invitations to my upcoming deep-dive coaching intensives.
Thank you for the use of your photo Toa Heftiba on Unsplash