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Streamline life

Do you suffer from emotional clutter? Maybe a better question is ‘are you living with’ emotional clutter? Emotional clutter is like an addiction, writes Seema Hingorrany.

sex and relationships Updated: Mar 16, 2009 21:21 IST

Do you suffer from emotional clutter? Maybe a better question is ‘are you living with’ emotional clutter? Emotional clutter is like an addiction. You carry your emotional baggage around thinking you can easily handle it. Eventually it reaches a point when you feel it’s out of control, or worse, you are out of control. Emotional clutter is a form of interference. Often, we carry around old emotions from past experiences. We’re still angry about something that happened years ago. We are still afraid of repeating mistakes we made when we were children. We are still feeling guilty about something we did years ago. Our feelings from old experiences become emotional clutter. They keep us from living in the present. They hold us hostage, depriving us from connecting with our inner self.

Just as physical clutter gets in the way of our ability to get things done or be organised, emotional clutter gets in the way of our being able to achieve our goals, have satisfying relationships, and be happy.

Examples of emotional clutter:

* Unresolved conflicts with a friend, family member or colleague
* Hanging on to a relationship that needs to end
* Regretting a commitment
* Avoiding phone messages or emails
* Berating yourself for something you think you did wrong

How to declutter your system:

Let go of worries: Worries are like worms; they fetch countless more worries. Soon, your mind gets fogged with negativity. It becomes a perpetual bad habit that spreads like a cancer.

Be honest with yourself: Ask yourself why issues have not yet been resolved and what is keeping you from getting all those feelings out of your system.

Pen down your thoughts: Whether it’s in a journal or online doesn’t matter. It helps you explore different areas of your life that you don’t think about much. This might allow you to find things that you didn’t realise were there, things that can be eliminated or pursued.

This mental inventory may help you: “I worry most about ___” “What I fear most is ___.” “The single most important thing in my life is ___.” “If I could change one thing in my life it would be ___.” If I didn’t have this job/this house/this ___, I would ___.” “If I channelled some of my free energy into a cause, it would be ___.”

* Take a walk. Doing some kind of physical activity is a great way to get stuff off your mind. Expending some physical energy clears the mind.
* Another way is to watch the people who push our buttons. Learning how to ‘let go’ is the cornerstone of cleaning emotional clutter.

Seema Hingorrany is a clinical psychologist and psychotherapist. Email her at seemahingorany@gmail.com