13 Tips for Decluttering Your Mind and Finding Peace

Because overcommitment destroys serenity, "no" should become your ally.

Posted Mar 22, 2019

Taking a minute vacation.
Source: @RitaWatson2019

Have you ever wondered how to ease your brain from overload because of overcommitment?  Just a simple “no,” can become as important as a fairy godmother. People who are pleasers often say “yes” when they really mean “no.” The result is stress, anxiety, and even sleepless nights. In addition to the research papers, Mayo Clinic Guide to Stress-Free Living details the importance of making a plan for your well-being.

If we say “Yes,” when we mean “No” oftentimes our intuition tells us that things are not going to end well. But because we were raised to be pleasers, we compromise ourselves. 

Amy Morin, a licensed clinical social worker, and psychotherapist, points out that for people pleasers, getting to "No" might take some practice. In her PT blog post, 10 Signs You're a People Pleaser, she writes: 

"Start getting out of the people-pleasing habit by saying no to something small. Express your opinion about something simple. Or take a stand for something you believe in. Each step you take will help you gain more confidence in your ability to be yourself."

Tips to help you find some serenity and peace are derived from an early book of mine on decision-making for women. In order to combat overload consider the following:

  1. Ignore your electronic devices and buy yourself a To-Do book.
  2. Make a list of all of the things you plan to do today and separate according to family and friends, finances, and household.
  3. Create a list of immediate as well as long-term projects looming over you.
  4. Prioritize and add a time allotment next to each project—at least one hour because very little is accomplished in 15 minutes and the hour gives you time to handle interruptions.
  5. Take a minute to breath, review the list, and determine what is most important today.
  6. If you have already over-scheduled yourself, when asked to do one more thing, learn to say “No” without offering an excuse.
  7. Have an answer ready when you are pressed: “I am not able to give you an answer at this time.”
  8. Write down the top three table-pounding whys in your life that always trip you up—think in terms of time-stealers that thwart your serenity.
  9. Determine that you will not make a decision when you are in a hurry, have not had enough sleep, or you are feeling conflicted. Lack of sleep impairs decision-making. Sleep Tips to Refresh Your Brain and Body.
  10. Include minute gratitude vacations in your schedule. Stop throughout the day to smell the roses, to take a walk, to gaze at the sky whether sunshine or clouds. 
  11. Whenever you find yourself pounding a table asking: “Why? Why? Why? did I say ‘Yes’ when I really meant ‘No'?” write it down. Keep a list and post it next to your phone, on your fridge, or on your bathroom mirror!
  12. Learn to like the sound of “No," while you practice saying, “I really need to get back to you,” when pressed for an answer. Take a few precious moments to think about what you really want to be doing and respond in a way that honestly reflects your feelings.
  13. Blink. If for one second, you are in doubt—then don’t. Refuse to succumb to the fear that says, “What if I am making a mistake?” Or, "I wonder if he or she will be mad if I can't do what they are asking?"

Essentially it is important to be true to yourself and grateful for yourself and even the mistakes you make. Treat each one as a learning experience—stepping stones to eventual success. Every moment you lose when you are anxious or stressed is a moment you can never retrieve. Planning your time wisely and taking the time within the day to express gratitude can give you a certain peace of mind and a sense of serene power.

Copyright Rita Watson 2019