Psychological Spring Cleaning

Spring is just around the corner and with the warmer temperatures and longer days, many people begin to think of spring cleaning. Spring cleaning can have a positive effect on our mental health, but what about psychological spring cleaning? Edmonton-based therapist and owner of Holistic Healing Counselling, Shaheen Alarakhia, walks through the process of psychological spring cleaning.

Psychological spring cleaning is the process of decluttering your mind as well as letting go or changing behaviours which may be contributing to stress in your life. Ultimately, the goal of psychological spring cleaning is similar to spring cleaning, evaluating your current life/environment and identifying areas for positive changes that would result in a cleaner, more organized, and comfortable living environment. Here are 5 ways you can participate in psychological spring cleaning this month.

  1. Set aside time to engage in mindfulness meditation. We can think of mindfulness as an opportunity to get in tune with our thoughts and emotions, much like taking inventory of our things when we go to spring clean our living space. When engaging in mindfulness, it is important to allow thoughts to come and go without judgement. As we start to notice thought patterns and how thoughts are able to slip away when we do not react to them, we start to engage in cleaning our mind’s associations with those thoughts. On occasion, mindfulness might allow us to sit in the present moment without thoughts from the past or future. This absence of thoughts can help us to declutter our mind.
  2. Practice Gratitude. Practicing gratitude has many studied benefits for our mental health but how does it help us to declutter our mind? When we practice gratitude, we are intentionally shifting our attention to the things in our lives that we feel grateful for. This shift tends to allow us to gain clarity on where we want to spend more of our time and energy, which in turn naturally allows us to re-evaluate the energy we put into things which do not benefit us. Additionally, practicing gratitude can help us accept the way things are in our life currently which can help us let go of stress and anxiety.
  3. Embrace imperfection. We are bombarded with messages daily that we need to be perfect. Sometimes these messages come from social media, other times family pressures might make us feel like we are not enough. As we continue to push ourselves toward the idea of perfection, we often cause ourselves a lot of anxiety and stress. During psychological spring cleaning we can intentionally start to challenge the construct of perfection. Images on social media are edited and pressures from external people can sometimes miss important information about our lives. As an exercise, try writing down the ways in which you are good enough and the ways in which you accept yourself.
  4. Reflect on your psychological energy expenditures. Our activities, thoughts, and even time with people can result in spending psychological energy. You might notice feeling extra drained after hanging out with a friend who you feel like you can’t be yourself around or you might notice that extra time on social media results in you playing the comparison game and feeling poorly about your life. Take time after activities and interactions to note down how you feel. Activities and interactions which help you to feel rejuvenated are likely putting deposits into your mental bank account whereas things that make you feel drained are likely taking out of your mental bank account. For a spring clean, declutter by reducing the amount of time you spend with activities and interactions that take away from your mental energy.
  5. Spending time in nature. Spending time in nature, also known as green time, has many mental health benefits such as helping to improve our mood and reduce stress and anxiety. In fact, a recent study showed that time in nature is correlated with improved clarity and perspective. Time in nature could be going for a walk or sitting near a window or even admiring an indoor plant. In February, we took a mindfulness walk in nature. Feel free to join it here.

Psychological Spring Cleaning is an opportunity to declutter our minds, let go of unhelpful behaviours, and make positive changes to our lives. Engaging in mindfulness meditation, practicing gratitude, embracing imperfection, reflecting on our psychological energy expenditures, and spending time in nature are just a few ways we can participate in this process. As with everything in mental health, what works for one person might not be helpful to another. Use these suggestions as a jumping off point for your own psychological spring clean or reach out to one of our Edmonton-based therapists for additional guidance, support, and accountability for moving from surviving to thriving.

Welcome to Holistic Healing

Welcome to Holistic Healing

Meet our certified therapists, Adam, Selena, Juanita, Danielle, Kelsey and Shaheen. No matter what you want to work on, we have a therapist to help. Our Counsellors focus on helping you feel at ease by allowing you to feel heard and understood. By using a holistic, or whole picture approach, our trained Counsellors can help their patients live a happier, more authentic life. Our therapists offer adult counselling, couples counselling, and adolescent/teen counselling. Interested in learning more? Need to book a session? Contact Us here.


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Counselling doesn’t just have to be for those who have reached a crisis situation. If you want to live a happier life by discussing the issues that are causing you stress, anxiety, or fear, contact Holistic Healing today to book your free initial consultation.

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