Mindful De-Cluttering: How to Reduce Stress from Mess

Ever at home, look around, and get freaked out by the mess? Cleaning is one thing, but clutter is another. Mindful de-cluttering will reduce your stress, actually bring you joy—and here’s how to do it…

Make a Date

The first thing necessary is to make time to face your belongings (some of which you forgot you even had.) You don’t need as much time as you think. Don’t put it off because you’re afraid it will take hours.

Plan to tackle one small area at a time. Put aside one hour. You can look at your calendar and make a date for your de-cluttering session. If you’re on a deadline, you’ll get more done than if you put aside an entire day. Get as much done as possible in that time span, and then make a new date for your next session.

Mindful Move-Along

In the time you set aside, try not to let anything interrupt you. Let calls go to voicemail and answer texts after your hour is up. This is one important element of mindfulness in this mission.

Mindful anything requires your complete focus. If you truly want to de-clutter (which you should to reduce your stress levels) then you have to be contemplative and truthful with yourself as you peruse your items. Which ones will stay, and which will go?

Here are a few examples of how to approach your de-cluttering project.

The Kitchen

Let’s, for example, use one of our hours on the refrigerator. Looking at the front of it—is it covered with magnets, photos, fingerprints, and school papers? Take everything off. Only put up what you absolutely want to look at everyday. Papers should go in an office space or the information placed in an app on your phone.

Check out the inside of the fridge. Are there bottles of old salad dressing that you’ll never use? Dump them. Throw out anything spoiled, expired, or that you know you’ll never use. You won’t miss it. Give good stuff to the food bank if you won’t use it.

How about that end drawer over from the silverware? That’s right, the one that’s so full it gets stuck, and you can’t open it. Rubber bands, tacks, notepaper, pens from the mechanic, and keys you have no idea to what they belong. Empty it.

Keep only what works and what you’ll absolutely need. Toss broken things you know you’ll never get around to fixing. Numbers on scraps of paper can go in your phone. This is going to be so much fun!

The Bedroom

Check out your clothes closet. Are there pants that don’t fit and never will again? How about that blouse you wouldn’t be caught dead in. Donate them. Get rid of old, smelly shoes. The really cool part of this session is that you will get to know which clothes you really love. Then, wear them. No one sees them in the closet. Enjoy the items you adore!

The Bathroom

How many lipsticks do you have that have changed color from time erosion? There’s a bottle of lotion with a squirt left that’s so old it’s hardened. Have you taken a whiff of that perfume your grandmother gave you? Would you really wear it and purposefully want to smell that way? Are there more than 10 magazines by the toilet? Keeping these things around create clutter and brain chaos whether you think so or not.

Mindful Honesty

Don’t be afraid to look at things around the house and admit you don’t want to look at them. Everything (if there’s clutter) can’t be your favorite. However, you can, over the course of time, reclaim your space. Endeavor it to be rich with things you only need or absolutely love. All of the rest can fall by the wayside and bring you the lightness you need and deserve. Happy de-cluttering!


Is There a Fix for Childhood Obesity?

Youth obesity is a prevalent, dangerous (and growing) epidemic. Can there be a plan where prevention of weight-gain and increase in healthy weight-loss can exist? Yes, there may be an interesting and potentially successful fix for childhood obesity.

What it’s Looked Like in The Past

Diet, as a term, basically means the types and amounts of foods someone typically eats. “Dieting”, however, has become known as the practice of reducing calories and changing eating and exercise patterns.

Many youth-based obesity programs focus on “dieting.” They often stress the counting of intake calories, along with counting calories burned through exercise. That’s a plausible and proven successful method of accomplishing a weight-loss goal. But is it working? Clearly, not well enough.

A New Approach

Mindful eating” is a new buzz-term that can truly benefit our overweight and obese youth. It’s an approach to eating that emphasizes on how the body feels while eating—and afterwards.

There’s a focus on the foods we put into our mouths. That would be a simplistic definition of mindful eating. But, Dr. Lenna Liu explains that a more demonstrative example of that focus means, “It allows us to pay attention to hunger and fullness, emotional connections to food and the relationships involved in eating.”

How Do You Feel?

Mindful eating focuses on what we ingest and why. If I’m feeling sad and I eat a gallon of ice cream, it’s pretty obvious what I’m eating and why.

Keeping an eye on ourselves, with compassion, we can make healthy food choices that focus on using food as energy. That’s what its intention is/was. All the artificial flavors and fats and salts…those are all unhealthy soothers.

Dr. Lenna Lui is a pediatrician at Seattle Children’s Hospital. She expresses that mindful eating focuses on positives, not negatives. She suggests we all observe our emotional connection to foods and how we respond accordingly.

Being Models For Our Kids

We all grab for “comfort” food. But why does food need to be the comfort? There must be an alternate, progressive way to help our youth. They needn’t tie their emotional needs or disappointments into eating. We can teach them differently!

As Liu points out, “the urge to eat due to emotions can occur suddenly and urgently.” If we, as adults, can recognize what’s going on, we can communicate or model a healthier approach for our children.

Explaining, demonstrating, and modeling that food is a beautiful necessity—we need it to “think, play, learn, and grow.” Also, making sure we provide healthy foods in the home will make a huge difference how children choose their foods. Working together, we all can make a difference.



Is Simplicity the Key to Good Health?

K.I.S.S. “Keep It Simple, Silly” is an age-old acronym suggesting simplicity is the best policy. But when it comes to everyday living, do you think it may be a way for people to attain personal satisfaction and good health?

Simple is not Stupid

Depending on the definition, one’s perception of simple may be quite different than another’s. For the sake of clarification, let’s look at “simplicity” as minimizing, making mindful choices, and practicing gratitude—in all areas of life.


Start with clutter. Piles of papers and an overabundance of material items around the house or office can be stressful. De-clutter and reduce your anxiety level.

Think about how happy you are when you’re on vacation, where there are no worries at home staring you in the face. It’s actually possible to achieve that sensation in your everyday environment. One key action is to minimize material possessions.

And it doesn’t have to be an overwhelming process.

All it takes is a little effort every time you look in your closet. If it’s ripped, worn out, or unloved, get rid of it. Look through the pantry and fridge. If food is expired, freezer-burned, or, you know you’ll never eat it, toss it. This also applies to boxes of old letters, ancient tax receipts, and duplicate copies of photos. Old towels, sheets, burned pot-holders—it’s probably time to add them to the trash bin as well.

Making Mindful Choices

Sure, you love to volunteer. You want to go to every event you’re invited to. Of course, you want to attend every sport, music, choir, parent-night on the calendar. Or do you? Perhaps it’s time not to say “yes” to everything.

Spend time in ways that are satisfying to you. We are all way too busy, and the effects are poor health. Take walks in nature. Visit friends and family that you really like. Support your kids so they know you care, but not to the detriment of your sanity and health (and in turn, theirs.) Rest and good sleeps are intensely satisfying and necessary for optimum health.

Reduce chaos. This may mean not overspending on holidays, not going to that party, but instead exercising, reading, or simply “playing.”

Bosu Balance Trainer
Bosu Balance Trainer

Practicing Gratitude

“Being grateful” has become such a trendy buzz-saying. The truth is that this philosophy is ancient and successfully effective. It also lies as a root to many religions. Practicing gratitude has been proven to increase internal personal satisfaction as well as one’s physical health. It’s invaluably worthy.

Gratitude helps simplify

“Clinical trials indicate that the practice of gratitude can have dramatic and lasting effects in a person’s life,” says Robert A. Emmons, professor of psychology at UC Davis. “It can lower blood pressure and improve immune function…”

Another study from UC San Diego’s School of Medicine revealed that people who are more grateful had better cardiovascular health. They also had less overall inflammation in their bodies.

Being grateful for a way to earn a living, your clothes, furniture, food, and most of all, the people in your life, can bring a personal joy like no other. With that healthy spirit, a strengthening of the physical can certainly follow suit.

For tips on living a healthy, spiritual, and satisfying life, have a look at other articles on www.GetThrive.com

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Get Thrive Shop Page

Nine Brilliant Ways To View Life

Maria Popova is a blogger, reader, thinker, and modern-day philosopher. She was born in Bulgaria and came to America to attend the University of Pennsylvania as a communications major. To support herself through college, she literally worked four different jobs simultaneously.

To stir creativity, she began composing short, weekly emails, which served up as intellectual brain food. Her writing evoked curiosity and deep thought, and the original seven people to whom she emailed have expanded into over a million.

In October of 2015, Popova’s site www.BrainPickings.com turned nine years old. Her curiosity and intellectual exploration has lead to, essentially, her discoveries of what it means to live a meaningful life. On the anniversary of the 9th year, she shares nine of the most important things she’s learned…

1. Allow yourself the uncomfortable luxury of changing your mind: As she describes (accurately), “It’s enormously disorienting to simply say, ‘I don’t know.’ …It’s infinitely more rewarding to understand than to be right—even if that means changing your mind about a topic, an ideology, or, above all, yourself.”

2. Do nothing for prestige or status or money or approval alone: Ultimately, Popova explains, those things, “don’t make it thrilling to get up in the morning and gratifying to go to sleep at night—and, in fact, they can often distract and detract from the things that do offer those deeper rewards.”

3. Be generous: elebrate others with your kind words. “Always remember there is a human being on the other end of every exchange.”

4. Build pockets of stillness into your life: “Meditate. Go for walks. Ride your bike going nowhere in particular.  Without this essential stage of unconscious processing, the entire flow of the creative process is broken.…Most importantly, sleep.”

5. When people try to tell you who you are, don’t believe them: “You are the only custodian of your own integrity.”

6. Presence is far more intricate and rewarding an art than productivity.

7. “Expect anything worthwhile to take a long time”: This is borrowed from the wise and wonderful Debbie Millman.

8. Seek out what magnifies your spirit: “Who are the people, ideas, and books that magnify your spirit? Find them, hold on to them, and visit them often.”

9. Don’t be afraid to be an idealist: “As E.B. White explained, ‘The role of the writer is to lift people up, not lower them down.’ Supply creates its own demand. Only by consistently supplying it can we hope to increase the demand for the substantive over the superficial—in our individual lives and in the collective dream called culture.”

Sometimes reading, contemplating, and formulating our own thoughts/opinions can be incredibly fulfilling. Popova must feel awfully satisfied. She certainly inspires, which is what she has humbly set out to do.

Study Finds New Way to Beat Postpartum Depression

After giving birth, many women suffer from depression; it’s a very real, scary, and, unfortunately, common condition. A new study reveals that “mindfulness” training and classes during pregnancy reduce symptoms of postpartum depression. It may sound hokey, but there are a few reasons why this method may be substantiated.

During Labor

Research, last year, out of the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center revealed that reduced pain during labor is linked to reduced risk for postpartum depression. Women who had opted for an epidural had a lesser chance of becoming depressed after giving birth.

That study wasn’t necessarily suggesting women have an epidural. The findings showed, however, that those who experienced less pain during delivery felt better afterwards.

This year’s study at the University of Wisconsin discovered similar results. Their research, however, focused on mindfulness. The researchers noted that the women who had taken mindfulness training classes before giving birth had fewer postpartum symptoms than women who took a standard childbirth course.

How Does it Work?

The experts involved in both studies speculated on why either meds or mindfulness kept fewer women from becoming depressed after delivery. One theory is that pain creates inflammation, and inflammation in the body can lead to feelings of depression. So, with relieved pain comes a lesser chance of inflammation.

Another thought was the fear factor. Many women are scared of childbirth. In fact, those participants in the study who took a “regular” childbirth class left with their fears even more heightened.Those deep feelings of anxiety (and perhaps for a prolonged time) could lead to postpartum depression. The study out of Wisconsin revealed that women who trained in and practiced mindfulness had reduced fear; hence, their risk of depression was also reduced.

The ability to cope with childbirth was greater for the women with mindfulness skills. Additionally, during those first few months after delivering, they experienced overall better mental health. They were better able to adjust to “mothering” as well.

Postpartum Condition

One in eight women are affected with depression after giving birth, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Symptoms of postpartum depression may include:

  • Excessive crying
  • Severe mood swings
  • Overwhelming tiredness
  • Anxiety
  • Feelings of inadequacy
  • Trouble bonding with baby
  • Withdrawing from friends and family
  • Reduced interest in doing what you formerly enjoyed
  • Perceiving that there’s no support
  • Thoughts of death or suicide

Following a healthy, daily routine can help minimize some of the more negative feelings. New mothers need to rest. Eating a nutritious diet and getting fresh air and exercise are also paramount to an improved state of mental health. Letting others help after the baby is born is a sign of strength.

If you fear you are suffering from postpartum depression, don’t hesitate to reach out to your doctor, friend, or relative for guidance and support. And, of course, if you are having thoughts or harming yourself or your baby, you can call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK.

If you are an expectant mother, it may be a helpful idea to take a mindfulness course. Another discovery made in the recent study was that fewer women opted for opioid-based medication during labor. They were better able to manage the pain. All of these options, of course, are highly personal. You and your loved ones will, no doubt, make decisions that best fit your specific needs.






Why Multitasking Isn’t Mindful At All

If you’ve tried multitasking but the concept isn’t working for you—that may be a good thing. Taking mindful action on a singular task turns out to be far more productive and rewarding. In fact, multitasking can actually have negative, (even long-term) effects on your brain.

Mind Your Business

Many of us think that we’re saving time doing several things all at the same time. And for some, there’s a feeling of accomplishment getting a few tasks done simultaneously. A handful of studies, however, are negating positive results from multitasking. They are proving it isn’t the way to achieve optimum results.

Focusing on one objective with commitment and care would be considered mindful. Mindful action appears to derive far more efficient and effective results. Switching from one task to another can create disorganization and also slows down “thinking” time. Information from one task to another can become convoluted, and the brain takes time to process and differentiate.

Multitasking and Mental Stress

In this day and age of electronic communication, it’s almost impossible not to try and multitask. Between your computer and phone, reading, responding, and sending texts, messages, and emails can be all-consuming. And we may think we can do it all at once. But studies are showing we can’t—at least not effectively.

A big study out of Stanford University showed that those inundated with tons of electronic information have difficulty with mental recall and the ability to attend. Proper attention to each task wanes, as does appropriate communication. Additionally, these folks have trouble switching from one task to another (because the brain needs time to switch gears.)

That particular study also provided data suggesting that multitaskers produce work of lesser quality than those who focus on one single task at a time. They were also more unorganized, and, ultimately slower getting everything done.

The irony is that the multitaskers think they’re getting a lot done, but when push comes to shove, it’s the single-track focused who produce superiorly.

Can Multitasking Lower Your Intelligence?

Another study out of the University of London tested IQ scores of multitaskers and single-focus participants before and during their activity. Those who attempted two or more activities simultaneously experienced drops of up to 15 IQ points during cognitive tasks.

The University of Sussex also conducted a study. Researchers compared MRI scans of those who spent time on multiple electronics concurrently with those who did not. The multitaskers were found to have less brain density in the region reigning over cognitive and emotional control. Empathy levels were also shown to be lower in those who multitasked.

Single-Task Success

Perhaps it’s a wise suggestion to be mindful at work (public or private.) It is definitely worth attempting the one-task-at-one-time theory of success. This theory of reaping better results can be applicable to our efforts in the workplace as well as to our interactions (and success) in relationships.

Here are some ideas for increasing success through single-tasking:

Prioritize. Make lists of what is crucial and what can wait. Not everything is of dire importance. Once you’ve numbered your tasks, start with #1. Begin with that selection and follow-through until it’s complete. When it’s done, cross it off and move onto the next.

Avoid checking other electronic devices. If you are composing an email on your computer, refrain from checking the texts on your phone. Stick to one job at a time. Unless you are waiting for an incredibly important call or text, it can wait until you finish your original task.

Put down your electronics when you are meeting with someone. If you’re in a meeting (business or personal), the person you’re with deserves your full attention. You don’t need the distraction, and the other person doesn’t need to feel unimportant.

Take notes or excuse yourself. If something comes to mind, write it down quickly, as an aside. No need to interrupt your conversation or composure to switch gears. Make a note and deal with it when you’ve completed the task at hand. If an important call comes in, excuse yourself momentarily. If it can wait, let it. One thing at a time…

Reward yourself with breaks. If you’re in the midst of a stressful assignment, allow yourself a minute to grab some fresh air, a glass of water, or even a brief stroll. Getting up and moving around allows you to recharge. Just don’t get distracted and get involved with another task. Simply take your well-deserved break and then get back to completing what you started.

For other tips and up-to-date details about ways to improve your life, check out www.GetThrive.com





Meditation Helpful for Disruptive Students

Some elementary schools are replacing detention or other inconsequential punishment with meditation insteadsuccessfully.

Acting Out

We all know the kid who disrupts the class with unsavory behavior. He or she runs around the classroom, doesn’t follow directions, acts disrespectful, or starts fights with other students. Some classes have more than one kid who engages in this type of behavior.

Traditional “punishments’ such as detention or suspension don’t work. Kids get bored sitting in a room, fake-reading after school; and it has no connection to their recent misbehavior. Suspension might be what the student wants—to avoid going to school.

One elementary school in Baltimore, however, is having great success with their “mindful moment room.”

How it Works

When a student becomes persistently disruptive in the classroom, the teacher asks them to go to the meditation room. It’s in that space that the child is encouraged to partake in self-soothing, calming behaviors like mindful breathing and simple yoga poses.

The mindful meditation room has plush pillows, soft lighting, and warm colors. The kids are encouraged to engage in deep breathing in order to get their bodies and mind more still. They are also given an opportunity to reflect and then discuss their previous actions.

Does it Work?

According to the principal, teachers, parents, and students of Robert W. Coleman Elementary, meditation instead of punishment is working quite well. They’ve noticed that the children’s focus and attention spans have increased. The Holistic Life Foundation partnered with the school to create the meditation room. Kirk Phillips, one of the coordinators, said the program is amazing. “You wouldn’t think that little kids would meditate in silence. And they do.”

Parents are also claiming that they are seeing changes at home. They’re finding that their kids are less stressed out.

There’s also been noted a greater awareness of surroundings. The students have been more participatory in the community like helping out cleaning up parks and creating local gardens.

One high school practicing the meditation room programs reports that suspension rates dropped significantly, and attendance is the highest it’s been.

It’s great news to hear that change is occurring. Since traditional styles haven’t been working all that well, why not revert to an ancient practice? Especially one that been proven over thousands of years to reap mental and physical benefits.

For more articles on children, families, health, meditation, and progressive, alternative remedies and solutions, check out www.GetThrive.com