Clearing Out The Mental Trash To Reduce Anxiety, Stress and Worry

With so much information coming our way each day, and so many sources of information, opinion, commentary and fact that we encounter, it's no wonder that sometimes it just seems too much. We can feel bombarded with negativity, argument, speculation, opinion and more. Sometimes we deliberately think and talk about some of these things, yet other times  things just seem to get inside our heads and go around and around, often gathering momentum as they do so.

So many people that I work with for overthinking, anxiety, stress and worry describe how their mind seems full, how it never seems able to switch off, and how they find their heads filled with all sorts of thoughts. And on top of this, when there is emotion attached (as with anxiety, stress and worry), it can really exacerbate things.

It could be someone else's opinion that gets into your head and leaves you doubting yourself and questioning things. It could be some world event that you find yourself thinking about. And you may well find your mind is full of things outside of your control, things form the past, imaginings about the future, little things that seem like big things, small things you even know you don't need to be thinking about. And there can be a whole range of other negative, limiting, depressing, anxious thoughts that dominate and occupy your thinking.  

All these things can get inside your mind and become part of your thinking processes and can influence how you feel in unwanted ways. That means we all need effective ways to 'de-clutter' our minds, to interrupt unhelpful thought patterns and to take out the mental trash that contributes to your anxiety, stress and worry. 

Reduce Anxiety Stress Worry hypnotherapy ely 

Your Sleep and Your Mental Health 

One of the ways in which our brains close things off and clear our thinking is through sleep. Whilst many aspects of our sleep are yet to understood, we do know that a lack of sleep can have impacts upon your learning, memory, ability to concentrate and your physical health and well-being. 

Anxiety, worry and stress can disrupt your sleep, meaning you find it hard to get to sleep or you may wake in the night and find your mind won't stop going over things. The next day's tiredness can then mean you feel bad and struggle even more to stop that unwanted thinking. And with some mental health conditions, like anxiety and depression, if you do get to sleep you may dream more and wake up feeling tired the next day despite having slept. 

The 'expectation fulfilment theory' of the purpose of sleep suggests that our dreams are where we close of any unresolved emotions from the day. That is, if while we are awake we generate an emotion, however slightly, that isn't acted upon in some way, then at night our brain metaphorically closes off that emotion (so that it is 'dealt with' and we start afresh the next day). 

Thus, if you experience anxiety and worry about something that you cannot or do not act upon in some way during the daytime, your brain will need to metaphorically complete that process by de-arousing your automatic nervous system.  

And with anxiety, the research suggests that you are more likely to have negative dreams and nightmares (Sikka, 2018).

 As I've written about previously, sleep is regarded as one of the three main pillars of good mental health, along with physcal exercise and your diet. In fact, research suggests that whilst you shouldn't disregard your exercise and eating habits, sleep quality may be the most beneficial at improving your mental health and well-being (Wickham, 2020). 

There's more on that research into mental health here: The Three Pillars of Mental Health

What's more, research (van Alphen, 2021) suggests that deep sleep has a role in waste clearance. There is evidence of a discrete deep sleep stage that is linked to a specific function and which suggests that waste clearance is a core and ancient function of deep sleep.

All of the research then points to the need to prioritise sleep and to do all you can to get good quality sleep to support your mental health. Good sleep, of course, is not just about what you do at night and your bedtime routines, it's also about what you do in the daytime too. By reducing anxiety, stress and worry in the daytime, you should find you sleep better and that the quality of your sleep is better too.

 

Taking Out The Mental Trash

Clearing out all of the unwanted thoughts and feelings that go around your mind can help in reducing anxiety, stress and worry. You can reduce overthinking and make it more likely that you will have better sleep. With so many things that can dominate your mind, it's time to clear out the trash and clutter inside your own head and take back control over your thinking.

Here are some steps to help you to do this: 

1. Ensuring you are sitting somewhere quiet, take a deep breath and close your eyes. If you know self-hypnosis techniques you could incorporate these here. Start to extend your out breath and say the word 'relax' to yourself on every breath out. You could tense and relax each part of your body or tell yourself that each part of your body is relaxing. You could imagine a calm colour or sensation spreading through you or fill your mind with a relaxing sound. You could engage your imagination and imagine being in a remembered or created place of calmness, seeing the sights and hearing the sounds. Or you can draw upon and utilise any other ways that allow you to feel comfortable, calm and relaxed. Your aim here is just to feel as safe, calm and comfortable as you can right now.

You can also use either of the processes covered in these articles: The Eye Fixation Induction In HypnosisMindfulness For Anxiety, Stress and Promoting Mental Health

2.  Now, imagine travelling deeper inside of your mind, into the very centre of your mind, as though you are travelling into the control centre at the centre of your mind, that place where everyhing  you think, and feel and do is orchestrated in some way. In this place in your mind, every aspect of you is stored in some way. Your dominant thoughts and feelings, your history, your values and beliefs and every aspect of you on every level you could think of is stored here in the centre of your mind. It's the place where all the things that you don't need to even think about, like your breathing and the beating of your heart, are managed and directed. Every part of you is here in this place in some way.

3. And here in the centre of your mind you can begin to notice your thinking and the kind of things that go through your mind. You can be aware of and notice deliberate thoughts and those that just drift by, and then start to become aware of unwanted thoughts that you have been experiencing recently, Be aware of the kind of busyness and clutter that you may have had, and the kind of things that may have been causing agitation or anxiety inside your mind. Just notice them, without needing to engage in them, and be aware of any thoughts and thinking patterns that may have been limiting or negative in some way. 

Be aware of any unwanted thoughts that you want to clear from your mind here today, any images, words, colours, symbols of however you were experiencing those things.

4. Being aware of how you were experiencing those things, now imagine in the centre of your mind there is a trash bin of some kind. Begin to put those unwanted thoughts into the trash bin. In any way that feels right to you and that feels satisfying to you, put any old unwanted thoughts into the trash bin, along with any feelings attached to them, any behaviours or associations and anything else you no longer need or want inside your mind. 

As you put those things into the trash, imagine feeling lighter and feeling better. Sense how your mind is becoming more free and more clear and feel good as you put anything unwanted and unnecessary into the trash bin. Then scan inside, through your mind and your thinking, and be certain that the last of those unwanted thoughts have been put into the bin.

5. When you're sure that all of those old things are in the trash bin, you can go ahead and clear the trash from your mind. You can do this in any way you wish. You may send that bin way, way into the distance, smaller and darker until it fades into nothingness. You may zap it, crush it, destroy it or clear out the old trash from your mind in any other way that means you know that it is now gone and that this is definitely the case.

6.  Now that your mind is more free and clear, and having cleared out any old clutter and thinking, start to let the good things inside your mind grow and expand. You can say to yourself how you now feel calm, relaxed, confident and in control, and repeat that idea with real belief and conviction, and accept it more deeply as you repeat it to yourself. You can remember times when you've felt good or happy and where you've enjoyed yourself, so remember those kinds of thoughts and feelings and let them fill your mind.

Imagine your mind being more clear and then imagine positive thoughts, images and feelings expanding to fill all the space inside your mind. Fill your mind with positive, uplifting, empowering thoughts and feelings that will benefit you in your life. Imagine the colours, sounds, thoughts and feelings of calmness, positivity and control growing and expanding within you and spreading into each and every part of you. Having cleared your mind of any unwanted thoughts, now really spend these moments feeling calm, relaxed, confident in control, feel lighter and more uplifted and enjoy feeling better in yourself. 

7. And then, keeping those good feelings and to bring this process to an end, take a deep breath, count up from 1 up to 3 inside your mind, and then open your eyes and reorient yourself to your surroundings.

If you'd like me to guide you through this process then take a look at my Clear Out Mental Trash hypnosis download:

Clear out mental trash hypnosis download dan regan hypnotherapy ely

 

You can repeat this process to clear out any unwanted thoughts that creep into your mind so that they don't get 'stuck' in your head. With so much information coming our way each and every moment, you want to stay in control over what you absorb from things that come your way and to reduce your anxiety, stress and worry. 

Remember, if you'd like to gain the benefits of this awesome process to clear unwanted thoughts from your mind, then do take a look at this hypnosis download where I guide you through the whole thing: Clear Out Mental Trash Hypnosis Download. 

To your health and happiness,

Dan Regan

Online Skype and Zoom Hypnotherapy  

Face-to-face hypnotherapy in Ely & Newmarket

Struggling with anxiety, stress, worry and fear and need some help? Find out how I can help with a Complimentary Hypnotherapy Strategy Session. Learn more here: Appointments

Find out what dozens of other people have said after their hypnotherapy sessions with Dan: Hypnotherapy Testimonials

And check out these powerful hypnosis downloads that can start helping you right away with anxiety, confidence and more: Hypnosis Downloads

 

References:

Sikka, P., Pesonen, H. and Revonsuo, A., 2018. Peace of mind and anxiety in the waking state are related to the affective content of dreams. Scientific reports8(1), pp.1-13.

van Alphen, B., Semenza, E.R., Yap, M., van Swinderen, B. and Allada, R., 2021. A deep sleep stage in Drosophila with a functional role in waste clearance. Science advances7(4), p.eabc2999.

Wickham, S.R., Amarasekara, N., Bartonicek, A. and Conner, T., 2020. The Big Three Health Behaviors and Mental Health and Well-being among Young Adults: A Cross-sectional Investigation of Sleep, Exercise, and Diet. Frontiers in Psychology11, p.3339.