Do you ever feel like your head is so full of stuff that you can’t effectively navigate your mental terrain? Thoughts about what you’re going to have for lunch. Thoughts about your regrets, fears, doubts. Thoughts about what you should have done yesterday and what you might do tomorrow.

Tumbling, jumbling THOUGHTS.

Your mental energy is precious. When your mental space is brimming with trinkets, you start to feel stressed. It’s harder to be productive. It’s difficult to prioritize. It’s enough to make you bury your face in your hands, Nine of Swords style.

When you’re mired in thought-muck, it’s nigh on impossible to do the important shit you’re on this planet to do. You’re here to create. You’re here to engage fully with life. You’re here to be calm and present. To accomplish these things, you need mental white space.

With some strategy and intention, you can sort through brain clutter. You can move into a more orderly and open mental landscape. Here’s a blueprint, inspired by the Page of Swords, to get you started!

How to create mental white space

Get the gunk out, again and again

Thoughts are like dust. You can’t just tidy them up once and then have a clear mind for all of your days! They are constantly accumulating, so maintaining your mental white space is an ongoing task.

Writing is the best way I have found to sort through my own mental clutter. In the Artist’s Way, Julia Cameron suggests a practice of morning pages. The idea is to start each day by writing three pages, long hand. This is a way to shake up your thoughts, getting them out of your head and onto paper. It’s kind of like dusting your brain!

Think, but don’t overthink

The Page of Swords reminds us to be straightforward. Instead of ruminating on every possible angle, peel your thoughts down to the essentials. What EXACTLY is the task at hand? What EXACTLY is the problem at hand? Define things as succinctly as possible.

The simplest solution is often the best solution. While the Knight of Swords might get caught up in philosophizing and pondering, the Page of Swords cuts to the chase. Things are often not as complicated as we make them out to be. Instead of getting swept into fruitless drama, keep things as clear as possible.

Meditation and visualization

The next time your brain is racing, try this. Get comfortable. Take a few deep breaths. Visualize the inside of your brain as an office. Right now, there are folders flung about (these are your thoughts). Keep breathing, and picture yourself sorting through the folders and placing them in the appropriate filing cabinets. Soon, your mental space will be organized and clean!

You might also want to try my free guided meditation using the Ace of Swords. It’s only five minutes long and it works like a charm, if I do say so myself.

Organize, schedule, plan

Our mental landscape can get trampled on by little (but insistent!) nagging thoughts. “I need to get a haircut. I have to make that phone call.” Instead of letting these things tug at the corners of your mind, schedule them in. When you know you have a time designated to take care of something, it’s less likely to hang around and pester you.

Planning is probably the most powerful thing you can do to create mental white space. When there’s no plan, thoughts drift around your brain like bubbles. You have vague ideas of what you want to accomplish, but when you try to latch on to something it pops. When there’s a plan in place, you don’t have to waste energy wondering what to do next.

Organizing your external environment is useful, too. Our inner environment often mirrors our outer environment. When you’re surrounded by piles of junk, it can actually make you feel more frazzled. When you’re in an organized space, you can become more orderly within.

Mindfulness over multitasking

The truth is that the human brain is pretty crappy at multi-tasking. When you’re trying to tackle a zillion projects, your mental space can quickly become cloudy. Instead of trying to rush and cram, prioritize. Choose one focus area. Break that thing into smaller focus areas. Move through this step by step. It’s a clichΓ© because it’s wise: choose quality over quantity.

We often spew our mental landscape with thoughts of what we WISH we were doing, or what we WILL be doing, or what we DID do. Basically, we’re thinking about anything and everything – except what we actually ARE doing. This is a surefire way to botch up your mental white space.

Practice being fully conscious. Decide to be HERE, doing THIS. Come back to your intention of mindfulness over and over and over.


Which of these tips will you try? Do you have other suggestions on creating mental white space? Do leave a comment and tell me all about it!

PS: If you dig this concept, here’s a post on Mental Minimalism by Paul Jarvis. Highly recommended.

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