Updated: Apr 14
“[D]etachment means letting go and nonattachment means simply letting be. (95)” ― Stephen Levine, A Year to Live: How to Live This Year as If It Were Your Last
When it comes to your stuff, how attached or detached are you? Did you know that as soon as we touch something we are considering purchasing, attachment has already happened, and we are ready to call it ours? Anxiety is triggered when we think about not having this thing or when we think about letting go of this thing. The story we have made up about ownership is so powerful that our whole self-image hangs in the balance. On the other hand, exercising and feeling attachment to our bodies in motion has no ownership beyond the exercise moment yet keeping the momentum going and owning our health is as important as the stuff we collect.
If you have experienced that overwhelm feeling of getting moving through exercise or de-cluttering your spaces, you know first-hand how hard it is to make time for yourself and how hard it is to part with the things that no longer serve you. I’m sure for every item you released there is a story to tell, and more than one memory attached to the item. There is also a story to tell in the way we treat our bodies. For some, holding on to something that has no use in our own life is powered by guilt, emotional attachment, a possible need for “someday”, and my favorite and most popular- waiting for the kids to get a place of their own so they can use this, and so many more reasons we choose to not deal with making this tough decision of releasing the item. With our bodies, we are a dictionary of words as to why we won’t be exercising today.
Behind the hold
“Physical fitness plays an important role in our fluid intelligence”, says Vicki Griffin, MPA, MACN a writer for www.lifeandhealth.org. “Aerobic fitness protects cognitive functions, and those functions tend to slip as we age, such as the ability to plan, filter out distractions and speed information processing. Regular exercise reduces inflammation, arthritis pain, helps maintain a healthy weight and curbs cravings.” But regular exercise has so much more to offer than the physical benefits.
According to the book, Living Free: Finding Freedom from Habits That Hurt, exercising lowers stress and stress is high for people who need to declutter and get organized. The overwhelm alone in performing a task like downsizing or just going through a room full of “stuff”, is very stressful.
“A single session of exercise can be a valuable short-term therapy for reducing tension, depression, and anger. A 10-minute brisk walk equals one hour of increased energy and anxiety reduction. Regular exercise increases the ability for your body to decrease stress hormone production. For our mood, regular exercise has a positive impact on our vigor, psychological well-being, and creativity in all age groups. For our brain, regular exercise increases cerebral blood flow, mental fitness, planning, and enhances learning and memory.” Ratey J. Spark, Little, Brown, and Company; New Yor. 2008, p. 5
As an example, whenever I feel overwhelmed about tackling a declutter area of my home, I exercise first to get the nervous energy out and to give myself time to think about how to tackle the job. Physical exhaustion makes room for a more focused mind.
Holding onto our things, well beyond its usefulness in our lives, is not only stressful and a detriment to our health but can be due to a lack of knowing what to do with those things or lack of permission, for example, should I hold on to this coupon or wait until it expires before I throw it away. It could be lack of good energy or time. But the price we pay for ignoring or holding on to our things that we don’t use causes stress and without realizing it, causes us to feel weighted down and tired. That weight can also help keep us stuck from moving forward in other areas of our lives. If you want to get a healthy body but have all this clutter weight glaring at you every day, your body can move to a workout but will always feel tired. Physical, visual clutter is exhausting. Your refrigerator can be stocked with healthy ingredients, but your energy says, “eat chocolate.” You become counter-productive in moving forward.
Visual clutter, even though it may look neat and tidy, and out of sight out of mind clutter causes anxiety. To clear your mind, move forward with your life, and honor the person you are today, try to declutter and organize your spaces. It is a mental work out as well as physical, but I dare you NOT to feel more energized and more purposeful with your life and spaces.
To repair the lack of energy due to anxiety, overwhelm, and mental blocks it is important to take some self-care steps:
*Surround yourself with positive energy and words of wisdom
*Sleep well each night
*Drink plenty of fluids (preferably not alcohol)
*Practice relaxation techniques that meet your personal needs
*Stick to a good meal plan that gives you the proper energy to get through a good exercise session that build those happy hormones that help set you in a good frame of mind.
Set up a 31-day detox of your space while you detox your body through exercise and good, healthy food. That could look like: Committing to no less than 15 minutes each day.
*Day 1: Paperwork
*Day 2: Coat closet
*Day 3: Entryway
*Day 4: Junk drawer
*Day 5: Kids’ Toys or Newspapers/Magazines
*Day 6: Pantry
*Day 7: Laundry Room
Good energy feeds into good energy. By working through exercise and using that energy to clear your mind and spaces, you are moving in a positive, forward direction and constantly feeding the person you are trying to become inside and out.
Remember that all the self-care tips work in reverse as well. If you want to achieve success with your workouts and meal planning, make sure the spaces around you are at peace and giving off an organized vibe that supports your total body, mind, and soul.
“Keep your goal challenging enough that you have to change to achieve it.” ― Debasish Mridha