We all live in our heads, each one of us. And the space in there is different for everyone. Few may have a clean and tidy head space, with things neatly tucked away for possible use at a later date, leaving a nice tidy space to entertain in the moment. This is not the case for the majority of us. With mental health becoming a rising issue and many people suffering from anxiety, depression, and stress, our head space is often unkept and allowed to run wild. Rarely do we venture inside to have a tidy up and a clear out.
Awareness of mental health is thankfully growing, and we are beginning to see the vital importance of maintaining that space in our heads; we are also hopefully coming to the realisation that we are the only ones who hold the key to access that space, so the responsibility for keeping it clear and clean lies with us.
We all know how it feels, or have hopefully at least had a glimpse of, when you are in a good head space. We feel good, we get up in the morning ready to go, we interact with people, we are present, we often have a routine we enjoy and we feel useful and content with life. But things happen to pull us out of that space. An illness, a hangover, an argument; these things along with many others, can make us question things, ourselves most of all, and create a negative internal dialogue that quite frankly makes us feel like crap. Along with the crappy feelings these things all lower the immune system and use up energy, and can instantly pull us out of our good space and make us want to curl up in a ball and hide away from the world, and whatever is going on inside our head. We don’t want to deal with it. We just want it to go away. So what do we do to try to make that happen? We procrastinate. Just like cleaning the house (something I always dread!) we put it off and decide that we just have more important things to do than to focus on cleaning ourselves up. Instead of focusing on our head space we distract ourselves with people, activities and alter our state of mind with alcohol or drugs. Then we can focus on that instead of what’s really going on in our head space.
But what happens when you neglect the tidying and cleaning? After a while it can build up so much that you can’t function; you can’t use the kitchen because of all the dirty dishes; you can’t use the shower because its black and smells; you can’t open the bedroom door because of the huge pile of clothes behind it. The same thing happens inside your head. Your thoughts are the mess. And if you don’t tidy them up and clear them out, they can overrun the space.
So how do we go about cleaning and tidying up our head space? First things first – stop ignoring the mess. Look at it, acknowledge it is there. Be aware of your thoughts and what is going on inside your head. Ask yourself, what thoughts are in here? Is this a good space? Is it a space I want to live in?
Next – get stuck in. You need to get inside there and start deciding which thoughts serve you and make you feel good; you may want to keep these, put them into the back and pull them out at a later date (eg. ‘you did that well, I’m proud of you’ or ‘you can do it’ or ‘you deserve better’ or ‘stop worrying, it’s all ok’); and which ones you can chuck out, the ones that make you feel crap (eg. ‘you’re useless’ or ‘how could you ever think you could do that’ or ‘you don’t deserve it’ or ‘you will never be good enough’ or ‘it’s terrible, I can’t cope’). The great thing is that YOU get to decide which to keep and which to throw out.
There are many things that can help you gain access to the space inside your head. This can be in the form of yoga, meditation, a walk in nature or simply just ‘being’. Sitting on a park bench for example, not reading or looking at your phone but just being there. Anything that allows you to actually take a look inside your head without external distractions. You need to actually open the door and walk in; go inside and try to focus on what’s happening in there and not be distracted with what’s going on outside. The important thing is you must do it on your own. No one can help you in there. No one can clean the house whilst entertaining guests. It’s something that has to be done alone before the guests arrive, only then you are you ready to entertain them.
If you are not used to this it will be hard at first, it may feel scary, depending on what monsters are lurking in that space. You may feel uncomfortable at taking a real look at what is inside. But here’s the thing; running away does not get rid of the monster; hiding does not get rid of the monster; ignoring it does not get rid of the monster. The monster will stay and feed on the mess. The only way to really get it out is to face it, fight it and destroy it. This is why for some it is much harder and will take much longer than others. We all have our own monsters and mess in there and it’s different for each of us so the time it takes to clean that space up will vary, there is no right or wrong, good or bad way to do it. You just have to get in there, overcome the fear of what you see (feel) and get to work.
It is also vitally important to recognise the space in which you need to do the tidying. You can’t tidy up when you are partying, when you are sick, stressed or distracting yourself with other things. You must have free time when you are not doing anything and you are feeling refreshed and ready to do it. Stress, sickness, alcohol, drugs and socialising, are all things that can lower the immune system and use up energy. So if your energy is going into these, you have none left to clean up. It’s already being used for something else. So its important to prepare a day to clean. You know you’re having a dinner party Saturday night? You make sure you leave Saturday free to prepare, go shopping, prepare the food and clean the house. It’s the same for your head. You need some time to prepare before you go inside; don’t be hungover, don’t do it when you’re feeling stressed or you’re ill and don’t socialise. Leave aside a block of time to focus just on you and your head space. This is important, or you just won’t be able to see the results.
We all live inside our heads so the space in which we live and are consequently making decisions from has to be a good one or we just won’t get as much out of this life as we could have. It’s work, it’s hard, but it’s totally worth it. Your head space is just that: YOURS. It’s yours to do what you like with.
Just know that you have a lot to offer. You have something to offer the world. You affect the people around you. So don’t sell yourself short and think that you don’t have anything to offer or that you can’t make a difference. You can. You do. Even if you make a difference to one person, that matters. If we all made a difference to one person, even if that person is ourselves, imagine how the world could be? What goes on inside your head matters. It affects you and it affects those around you. You have a responsibility to yourself and to others to make sure it’s a good space. We are all in it together, we all find it hard, we all struggle. Take a look inside and see what you can do. You matter in this world. Your actions matter and your thoughts matter. Give yourselves the love, time and forgiveness you deserve. One head at a time, WE CAN all get into a good head space. Let’s begin, and let’s help ourselves and others to get cleaning up.
Sending you positive and encouraging thoughts into your head space.
Here’s hoping they reach you.