The Maven: Clearing Your Emotional Clutter
As a professional organizer and coach, I have observed that whatever is going on inside of you is often reflected in your outside environment and vice versa: depression can cause clutter, and clutter can cause depression.
I view emotional clutter as feelings that prevent you from creating the life you choose. Like physical clutter, emotional clutter can be cleared, freeing us to live more joyfully.
Self-awareness is a necessity. Start by becoming aware of your emotions and how you respond to people, events, and situations. Notice how and when feelings prevent you from speaking up or trying something new.
Observe, Don’t Judge
As you become more aware of your emotional clutter, try to remain neutral. Many emotions have been labeled as good (joy, happiness, passion) or bad (anger, sadness, shame). Concentrate on observing the emotion rather than labeling it. Dig deep. Many times there are layers to emotions; sometimes under anger there is sadness. Consider your emotions as guideposts signaling the path to change.
Honor Your Emotions
If you are angry, can you scream? Dance? Moving our bodies helps release stagnant energy. If you are feeling sad, can you cry? Talk to a friend? Your fear of the emotion may be much more difficult to overcome than expressing the emotion fully. As you practice expressing your emotions, you will get better at releasing them, alleviating your suffering.
Live in the Present
Do you know where you spend the majority of your time? Is it the past, the present or the future? Do you often become angry, ruminating over past events? Perhaps learning better boundaries is a skill to transform anger into peace. If you’re anxious about having enough money for retirement, can you skip the daily Starbucks to put into savings?
The present moment represents our point of power because that’s where we can take action to change. Spend ten minutes a day noticing if you’re in the past, present, or future. Wear a rubber band on your wrist and snap it to bring you back into the moment. Or set a timer every half hour to observe where your thoughts are.
Be Kind to Yourself
Practice self-kindness. Try not to be critical in your self-talk. Follow your heart. Practice healthy living. Be gentle with yourself as you work on removing your emotional clutter, and with time and practice you will put yourself on a path to living more fully.
—By Julie Seibert Coraccio ’91
Julie Seibert Coraccio ’91 is an award-winning professional organizer and lifestyle coach. Years ago, as a nanny, she left a client’s house without a fully stocked diaper bag, a misstep that she never repeated and that sparked a new career. In 2009 she started her business, Healing through Organization, based in Raleigh, North Carolina, where she lives with her husband, Tony. Coraccio is passionate about supporting people in helping them to remove clutter—both physical and emotional—so they can “share their gifts with the world.” You can listen to her weekly podcast, Clearing the Clutter Inside & Out, on iTunes and learn more at ReawakenYourBrilliance.com.
This article appeared in the spring 2016 issue of the Alumnae Quarterly.
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April 13, 2016