The concept of mental decluttering is drawn from principles of mindfulness, cognitive psychology and self-help practices. All these practices encourage individuals to observe their thoughts without judgement and let go of any unnecessary thoughts or ruminations by emphasising the importance of organising and prioritising thoughts to improve cognitive functioning and reduce stress. 

What is Mental Clutter?

Mental clutter is the accumulation of thoughts, worries, tasks, and distractions that fill our minds and contribute to feelings of stress and overwhelm. It impedes our ability to focus, make decisions, and experience inner peace. From a cognitive psychology standpoint, the brain’s limited processing capacity can become overloaded, leading to reduced cognitive function and an increased susceptibility to anxiety and mood disorders (Hart, Radua, Nakao, & Mataix-Cols, 2013).

What are the benefits of Mental Decluttering?

  1. Enhanced cognitive functioning by clearing mental space, allowing for improved concentration, problem solving and decision making. (Levy & Guttentag, 2010)
  2. Stress reduction by promoting relaxation through mindfulness and meditation. (Watkins, 2008)
  3. Mood improvement by replacing unease and anxiety with positive emotion and improved mood regulation.
  4. Enhanced creativity by creating more space and opportunities to engage in stimulating ideas and perspectives. (Kaufman & Gregorie, 2015)
  5. Increased self-awareness by encouraging self-reflection and introspection which leads to a deeper understanding of one’s own thoughts, emotions and motivations. (Sheldon & Lyubomirsky, 2006)

What strategies can be used?

  1. Mindfulness meditation helps  to focus on the present moment without judgement and letting go of unnecessary thoughts and worries. (Holzel et al, 2011)
  2. Journaling offers an opportunity for individuals to process their emotions by writing down their thoughts and feelings. It also enables one to identify patterns and gain insights into the areas that need decluttering. (Smyth, 1998)
  3. Prioritisation of tasks and responsibilities to prevent mental overload. (Tversky & Kahneman, 1974)
  4. Digital detox by limiting exposure to digital devices and social media in order to reduce information overload and promote mental clarity. (Wolniczak et al, 2013)

As one can see, mental decluttering isn’t merely about tidying up one’s thoughts, but it’s about fostering mental health and well being. By consciously engaging in practices that help us clear mental space, we can experience improved cognitive functioning, reduced stress, enhanced mood, and greater creativity. 

If you think that you can benefit from professional support on this issue you can reach out here.

Abigail Church is a Humanistic Integrative Counsellor who works with adults and children through counselling with Willingness. She can be contacted on or call us on 79291817. 


  1. Hart, H., Radua, J., Nakao, T., & Mataix-Cols, D. (2013). Meta-analysis of functional magnetic resonance imaging studies of inhibition and attention in attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder: Exploring task-specific, stimulant medication, and age effects. JAMA Psychiatry, 70(2), 185-198.
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