Despite its huge impact, emotional clutter is often overlooked and ignored. As difficult it is to believe, the various feelings that we hold on to actually affect us in more ways than one, which is why it’s incredibly important to be mindful of the things that our hearts and minds carry, whether we have deliberately chosen to do so or not.
The term “emotional clutter” refers to persistent negative thoughts that seem to run on autopilot. These are highly charged stressors that crowd out our brain, forcing us to think about them, even though we try our best not to, which ultimately drains our emotional energy and leaves us feeling exhausted.
Emotional clutter encompasses a wide variety of feelings, from personal grudges to constant anxieties and overreactions. These may seem insignificant in the grand scheme of things, but they actually have a massive impact on us and the relationships that we have with others.
With that, here are the three hidden dangers of holding on to emotional clutter.
1. It renders us too exhausted to pursue our passions
As previously mentioned, emotional clutter takes the form of many things, whether it be feelings that we have been holding on to for quite some time now or a never-ending to-do list that consists of all the things we have to do for work tomorrow. Despite our best efforts, we often find ourselves constantly thinking about these, running them through our minds as if they can be resolved or accomplished that way.
These thought loops consist of unimportant details and unfortunately, worrying about them renders us too exhausted to pursue the activities that leave us with genuine feelings of happiness and satisfaction. By letting distractions in and allowing administrative details to take over our lives, we inadvertently eliminate the chances of us doing what we’re meant to do, whether it be writing a novel or starting a new business.
2. It kills our productivity
Among the most well-known forms of emotional clutter is persistent worry, which is arguably one of the feelings that people tend to experience the most. Many mistakenly believe that obsessing over the potential things that could happen will allow them to have control over their future, avoiding consequences and reaping only the benefits. This, however, couldn’t be any further from the truth.
When our thought patterns are filled with worry, we become unable to see things clearly or from another perspective. This failure to consider other ways of looking at a problem kills our productivity levels; rather than creating innovative solutions, we instead become stuck on a single one, even if it isn’t the most effective option.
3. It sours our personal relationships
More often than not, emotional clutter takes the form of guilt and sees us constantly ruminating over the mistakes or choices that we’ve made in the past. We may find ourselves unable to sleep at night, thinking about the different options that we could have chosen or the things that we shouldn’t have ended up doing.
It may be impossible to forget about everything that we’ve experienced; however, being unable to let go of the past prevents us from living in the present. Not only is this a huge obstacle to grabbing opportunities that come by, but it also sours our personal relationships. After all, it’s hard to appreciate what you have now if you can’t move on from what has already happened.
Emotional clutter is incredibly dangerous, both for ourselves and for the relationships that we enjoy with the people around us. Because of this, it’s important to be aware of any thoughts or feelings that we’re having trouble letting go of so that we can be free to live our lives to the fullest.