If your environment is cluttered and you are overweight, you might be wondering if there is an emotional connection. Perhaps, if you cure one, you cure both. Shopping and hoarding like eating and gaining might indicate that you are trying to self-soothe your stress. Whether you eat junk food or accumulate junk, the result is that you tend to feel guilty and ashamed. How can you invite someone in to see your inner chaos?
Here is how clutter can make you fat. For example, check out your fridge which once housed an exciting, impulsively hungry purchase of crisp, colorful healthy fruits and vegetables from a local farm stand and a huge container of low-fat Greek yogurt. However, now you hastily close the fridge door after you grab some milk for your coffee, offended by the sour smell and the science experiment actively growing there. You lack the motivation to clean it out – it has become overwhelming. Instead, you easily reach into the pantry for the processed, preserved foods with a real long shelf-life like, cookies, chips and candy bars, or head towards the odorless freezer for the ice-cream.
You take your stash to the living room to get distracted by TV. Your space looks like a thrift shop during year-end tax-deductions. Piles of dusty possessions sap your natural energy. Drawers are bulging with receipts, mail, unread magazines and loose photographs. The clothes in your closet still hang with price tags from a couple of years ago because you rotate three or four outfits. You are imprisoned, unaware that you can open the cage door any time you want.
Turn on the music and move it out. Music restores your rhythm.
The good news: as soon as you throw out the very first object of external clutter, you will feel lighter and lose that ravenous appetite to consume. Probably, the easiest place to start is with your fridge. Success breeds success. Then proceed to where your eyes are drawn; let your body lead you to it. The sequence doesn’t matter; the emotional association is more important. So you can go from the fridge to your closet or to your desk. The order you create will enable you to cope with the chaos of daily stress. When you can sit alone in your space without feeling lonely, you have de-cluttered, ready to invite others into your life.
Here are 3 concrete questions to help determine what to let go.
- Do you collect objects to show off who you are like books you never read or strange souvenirs from your travels, or do you really treasure your possessions? Throw away what you don’t love.
- Are you afraid to let go of the things you have inherited from family, living or dead, whom you have always wanted to please? Take photographs to remember these items like grandma’s piano in order to free up your space. Create your unique place in the world.
- Do your possessions symbolize who you are and wish to become? The hand sculpture holding a bar bell no longer reminds me of my essence. I gave it away.
Thoreau lamented that life is frittered away by detail and begged us to simplify. TODAY.
Debbie Mandel, MA is the author of Addicted to Stress: A Woman's 7 Step Program to Reclaim Joy and Spontaneity in Life
, Changing Habits: The Caregivers' Total Workout
and Turn On Your Inner Light: Fitness for Body, Mind and Soul,
a stress-reduction specialist, motivational speaker, a personal trainer and mind/body lecturer. She is the host of the weekly Turn On Your Inner Light Show on WGBB AM1240 in New York City , produces a weekly wellness newsletter, and has been featured on radio/ TV and print media. To learn more visit: www.turnonyourinnerlight.com