Springtime can bring a certain inclination to clean out and freshen up our homes, ready for sunnier days.
But once we have cleared out all the dust, the clutter, any broken & unwanted items, the result is not just practical - our newly clean, tidy and ordered space has a profound effect on how we feel. We feel lighter, energised, more focussed, more inspired.
So using the springtime to dust off our emotional lives can be immensely powerful.
PART ONE - WHY?
So, why is it helpful to spring clean our emotional lives?
The mind-body connection
There is now a great deal of research evidence into the connection between our minds and bodies. Think of the radiant glow we get when we fall in love, or the physical problems that can accompany grief, loss and stress.
It is common to hold onto old resentments or to have unexpressed anger, grief or trauma. Or to be holding on to old ideas of who we are and what we should do, shaped by our childhood or expectations of family, friends, peers, culture. These stored and unexpressed emotions can bring about issues in particular parts of the body (for example, perfectionism can now be linked to migraines, rigidity in our approach to life can exacerbate arthritis, skin conditions can be related to boundary issues etc). In order to stay healthy and happy it is therefore important to express and release these emotions.
Weight gain & fat
Fascinating scientific research into “molecules of emotion” is now showing that we hold and store both toxic substances and toxic emotions in our fat cells. Have you ever been in a stressful situation and find that you just can’t lose weight, particularly around the tummy? And as soon as you are out of the relationship / terrible job / noisy flat etc the weight just falls off.
So finding ways to release negative emotions is really helpful if you want to get rid of any stubborn weight.
There is a lot of current research going on in psychology and neuroscience into the concept of “Bandwidth”. This is the capacity - or usable space - we have in our brains to focus, make sense of information, have ideas and insights, make decisions, take on new projects or activities, manage the unexpected etc.
To be productive and happy we need to feel that we have the bandwidth to take on all the things important to us in life. But most of us are multi-tasking too much. Juggling work, family and a host of other demands takes up more bandwidth than we can cope with, and we end up overloaded - where often even the simplest of tasks and decisions become totally overwhelming and we feel we cant cope. Even the things we love can become chores (ever felt too exhausted to go to a good friend’s party?) This can also manifest itself physically in issues such as adrenal exhaustion (particularly common in professional women trying to do too much!)
To avoid this overload, it is essential that we pull back a little and simplify our lives - and clear some space in our bandwidth to be able to be fully effective - and to take on the activities we love and enjoy them.