Use Mind Mapping to Declutter Your Brain
So what the heck is MIND MAPPING? I've always considered myself to be a very good planner and have lived with a planner on my hip for many years. Because of this, I always thought my mind was perfectly on course, but then this popped up that caught my attention.
What is Mind Mapping?
I define it as a tool for decluttering your brain. Some people would describe its function as more of a brainstorming or organizing tool. Really though, it’s both. It’s a highly effective method for getting thoughts onto paper in a way that makes sense for you.
Because the fine details of your mind mapping process and results are always unique, it’s pretty much universally helpful, whatever your personality type.
The amazing thing about mind mapping is that it uses both the creative and the logical sides of your brain, and brings them into harmony!
How do you Mind Map?
Let’s assume we’re starting on paper. I think it’s best to start there to get a feel for the flow of mind mapping without having to mess around with (or get distracted by!) technology.
Here’s a close-up of one of the branches in the wellness map that I made months ago in my bullet journal, and keep referring back to. (I highlight what I’m currently working on, then check it off when it’s done. You can see which item I’ve left until very last, ha!)
The most important thing is that if you have a thought in your mind related to your topic, be sure to write it down somewhere in the map so that it’s not crowding your mind anymore.
Every mind map is unique, but each one starts in the center, and radiates out like the branches of a tree. If you feel like you have more than one central topic on your mind, feel free to do more than one map!
Oftentimes, though, I find that when I get everything down on paper, I see things connecting that I hadn’t realized before.
For example: I mind mapped on the topic of “diet” and then I mind mapped on the topic of “home organization + routine”.
I subsequently realized that both of those topics, for me, fall under the umbrella of “overall wellness” because they contribute to a calm/peaceful mind, and a strong body – both of which are major components of my overall sense of wellness. And, there are other topics that I’d place under “wellness” too, so a new mind map with “wellness” at the centre was super helpful to me.
As you create your mind map, the left and the right hemispheres of your brain are working in tandem. A 20th century scientific researcher named Roger Sperry (who later won a nobel prize for his neuroscience work) became famous for his research on the “left brain” and “right brain” concept.
Mind mapping uses a wide spectrum of brain functions, from both the left and right sides, including emotion management, imagination, lines and color, logic, memory, listing and numbers, words/expression, big picture thinking, and future planning.
Because of this, mind mapping is excellent exercise for the brain – a great bonus to an already helpful activity.
To amp up the effectiveness of your mind map, you can add illustrations. You don’t have to be an artist – any rudimentary sketch will do to assist your brain in mapping and in re-reading, later.
A coffee cup next to your “quit caffeine” bubble, or a stick figure next to the “yoga” bubble? Maybe a TV next to the “limit television” bubble. No need to go crazy with these if it ends up being more of a distraction than a help.
Whatever your style, getting your thoughts out onto paper in a non-linear free-style fashion will help declutter your brain so you can think more clearly.
This is the power of mind mapping: plotting out a framework on which to hang your thoughts. Just like the power of tidying and decluttering your house, mind mapping feels incredibly satisfying and freeing.
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