Emotional Minimalism: Declutter Your Heart


Olivia Lucero

Emotional minimalism allows you to be intentional with your thoughts and the way you fill the space in your time and in your life. Right after a breakup, it can be tempting to distract yourself with too many commitments by drowning in work or outings. An overloaded schedule is an overwhelmed and neglected heart. However, we can often wobble between wanting to do everything to wanting to do nothing at all. If you’re experiencing the latter, what’s crowding and cluttering your heart might be emotions you can’t seem to process and overthinking the breakup. In both cases, we can help you create space in your schedule and life so that it can be filled by the right person or thing at the right time.

Here are some tips on how to declutter your heart:

Set Boundaries

Boundaries involve being firm about doing more of what makes your life better and less of makes your life worse. Boundaries take self-discipline. Examples of good boundaries include no contact with your ex, making sure you set aside a half hour every day for your hobby or Mend monument, and sleeping for 6-9 hours. Sometimes heartbreak makes you want to sleep for 12 hours, which is fine once or twice but making it a habit will make you feel lousy. Also, instead of overloading your schedule with work or social outings, say no sometimes. This creates space in your life by opening up your schedule.

On the contrast, if your heart is cluttered by spending too much time alone and constantly replaying the breakup over and over again, make sure you get out and socialize sometimes and find a hobby that channels your energy. This creates space by clearing out rumination and negative thought processes. The important thing is to have some alone time, but not too much alone time, and setting boundaries will help you find the right balance!


Once you’ve set boundaries, you've created intentional space in your life and heart. This space doesn’t need to be filled. Allow it to exist without clutter (distractions). To embrace emotional minimalism, be intentional about this alone time and let this space be whatever it needs to be. It will be filled with the right thing at the right time. At first, that might mean doing nothing, staring into space, taking a walk, doing your daily Mend training, reading, or taking a nap. It might be a different thing every day. You’ll know what you need to do when the time comes, but don’t think you need to do anything. This is your time to just simply be alone. Get in touch with you. Check in with yourself. Alone time is very important for mending. Creating this space allows it to be filled with the right person at the right time.


Many people listen to music or podcasts on the way to work, or during work, on the way home from work, and then watch television. Students walk around campus with their headphones on, then go to the gym with their headphones on, do homework with headphones on, and then come home and watch YouTube videos with their headphones on. We're very in touch with the outside world, but not very in touch with ourselves. So many of us feel the need to fill silence from the moment we wake up to the moment we go to bed because it has been ingrained in our society that it’s a waste of time or it is “awkward.”

When going through a breakup, it is important to check in with yourself, and that’s hard to do when you don’t have any time for silence. Declutter your mind by minimizing the distractions. It can definitely be uncomfortable at first. Start by walking to class without your headphones, turning off the radio on the way to work, or noticing the moments you already spend in silence, like maybe your morning routine. Silence always has a way of revealing what’s on our hearts. By learning to sit with silence occasionally during the day, it will be less daunting when all those thoughts you’ve been ignoring come flooding in when you try to go to sleep. Silence will also train you to choose which thoughts are welcome and which thoughts you need to send away because they will only cause you pain.

When you create a balance between silence and solitude vs. work and socializing, you will find that you feel more in touch with yourself and that you're better able to control your thoughts and how you spend your time. Emotional minimalism will definitely teach you to be more intentional about creating space to allow your heart to breathe and mend.

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