How to declutter a house

What does all the unused stored stuff in your house say about you? How might excess stuff be impacting you in negative ways causing you to feel frustrated about life? I undertook a 30 day declutter challenge to test my theory that a well-ordered uncluttered house makes for better living, better family dynamics, more happiness and personal peace. In this post I want to share what I learned with 3 tips on how to declutter a house in the most simple stress free way possible.

Why declutter?

First of all, lets be clear on why you might want to de-clutter . Clutter in your living space drains you of vital energy and mental clarity. It has often been said that ‘everything is energy’, and the physical contents in our living space is well-known to cause us to feel certain ways. If this were not the case, architects and designers would clearly be out of a job. We arrange our furniture and belongings in certain ways which are driven by our emotions. Emotions and feelings are a form of energy, and neuroscience states that we make pretty much ALL of our decisions in life based on our emotions rather than pure logic.

And speaking of science in relation to clutter, a study at Princeton University looked at people’s task performance in an organised versus disorganised environment. The results of the study found that clutter competes for our attention and results in decreased performance and an increase in stress.

Clutter study at UCLA

Another study at UCLA observed 32 families and found that all of the mothers stress hormones spiked during the time they spent dealing with their belongings .

Well, I’m a mother and I can completely relate to this!

Not only will de-cluttering your house feel better, but you will save money (or make money) as well as save time when it comes to your belongings. You will find things that you’d forgotten about and be able to sell items you have no use for anymore but are still in good condition. You will also have a much clearer idea of what things you have so you are not buying the same things again thus wasting money, as well as  take stock of what is most important to you in relation to how you spend your time and money and you will be better at making decisions when it comes to living with more flow in your life.

So, whether you believe in the age-old practice of Feng Shui, or just want order in your house to feel better, either way, where do you start?

Tip #1 Take stock of all the areas in your house you want to de-clutter.

Each day for 30 days, you will take some time to de-clutter a small area of your house. Get a blank piece of paper and write down 30 areas you want to de-clutter. Decide how long you will spend each day de-cluttering each area. For me, I decided I would take 15-30 minutes. I’d recommend a shorter amount of time rather than a longer amount because you want to make it feel achievable each day. For example, one day of de-cluttering could be as simple as emptying the contents of a single draw.

Tip #2 Decide where your temporary clutter storage area is.

In addition to your list of 30 areas to de-clutter, decide which area of the house you will move the clutter to where you will separate the belongings into different piles such as ‘donate’,’sell’or ‘discard’. As you go along, you don’t have to decide right away what you will do with the items and feel as if you need to take action that day to get them out of your possession immediately-you just have to decide what the items are and move them to the designated area where at the end of the 30 days, you can begin to take action to move them out of your house permanently.

Tip #3 How to decide what will go out.

  • As you go through your belongings, the key questions to ask yourself are:
  • Do you love it?
  • Does it spark joy in some way in your life?
  • Do you use it?
  • When was the last time you used it?
  • Have you been keeping it for a ‘just in case’ scenario which has run the course of years?
  • Do you have more than one of these items?
  • When are you likely to use it next?

If you can’t quite answer these questions, it might be a clear indication that the item has to go.

Here is a list of things that moved out of my house:

  • kids toys
  • clothes
  • shoes
  • linnen
  • furniture
  • expired food packets
  • kitchen appliances
  • recipe books
  • other books
  • gas bottles
  • electronic goods
  • a bike
  • cookware
  • old paint tins
  • old chemical cleaners
  • sheet music
  • old broken tools
  • DVD’s
  • gaming consoles
  • baby items (prams, cot)
  • old Mattresses
  • Pet accessories

As I was going through my 4 year old daughters things, she naturally wanted to hold onto a lot toys she no longer plays with. I took her to the donation store near us and showed her the toy area. She quickly found things that she wanted immediately. I said to her ‘well, in order to get a new toy, you have to donate a toy’. She quickly agreed, and now she has toys that are much more relevant to her age and ones she actually plays with (and ones that really only cost me a few dollars to buy because they were all second hand). The next day she took one of her new second hand toys to kindergarten and did a ‘show and tell’ in front of her class. She proudly announced the way she got this toy was to donate another of her toys. Needless to say, I was proud of her. I think it is important to teach kids about giving and receiving, as well as finding use in used things as this is more sustainable for the environment, rather than always buying something new.

My results

I can confidently say that our household feels more at ease and peaceful. I feel like I have released old energy that was just pent-up and stagnating and was frustrating me. I also feel this 30 day de-clutter challenge has helped me be a better decision maker and more mentally switched on. It occurred to me that there are several areas of my life and thinking that were…sloppy. It is not that we were living like slobs or anything, but many things around the place were being held on for no logical reason other than ‘we might need it’, or ‘I’ll get back to that hobby or creative project sometime’, of which has not happened in years.

I also feel the family dynamics are more restful and enjoyable, and I am excited to see how the energy within the environment will continue to shift and change into the future. I also feel that because old things are being cleared out, it is making room for more creativity and ideas around ways to add to our environment which support productivity as well as more enjoyment, and more sustainable lifestyle ideas are revealing themselves.

Have you ever done a big de-clutter of your house? If so, how did it make you feel? If not, what is holding you back? Do you feel that breaking down the task over 30 days is a good way to approach it? Feel free to comment below and let me know!

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QIGONG FOR MORE ENERGY

Qigong For More Energy

This qigong routine will help free up your lateral spine, increases hip flexibility, warms your body, increases lung, kidney and liver qi and connects you back to the earth and the present moment.

It helps with:

Back problems, adrenal fatigue, low energy, low motivation, releasing anger, fear and general stagnation and  helps with increasing awareness of your bodies natural energy flow and improves your immune system.

The 20 minute routine:

Exercises:

  1. The Pump
  2. Dogs Wags Its Tail
  3. Picking Cherries
  4. The Pendulum
  5. Moving Like A River
  6. Full Body Flow
  7. Tree Swaying
  8. Teacups
  9. Pebble In The Pond
  10. Bamboo In The Wind

Did you enjoy this routine? Feel free to comment below and let me know!

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Qigong Body Tapping

Qigong Body Tapping

The aim of Qigong body tapping is to awaken doormant lying energy within your body. In any given qigong routine there is a loose structure that begins with a warm up, an activation and then a flow. The activation section of the routine is needed before flowing movements because it is bringing up more energy to be able to circulate throughout the body in the flow section.

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3 techniques for more happiness

3 Effective Practices For More Happiness

3 techniques for happinessIf you often feel you have somehow missed out on the happiness gene, you may want to try some of the below techniques to enhance your over all wellbeing. We are meant to be happy at our core-we were born that way, but somewhere along the line we got in our own way or had negative experiences and started interpreting life in ways that lead to us feeling less than happy.

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Law of attraction tips

Law Of Attraction Tips

I am an avid follower of the teachings of Abraham and the Law Of Attraction. I have been for years. However, despite a lot of listening of the various YouTube clips as well as seeing Abraham Hicks at a seminar on two different occasions, it has only really been recently that I am really beginning to ‘get it’. This post will explore some law of attraction tips that I feel are the key points for any person who wants to live by this philosophy so as to feel more flow in their life and have more experiences that are wanted rather than unwanted.

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Nature Health Connection

Nature Health Connection

How can spending time in nature on a regular basis help your health? And how does our obsession with technoloy affect our health and wellbeing? Our addiction to screens is an increasing fact of life. In fact, even just today I was reading that successful tech venture capitalist and former Google and Microsoft executive Kai-Fu Lee thinks in the future there will be such a thing as Virtual Reality Anonymous, just like Alcoholics Anonymous. For all the positive aspects of technology, there is also a dark side to it.The amount of time we spend in front of a computer screen without a balance of other elements in our life is becoming a new health epidemic that is on the rise. Regardless of all our technological change, the nature health connection will not change. We need to be in touch with nature in order to fully thrive.

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Qigong Inner Smile

Qigong Inner Smile

The Qigong inner smile technique was developed a few thousand years ago to aid in healing the body and bringing about more happiness and inner peace.The inner smile was a cornerstone meditation for preventative health. It helps to tranform emotional stress before it manifests physically in your body.  When you smile, 80 muscles in your face are activated and it sends a message to the body that you must be in a good mood and you must relax. It shifts your nervous system from the sympathetic to the parasympathetic which is assocated with the ‘rest and digest’ response in the body. This therefore enhannces your immune system.

Laugther therapy

In more modern times smiling and laughter therapy was popularised by pioneer Norman Cousins who wrote a number of best selling books on health and healing. These books explored the relationship of the body, mind and the emotions and their effect on biochemistry. The qigong inner smile is similar to what Cousins believed to be true, but takes the idea further in the way it advocates developing this smile more from an inward place rather than being stimulated by an external  factor. This way it comes from an intrinsic place and therefore more reliable than from an extrinsic place which is dependent on conditions.

Qigong inner smileThere are two forms of healing.

In chinese medicine it is said there are two ways to heal. You can heal through pain, surgery, chemotherapy, pharmaceuticals. Or, there is healing through pleasure, massage therapy, Qigong, smiling, doing things that you like, laughter, group therapy such as being around good friends. Baiscally, things that generally feel good to the body and mind and emotions. The inner smile is part of healing through pleasure.

The doll maker-a Taoist tale

There is a famous story in China called ‘The Doll Maker”, and this doll maker was the most reverered doll maker in all of China. Everyone wanted his dolls and noone could understand the secret as to why his dolls were so popular compared to other doll makers.

When the day came that this famous doll maker was lying on his death bed, one of his apprentices was at his bedside and asked “Please master, can you tell me the secret as to why your dolls are so good?” The doll maker asked him to bring him one of his students dolls. He took the doll and he very subtly lifted the corners of the dolls mouth into a slight smile.  Then he passed away.  Then that student went on to became the doll master.

Qigong inner smileA serious business of not being serious

The Taoists say “We have a serious business of not being too serious”. When we are too serious, our body reacts by going into contraction. Muscles tighten up, blood flow is restricted and the organs don’t function as effectively as they could. When we can create some lightness and perspective, we can let go of our past more easily and be in the present moment more. This gives us more power to go into the future with lighter energy and therefore allow us to be more productive and happy in our life.

Studies on smiling.

TED Talk: The hidden power of smiling

Some researches did a study where they looked at 1950’s baseball players photos, and they compared the players who were smiling in the picture, to those who were not smiling. They were curious to see if there was any correlation between those who were smiling and logevity, which most of the researches thought there would be no correlation what so ever. But, the results revealed there was a tremendous correlation between those who were smiling in terms of how long they lived and the quality of their life. The players who were smiling lived on average 6.7 years longer than those who were not smiling. The is a big statistical variable in science.

More research was done at the University of California Berkeley and Michigan where they looked at year book photos and tried to determine life success such as finances, relationships and other markers. The results concluded that they could predict life success based on whether or not people were smiling or not smiling in their photo.

Qigong Inner SmileThe biochemistry of smiling.

When you smile, endorphins are released, and one study aimed to find out how many endorpins were released that was comparable to experiencing a financial windful. It was concluded that in order to get the same amount of endorphin rush as a genuine smile can give you, you would need to suddenly come into an unexpected $40,000!

Listen to this tallk about these studies here.

Try this experiment now

Lift your eyebrows as if you are surprised, and look up. Now try and be in a bad mood as you are doing it. Can you feel genuinly mad or sad as you are doing this? Probably not right? Want to know why? Because you have just activated a flurry of feel good hormones in your body that affect your brain chemistry. Sounds too simple, I know, but it works though. Practice this regularly and it will become a habit within your body and over time your default grumpy moods can shift into something more postiive and productive. So, once again, the ancients knew something that we in the west are only just starting to figure out with scientific evidence now. By practicing the inner smile every day, you teach your body and mind to be more at ease, to notice what is right in your life rather than what is wrong. You help your body balance its hormones better as well as improve your immune system. You cultivate kindness and compassion towards yourself and others and the over all result is an improved quality of life. Who doesn’t want that?

Try the qigong inner smile mediation (script below video)

Sit in a relaxed comfortable way with your back straight. Keeping your eyes open,  lift your eye brows up to brighten and lighten the face and bring a smile to your lips, and then let your whole face relax and close down your eyes. Bring focus to your breath. Slow down the breath with a long inhale and long exhale. Relaxing through the shoulders, arms, hands. Bring relaxation to your hips and legs and into the feet. Relax your tongue  and let go of your jaw. Breathing normally now, just observe your breath going in and out.

Introduce a subtle smile

Feel the corners of your eyes and corners or your mouth very gently lift into a smile. It is a subtle smile-nothing that is forced, but just feel a sense of lightness come over your face. Have an inner intention of bringing lightness into your body mind and soul, as well as all the organs in your body. When we have pure intention, we are giving information to the body which happens through your body posture and your facial expressions and therefore brings a biochemical change within your body which activates the healing response.

Take some long slow deep breaths. Breath into your lower belly and feel your rib cage expand. Have a little pause at the top of the breath, then let the breath go naturally as your belly moves back towards your spine and your rib cage contracts. Try not to force the breath into something that feels unnatural. Be easy with the breath.

Where are you in your body?

Bring some attentiveness to the body by feeling where it is. Be aware of your level of comfort or discomfort without trying to change anything. Feel where your body connects to the surface that you are sitting on. Notice your feet connecting to the floor and your back straight. Relax through your hands with them resting on your lap and feel the breath coming in and out through your nose. Posture and breath influence your emotional state, so if you feel you could make some adjustments to your posture to enhance the energy flow through your body, do so now.

Notiice the sounds in the room. Notice the light behind your closed eyes. Giving your whole self to this moment in time and being aware of where you are in an emotional and physical sense. Notice any smells or sense of taste in your mouth. Just observing without feeling like anything needs to change right now. Observing your five senses offers you a doorway into the present moment, when you pay attention without thinking.

Imagine golden light

Imagine a beautiful golden light on the horizon that is coming from a sunset, and imagine it is shining on your face. You can even notice one partiuclar ray of sun shining on your face-your own connection to the universe. See this ray of sunshine hitting your face and how it very subtly lifts the corners of your mouth into a warm smile. This smiling energy reminds us to bring lightness into our perceptions of our life and that when we embrace this lightness our life can flow with more ease. Feel connection to the universe where light comes to you, and your own inner light shines back out.

Smile into the heart

Turn your awareness inwards and begin to allow this golden light shine into your heart, and bring smiling energy into your heart centre. Smiling is the practice of gratitiude. When you are in the state of gratitude there is a state of inner smiling that is happneing automatically. So, you don’t have to keep the smile physically on your face, but just cultivate that inner state of smiling-that ease and easy flow of energy that feels light within. Feel a sense of appreciation and compassion for yourself and others using the smiling energy to power the lightness in your heart. Imagine your heart like a red rose blossoming into sunlight and beaming red hues of light from your heart to the rest of your body and beyond. When you shine light inwards there is a blossoming of positive energy that unfolds from within. This red light represents love and compassion.

Pick up the smiling energy

Anytime you feel you need more smiling energy into your body, lift your eye brows and imagine more golden light coming into your body from absorbing it through the face and into the head and down into the body. Then, when you feel you have gathered enough, gently relax the eyebrows down again and continue to breath slowly and deeply. Smile to the heart and bring healing energy to it. When we smile inwardly it is a way of bring appreciation for all the work your body does without you having to think about it. The heart beats 100,000 times a day and brings blood to 3000 miles of arteries. Thank the heart for all it does, and in return, the heart moves with more efficiency. The heart beats with more effortless energy.

Smile into the lungs

Now bring that smiling energy into the lungs on the left and right sides of the heart. Breath golden light into your face, direct that golden light down into your lungs. Sending postiive healing energy to the lungs, and just breath a little bit slower and a little bit deeper. Sending gratitide and appreciation for all the work the lungs do. Breathing 24 hours a day-taking in energy, keeping you connected between your inner body and your external environment.

As you smile into the lungs, imagine sunlight shining into white flowers. White is the healing colour of the lungs. As the golden light travels down into your lungs they light up with a brilliant pearly white colour and radiate the colour from your lungs to the rest of your body.  Smile to the lungs. Let your breath be slow deep and full.

Smile into the liver

Smile now to your liver.  Raise your eyebrows and draw more smiling energy in, then settle them back down slowly and relaxing into the liver, on the right side of your rib cage. Feel the lightness of the smiling energy into the liver. The liver is connected to kindness and generosity and when you smile into the liver it helps to bring about feelings of abundance in your life and that there is enough for you and that we can share what we have. The liver is assoicated with bright green light. As the golden light travels down into your body, feel it transform into bright green light in the liver and radiate out througbout your body, like sunshine shining through the forest. Bring this quality of energy to your liver-cultivating healing energy. Your body is the sacred temple that holds your spirit and your life force. Going through each of the organis is a way to cleanse and purify the internal energy, so that your spirit or best energy shines forth.

Your liver does over 500 different functions for your body, from digestion to detoxification-your liver does this all without you having to consciously think about it. It is all an automatic process. Send some gratitiiude and appreciation to the liver. Smile to the liver.

Smile into the spleen

Bringing your attention over to the left side of your rib cage where the spleen is. Bring shining light into this area and see it transform into a brilliant yellow, and radiate throughout the rest of your body directly from the spleen, like sunlight shining into a yellow flower. Send postive smiling energy into the spleen and the stomach which rule and control digestion. Smile healing light into the stomach and spleen as you continue to breath deeply and slowly. Feel the warmth from the sun relax into this area, and if you need to, gently lift your eyebrows again and bring more golden light in through your face and feel the golden light seep down into your spleen and stomach and transofrm into yellow light. Once again relax your eyebrows and sink more into your breath.

The positive emotions associated with the stomach and spleen is inner balance and harmony- a sense that we are grounded and feel connected to our centre. Smile to the stomach and the spleen.

Smile into the kidneys

Now direct smiling energy to your kidneys, which are at the back of the abdomen, just above your lower back on each side of your body. The kidneys are associated with blue light, like sunlight shining on blue flowers, that blossom into the light. Feel the universe shining positive energy onto you and through you. Slow your breath down with your intention to bring healing light within these organ systems. Smile to your kidneys-sun light shining on the surface of brillant blue water. The postiive emotions associated with the kidneys is inner peace and tranqulity- a sense of stillness and deep vitality that is calm.

Now, anywhere in your body where you might be feeling tension or pain or other problems, smile to those areas. Smile with your presence and self compassion. Ask for healing light to enter into these areas of your body to bring about regeneration wellness.

Smile into the whole body

Now smile to your whole self. Bring the radiant energy from the top of your head to the bottom of your feet, to the tips of the fingers.  Feel a sense of wholness and integration. Experience yourself as one energy. Sense the integrated intelligent energy system throughout your body and around it. Take a long slow breath and bring your hands over your lower belly and centre and inhale the energy into this area. Feel all this energy in your centre underneath your hands. Focus your mind on your lower belly and allow your attention to be one pointed here-imagining swirling revived energy in this energy centre. Start to make a little circle with your hands here to centre the energy more. When you are ready, open your eyes and stretch.

Journal about your experience

Take some time after this meditation to write down your throughts and reflections on your experience with it. Perhaps some realisations came to mind as you were doing the meditation which affects how you conduct certain parts of your life from here on. How did your body feel as you smiled into each organ? What sensations did you notice? Keeping a meditation journal is a great way to bring about more self awareness from your meditation practice and cultivate a deeper knowledge of yourself and how you navigate your life.

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Qigong Standing Postures Feature

Qigong Standing Postures

There are five basic Qigong standing postures that you will come across sooner or later in your Qigong practice. For a beginner, these practices can seem boring at first and may leave your questioning what their benefits are. They are also challenging and can feel uncomfortable not just for your body, but for your mind too. However, once you understand and feel their power you will know why Qigong masters practice them all the time. The postures are best performed after an activation and flow routine, of which you could start here with, then move onto the postures below.

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Lungs

Qigong and Bronchitis

When considering the relationship between Qigong and bronchitis and how the practice of Qigong can help relieve bronchitis, we need to think about what bronchitis actually is from a Chinese medicine (TCM) perspective. This post will examine the relationship between the organs associated with the lungs, as well as the habitual emotional patterns around the lungs. A Qigong lung routine will be given at the end of the post in both written and video form.

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yin and yang

Qigong Health Benefits

There are numerous Qigong health benefits that have a direct physical and emotional impact. It is an exercise that is highly underated in the world of exercise and fitness because on first appearance it is something that looks too simple. It is easy to practice, is graceful and can be done in almost any kind of clothing and does not need a lot of space.

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