STYLE ARTICLE

spring cleaning

Three Surprising Ways to Spring Clean—Internally!

Get happier by doing these three simple cleansing tasks

Spring cleaning can conjure up feelings of dread and anxiety, or perhaps action and refreshment, but either way, you're probably thinking externally: clean out the closets, scrub down the refrigerator, de-slime all the places where unidentifiable goo has taken up residence over the winter. But what about inner spring cleaning? Here are three ways to get a fresh start internally.

1. Cull your friends list.

Be it scrolling through your phone's address book, your email box, or unfriending on facebook, you've got to start cleaning out your friendship list. You don't keep clothes that don't fit; nor should you keep friends that don't fit.

Research—and plenty of anecdotal evidence to boot—suggests that who you choose to surround yourself with influences your choices more than anything else. So delete negative Nancys, sabotage Sams, and underminer Urkels from your life to give the positive Pauls and Pollys more face time. Can't just kick fake-friends out of your life? Begin politely declining all their invitations. The slow fade is okay too.

2. Sleep more.

We know, sleep is this year's miracle drug: lose weight! get smarter! live longer! (all true, actually). But check this out: "Much of what we learn in a day, we don't really need to remember," Chiara Cirelli, of the Center for Sleep and Consciousness says. "If you've used up all the space, you can't learn more before you clean out the junk that is filling up your brain."

You can spring-clean your brain every single night simply by getting enough sleep, which allows your synapses to take a break—saving energy, space and material, and clearing away unnecessary "noise" from the previous day. Your fresh brain is then ready to learn again in the morning. 

3. Question your identity.

Intentionally or not, as a human, you're constantly growing and changing. But it's easy to get mired in your past—you've "always" been the party-planner, the office go-to guy, the fitness fanatic, whatever. It's important to spring-clean your identity too, by considering what old identities and labels no longer accurately describe you.

Allow yourself the emotional and mental room to create a new you, and let go of old labels and identities that used to work for you but aren't any more. This is an internal spring cleaning you should undertake often!

Like old clothes, refrigerator crumbs, and slime, internal things have a way of piling up too, seeming so small as to not be worth worrying about, until they are. A good dose of your inner spring cleaning should take care of those little things faster than you can whip out a scrub brush … and it might be less painful too!

Image: Some rights reserved by dok1

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