After finishing Unf*ck Yourself, I did what many readers do and look for more books to read. I find that similar books help commit what I want to learn. One of the books that popped up was S.J. Scott & Barrie Davenport’s book Declutter Your Mind. I figured I would give it a go, considering July is all about mindfulness and loving ourselves. One thing often stands in the way of my own journey of love, and that’s the clutter that takes up space in my mind.
This book seemed like the perfect follow up to Bishop’s book since I still had some clutter holding me back. I wanted to get some new techniques, ideas, and perspectives to removing the clutter that prevents me from fully loving myself.
Note: I was not compensated to review this book, I am sharing my thoughts as it might help readers on their journeys. All links are unaffiliated and I receive no monetary benefit
Title: Declutter Your Mind: How to Stop Worrying, Relieve Anxiety, and Eliminate Negative Thinking
Author: S.J. Scott & Barrie Davenport
Date Published: 2016
Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform
Genre: Non-Fiction, Self-Help
A rather quick read, Declutter Your Mind, guides the reader through how thoughts impact our emotions and actions. Just like we need to clean out physical objects from our lives to help gain focus, so do we need to clean out mental thoughts that take up unnecessary space.
The authors discuss their personal experiences, stories, and actions that helped bring their own mental clutter under control. Interspersed are studies and widely-accepted techniques that they used and suggest to help the reader gain the same sense of control over their clutter. They even include current apps available to help the reader gain some control and organization at their fingertips.
Stress is a source of clutter, as are too many choices, too much stuff, and how we skew towards the negativity bias. Scott and Davenport touch upon these four topics in the book, and some of their personal suggestions for how to resolve these matters and bring our minds into a more harmonious alignment.
For example: what needs to happen, is bringing our internal thoughts out of our heads and put it to paper (or online) as a means of letting it go. Instead of keeping lists, tasks, and goals in your head, try putting them someplace on the outside so you no longer “forget” about it. Scott and Davenport talk about the S.M.A.R.T. way of goal-setting as one of these techniques.
Thoughts and Recommendation
Overall, I found that Scott and Davenport aren’t saying anything new, at least for me. I’ve done a lot of reading around the subject of refocusing your mind, working through negative thinking, and finding ways to be more efficient in my daily life. This is in part because of my self-improvement journey and in part that MS forced me to find a way to make changes.
Honestly, I was rather bored reading through the book. While it was a quick read, I still had to slog through it. I probably would have dropped it altogether if I didn’t want to write a review for the blog.
There’s potential to make the subject matter interesting, in fact, John Gary Bishop does in his book when he says a lot of the same stuff, so I do feel some of the boredom came from how the book was written. It felt rather rushed, mainly because each point was discussed on a superficial level. I appreciated the anecdotes, the use of studies, and details provided, but it wasn’t presented in a compelling way.
This does not make it a bad self-help book, it makes it mediocre. That said, if you are looking for a gentle, easy introduction to reorganizing your thoughts (Bishop’s book might be too brash), then this would be a good place to start. But I believe this book belongs as a starting point, do not pick it up if you are farther along in your own wellness journey unless you would like a refresher. You probably read/heard all that they discuss before.
It is important to note that they published this book through Amazon’s self-publishing house. I have no issues with self-publishing, but self-publishing does carry its own set of connotations. What I mean is this: it does not read as it went through a committee like traditional publishing. I believe many of my stated issues would have been avoided had it been published in the traditional manner.
My recommendation is this: if you are looking for a superficial introduction to removing mental clutter, check out this book. If you are a bit farther in your wellness journey and already have some techniques you use to declutter your mind, look elsewhere.
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