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Unclutter Your Mind by Acting Like a Child

`Do you remember being a child, when so much was new?  As a child, faced with new experiences throughout your day, you were much more likely to notice detail and richness in ordinary experiences.

A child can spend hours splashing in the water in a sink.  This is because the child approaches the water coming from the faucet as a beginner.  The water is interesting and miraculous.  In this case, the child doesn’t approach the water as if it already knows everything interesting about it.  It approaches the water as a beginner, as if there is so much to discover.

As we age and gain experience, we so often lose our sense of wonder at how the world operates and in losing our wonder, we lose our ability to see the richness of any ordinary situation.

Try This: Beginners Mind

  • Cultivate your beginners mind as a daily life experiment.  Try to approach a problem at work with fresh eyes.  Imagine you’d never encountered this problem before and explore it in all its detail.
  • Do the same with daily experiences, such as dinner-time or while in a conversation with a friend or spouse.  Look at the interaction with new eyes.  Search for details that you’d previously ignored because the situation is so familiar.  Notice how people look, their tone of voice, how they respond to you and their body language.
  • When you look with beginners eyes, what do you see, that you previously overlooked?
  • As you do this exercise in daily life, do you find your mind clearing of expectations, judgments and mental clutter?  To see and investigate what is in front of you, you must approach without preconceived ideas.

You can find more strategies to improve how you feel in my new book, The Stress Response and by clicking here to sign up for more of my tips and here for podcasts using DBT strategies to improve how you feel.

Child at sink photo available from Shutterstock.

Unclutter Your Mind by Acting Like a Child

Christy Matta, MA

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APA Reference
Matta, C. (2012). Unclutter Your Mind by Acting Like a Child. Psych Central. Retrieved on October 23, 2020, from


Last updated: 9 Jun 2012
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