Our columnist and comedian, Zahra Barri urges us that true zen comes from decluttering our minds, not our homes.
The popularity of the Netflix show, ‘Marie Kondo: Tidying Up’ has caused a sudden influx of people clutching hold of their possessions and asking themselves ‘does this bring me joy?’ If it does, Kondo advises us to keep it, if it doesn’t then she urges us to throw it out. I ‘Marie Kondo’ed’ my underwear drawer the other day and now the only thing in it is my vibrator. She’s right, it does feel good.
The show is rapidly turning into a cultural phenomenon; it had bigger ratings than Birdbox. (FYI- if you watch Birdbox whilst doing the Birdbox challenge its actually a lot better movie). It doesn’t surprise me that Kondo’s home improvement show is such a success. Downsizing is always a ratings winner. I’m a woman, so I’m constantly trying to take up less space. Marie Kondo urges us to live minimistically. It’s a lot easier for her though, she is the size of a pea. Maybe it’ll be easier when I’m in my sixties when society deems me invisible.
If you read her book which accompanies the series, in the decluttering your books section she even tells you to get rid of her very own book once you have finished with it. Kondo is so ‘meta’.
There is something to be said for decluttering (is it bad that my auto correct changes that word to ‘declittering’? It must be privy to my underwear drawer). But what if we go further than our homes, Marie Kondo? What if we take what we have learnt from Marie Kondo about getting rid of things that don’t cause us joy and applied the same thought process to our minds?
Zahra Barri’s Guide To Decluttering Your Mind:
Firstly, Netflix, if you’re reading this, a show about mental health is like a totally ‘woke’ idea because talking about mental health is bang on trend maintenent. (so is dotting one’s prose with a random French word every so often). Years ago, talking about mental health was a big taboo and it would be met with awkwardness and embarrassment. Now its embraced and popular. Having depression now is ironically a lot less depressing than having it ten years ago. Its thanks to millennial’s being such blooming snowflakes that mental health awareness is so actively encouraged. I know this because I once talked about my mental health onstage to an audience of vegans in Dalston and I got what comedian Bill Burr refers to in the comedy industry as ‘clapter’. Clapter is when you say a thing on stage and you receive applause in place of the laughter. For example if you say:
“It’s so good we have made abortion legal in Ireland’ You will get: Clapter
or if you say ‘I think we should all love each other equally’ You will get: Clapter
or ‘Donald trump is a total douche bag’ You will get: Clapter
Note: location is key, what works in Brighton might not necessarily work in Hull.
So, in my Netflix show I attempt to improve everybody’s mental health by helping people declutter their minds.
Like Kondo I encourage people to only keep things in their heads that bring you joy. I actively encourage you to:
Throw Out: Social Media:
I don’t know about you but going on social media too much causes me major anxiety and depression. This is because everyone has such nice lives and I get WELL JEL. This is why I make sure that I only follow people with a crapper life than mine. Or if I do follow someone that causes me the green eye, I just mute them (Instagram and Twitter) or Unfollow Them But Still Stay Friends (Facebook).
One day I sat and unfollowed all my friends on Facebook. This isn’t because I hate everyone but because I found that knowing what people were doing too much was cluttering my mind. Having random facts about random people in my brain was discombobulating. For example, before unfollowing I would be walking round my flat thinking things like, ‘I hope that random girl that I met in the toilets at Oceana in 2008 is enjoying her hen do’. I also found that when I would meet up with friends, I would know all their news already and when they told me in person I found myself faking that I didn’t already know all their news already. Still, at least it meant I finally got to use my BA Hons degree in Acting.
What I don’t like about social media is that it brings us up only to bring us down. For example, it gives you validation with likes and retweets but it also makes you feel like you’re nothing because you are less influential to the younger generation of girls than The Kardashians.
If you want to determine your worth post an Instagram Story. Then subtract the total views of the last page of your Instagram Story from the number of views of the first page of your Instagram story and then divide that by the number of pages of your Instagram story. Today I’m a -4 (and I want to cry).
But remember social media isn’t all doom and gloom. It can have it’s positive sides. For example, before social media existed how did anyone ever achieve anything? 99% of my career progression in comedy is a direct result of reacting to what other comics are doing on social media and thinking, ‘Balls. I better do that.’
Just ask yourselves what aspects of it bring you joy and mute the other stuff.
Throw Out Negative People:
If someone in your life isn’t bringing you joy then stop hanging out with them. There’s a saying that goes, ‘If you’re the most smartest person in the room then you’re in the wrong room’. As a result I’ve stopped babysitting my 4 month old niece. My goodness, boy is she dumb! (Only joking-SHE BRINGS ME SO MUCH JOY, SHOUT OUT TO BABY THEA).
The same can be said for people that you find toxic. If you’re in a room with people that don’t make you happy then you’re in the wrong room. Get out. I mean unless you’re in prison in which case there’s not much you can do about that. Soz babes.
In all seriousness though, motivational speaker Jim Rohn said, that ‘you’re the average of the five people you spend the most time with’. Make sure those people are like PROPER DAMN COOL. Trash the ones that leave you joyless.
Throw Out: Negative Thoughts
Meditation is good for distilling the noise or clutter inside your brain. Don’t worry you don’t have to sit cross legged, humming whilst imitating a weird hybrid of Russell Brand and the Dalai Lama. Meditation is basically the art of not thinking. I do this by watching reality TV shows. I find they really help turn off my brain.
Throw Out: The News:
The news is very depressing and I watch CBBC Newsround. I can’t imagine how depressing the proper news is. Alain De Botton, modern day philosopher (he’s like a poor man’s Ekhart Tole) and School Of Life founder explains that most of the news stories presented to us by the agenda led media- we don’t actually need to know about. Ignorance really is bliss. So turn off Fox News (its very similar to CBBC Newsround I find because its made accessible to people with the mental capacity of 8-10 years) and meditate* instead.
*Switch on Channel 4 On Demand, ‘Married at First Sight’. (OMG SO OBSESSED).
So that’s my guide to decluttering your mind. Its all about being mindful, not mindFULL. Finally, not to get all ‘meta’ on you, but if you didn’t enjoy reading this article then please feel free to tear it up and throw it the hell away.
ZAHRA BARRI IS AT DAVE LEICESTER COMEDY FESTIVAL WITH HER SHOW ON SUNDAY 10TH FEBRUARY, THE EXCHANGE BAR, 3PM. FOR TICKETS