Inner Hygiene

20th May 2024
5 min read
20th May 2024

A creative exercise on decluttering your mind, taken from Lucy van Smit's A Writers' Journal Workbook.


Declutter old stories and unhelpful beliefs from your mind. This creates more space for you to be creative. Anthropologist Jean Houston calls silencing your inner critic ‘inner hygiene’. It’s the same idea as The Naming Game but you look inside to sense and observe yourself.

What stories are you telling yourself that do not serve you? What scares you? How do you react to things? You don’t try to fix old things. You declutter. Acknowledge stuff. And let it go. It’s done its time. Inner hygiene is a lifelong practice. Release nonsense with kindness. Smile when stuff comes back, which it will. The Second Law of Thermodynamics says chaos always returns. Unless you keep it in order. 

Have a go. When you notice The Thing causing you bother, use your imagination to flip it. Write a new running dialogue in your head to cheer yourself on: You’ve got this. You can figure it out.


When you keep a writing journal, you find that you can see your obstacles to life more clearly. Are you standing in your own way?

• Declutter your mean words. The ones stuck on a loop, e.g. My writing is rubbish, I’m not good enough, I can’t do it, I’m not creative. Grab your journal, and get them down on the page.

• Rewrite any negative beliefs. My writing is good enough. Words are powerful. Spin yours into a new writing mantra: I can do it… I am creative.

• Get plenty of sleep on inner hygiene days. Think of an inner hygiene day as a reset button.


Do The Naming Game



Reflect on The Thing

Write about it. What does this feeling remind me of from my past?

PROMPT: Write about something as small as a hairbrush, borrowed without permission.


Writing stage
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