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Emotional Capital

From:  William J Owens Jr DC DAAMLP


verb: clutter; 3rd person present: clutters; past tense: cluttered; past participle: cluttered; gerund or present participle: cluttering crowd (something) untidily; fill with clutter. - "his apartment was cluttered with paintings and antiques"

noun: clutter

a collection of things lying about in an untidy mass. - "the attic is full of clutter"


Psychological stress

In psychology, stress is a feeling of strain and pressure. Also this is one type of psychological pain. Small amounts of stress may be desired, beneficial, and even healthy. Positive stress helps improve athletic performance. It also plays a factor in motivation, adaptation, and reaction to the environment. Excessive amounts of stress, however, may lead to bodily harm. Stress can increase the risk of strokes, heart attacks, ulcers, and mental illnesses such as depression.

Stress can be external and related to the environment, but may also be caused by internal perceptions that cause an individual to experience anxiety or other negative emotions surrounding a situation, such as pressure, discomfort, etc., which they then deem stressful.

Humans experience stress, or perceive things as threatening, when they do not believe that their resources for coping with obstacles (stimuli, people, situations, etc.) are enough for what the circumstances demand. When people think the demands being placed on them exceed their ability to cope, they then perceive stress.

In my experience, clutter AMPLIFIES stress.  When it comes to the amplification of stressors, getting rid of clutter in your office, car, personal life and how you dress is one of the MOST important things that you can do.  Our brains have individual limits in terms of sensory input, clutter adds to that input unnecessarily.   That is one thing that is tied so tightly to the Japanese success with efficiency and human output.  It is represented in their gardens, traditional homes and even the martial arts.  Conservation of human potential through the eliminate of unnecessarily movement (output) is a task that not only takes a lifetime of practice to achieve., but also requires daily, weekly and monthly discipline. 

For me personally there are a few tools that I use to help declutter, it is not always daily or weekly but when I need to get “Grounded” and focused, the first thing that I do is “straighten up physically” and “straighten up mentally". 


Professionally – Shred IT – we have two bins from this company and we pay about $100 per month.  ALL our non-active charts get scanned into the EMR and then dumped in the bin.  That is a GREAT job for an INTERN.  When we get one from the Exercise Science Department at the University of Buffalo, that is one of their main jobs…to get us caught up.  We recently did that as demonstrated by the pics below – we always have 3-4 extra Shred IT bags on hand.  Failure to properly manage your documents leads to clutter which leads to stress which leads to underperformance.  Take time this Spring to clear it all out.  Hire someone for minimum wage if you need, it’s worth the investment.

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Professional - Scanning – I use a fairly inexpensive high speed scanner to digitize all the paper that I need to save.  That goes for both Clinical and Personal items.  I duplicate this process at home and the office.  Software Motif as the ability to have TIFF or PDF dragged right into the system to save as a file.  Any and all clinical data goes in there and we also scan all our INACTIVE charts.  We also use the big printer in the front office to scan charts.  It is a VERY effective process. We use the Epson DS-510 which scans 50 pages very fast for most work, we also use Biz Hub 227 which is the bigger one that takes many more pages.  That is linked RIGHT TO THE EMR. 


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Personally – Dumpster – our neighborhood last year started the “Shared Dumpster” program. Basically we get 5-6 families to “go in” on a $375 dumpster.  That get delivered to one of our houses and allows us to get rid of all the BIG stuff that has been sitting in the basement, garage or barn for months or even years.  It is a great community practice and allows us to maintain our space without the clutter that we can’t put to the curb.  In the end    it helps you make better decision on the stuff you buy and the things that you feel like you “can’t let go of”…

Personally – Your Brain – physical space is one thing and it is something that you share with the world.  Your BRAIN on the other hand is yours and yours alone.  We experience hours and hours of self-talk and reasoning.  Information nowadays come at us faster than ever, and as we see with the Facebook saga it may not even be TRUE or RELEVANT!  You have to protect that space and keep it free of clutter.  Dr. Studin has spoken about the Default Mode Network (DFN) which is the “resting” phase of the brain. The brain works most efficiently when there is as little sensory input as possible.  That is the basis of meditation and why so many chronic pain sufferers are on anti-anxiety medication.  When your brain is constantly trying to sort sensory input or nociception, it is not operating effectively.  In my video Organization, Planning and Marketing which can be found in the Video Library, I go into much more detail and show you how to get mentally organized.  I show you what I do on a regular basis. 

Personally – Creating Boundaries – this is very important and is probably one of the most common causes of stress and emotional clutter.  Many experts have written about this over the ages and Steven Covey had written about the “Circles of Influence”.  Boundaries are basically the limits that you set to 1: allow people into your life, 2:  allow access to your time, energy and emotions and 3:  build your life around.  There is only so much that you can handle as a person, everyone is different.  When we EXCEED our boundaries or allow others to enter our space without our permission we start to get overloaded.  This is especially true when the emotional capital expenditure is high as in caring for patients, caring for a ill loved one or parent or a child with special needs.  








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