Our ability to think clearly and accurately will never be overrated. Day after day, so many of us walk around with autopilot mode engaged. We do the same things over and over without thought or intention, like robots programmed to survive.
Others walk around distracted or practically in a daze. They’re overwhelmed with too much on their plates, or they’ve checked out because life doesn’t seem to have any meaning or purpose for them.
This can be due to a variety of factors including escapism, overconsumption, misguided priorities, poor habits, a loss of direction, or even a lack of understanding ourselves and our values.
We live lives full of distractions that vie for our attention. Being more clear-headed can increase the level of success you enjoy and your overall sense of wellbeing.
Try these tips to enjoy greater mental clarity:
1. Start with your diet. We are all familiar with the expression, “You are what you eat.” Caffeine, sugar, and all the chemicals found in processed foods can work against mental clarity. No one likes to change their diet, but it may be the most important thing you can do to improve your ability to think clearly and concentrate. Unfortunately, people often don’t make the connection between what they eat and how they feel.
A good place to start is to stay natural. Feeling fully energized and maintaining good brain health means getting intentional about the food choices you make. It requires replacing bad stuff with good stuff. Choose whole, organic, fresh, local, and unprocessed food. Practice mindful eating, because convenient, fast food costs a great deal more to our physical and mental health in the long run.
2. Get enough sleep. According to extensive research, 7-8 hours of sleep is best for the vast majority of the adult population. You might think you do well with six hours or less but try giving seven hours a chance for a week before making a final decision.
An average adult needs five to six REM sleep cycles. Each of these cycles lasts about 90 minutes. Not getting enough sleep causes lack of alertness, impaired memory, compromised immunity, mood swings, trouble with thinking and concentration, high blood pressure, weight gain, and more.
Naps are another great way to increase clarity and alertness. Experiment with duration and find out what works best for you. A 90 minute nap that allows a full sleep cycle can help you retain certain skills you’ve just learned. But a 15-20 minute power nap is perfect for recovering from fatigue. A great time for a nap is around 2:00 in the afternoon. That seems to be the time when energy begins to wane.
3. Know your values. When you know your values and live by them, making decisions become easy. It’s when you lack an understanding of what’s important to you that decisions are difficult. Think about your values and write them down. Review them regularly.
Your values drive your choices. Both history and religions teach that adopting good values and making choices based on those values determines whether or not you experience positive or negative consequences. Values are the foundation of our human experience and guide our cultures as they evolve into higher states of consciousness...or devolve into chaos.
4. Remove distractions. Distractions include everything in your environment and emotional space that steal your attention. What do you find yourself doing or thinking about instead of doing what you should be doing? Do what you can to eliminate these things from your life.
Adopting mindfulness as a daily practice teaches you to let go of distractions and live in the moment. Mindfulness builds clarity of thought and allows you to self-evaluate without emotional clutter. When you’re mindful, you can look at situations not from a place of fear or lack, but from a place of self-understanding, which makes all the difference in what choice you’ll make.
5. Meditate. Meditation is great for removing mental clutter. Get your hands on a book or take a course and learn how to meditate. Meditate daily. It’s an important skill to learn and master. Be patient and soon you’ll see the benefits.
Mindfulness is a form of meditation, but there are many ways to meditate and develop your clarity mindset. You might want to try several different types of meditation, like walking meditations, guided visualizations, or mindfulness experiences to see which style connects and works best for you.
6. Take frequent, scheduled breaks. One way to keep your mind clear is to take breaks, even when you feel like you don’t need one. When you realize that you need a break, it’s too late! Studies show that a 10-minute break each hour is about right for most people. You’ll accomplish more, too.
Try time-blocking or the Pomodoro Technique to incorporate scheduled breaks into your daily routines. With block scheduling, you can literally set up 5 to 10 minute blocks of purposeful downtime. The Pomodoro Technique is all about working in short, massively productive, intensely focused bursts, and then giving yourself a brief break.
7. Have goals. Goals are useful in many ways, but perhaps their greatest utility is in the clarity they provide. Your goals provide focus. Not sure what to do? Ask yourself which option is best for achieving your goals. Without goals, you’re just drifting through life.
Set goals that support and honor your values. If you build goals based on external results, you’ll find most often the experience will create regret. To avoid regret, tie your goals to your core values. It will help insure you enjoy the journey while building a thriving, fulfilling mindset.
How would you rate your mental clarity? Are you clear on your values and who you are as a person? Are you easily distracted? Do you find it hard to focus for long periods of time? Use these tips to enhance your mental clarity.
With greater mental clarity you can get more accomplished each day. Ensure you’re getting enough sleep and eating properly. If you're still struggling, consider hiring a Self-Success Coach. They’ll help you get crystal clear about your values, strengths, rituals, and goals so you can live into your highest potential with clarity and purpose.