Would you like to start each day with a clear focus on what you want to accomplish? Would you like to know that what you accomplish today will be accomplishments that meet your needs, desires, and life goals? If we are honest, I am sure we would all like to be in that state where we have mental clarity.
Unfortunately, whether we are conscious of it or not, we tend to allow the increasingly busy world in. This creates a tremendous distraction that pulls us away from being focused on what we want. We allow negative news and social media to make us angry, depressed, and upset, and those emotions cause us to become indecisive and lack focus.
We allow ourselves to live in the past—where mistakes we made and injustices towards us cause us to feel angry and overwhelmed. All these distractions, external events we have no control over, and past negative life experiences cloud our mental focus. It pushes us towards focusing on negatives that disrupt our mental clarity and the fantastic future we all could have if we only focus on what we want to accomplish, the steps we need to take to achieve them, and the life we want for ourselves.
To help you gain some mental clarity and know what you want out of each day, here are 12 simple strategies that will lead you in the right direction.
1. Go for a Walk
Any form of exercise will clear your mind, but one of the most effective ways is to walk in nature. Even just twenty to thirty minutes of walking around your neighborhood will have the same effect if you do not live near nature. The very act of moving will put your mind into a more positive state, which will help you think things through more effectively.
2. Drink Lemon Water in the Morning
I began drinking lemon water every morning about two years ago and was surprised how I felt healthier, mentally clearer, and awake within twenty minutes. Many healthcare professionals recommend drinking a glass of lemon water (half a lemon squeezed into a glass of water) for the physical health benefits it gives you. But when you feel healthy physically, you also feel mentally healthy.
Our mind and body work together. If we are physically ill, we don’t feel good mentally, and vice versa. When we feel energetic and alive, we feel fantastic, and our emotional feelings lift. This means a little lift in the morning by drinking lemon water will not only raise your physical health but also directly improve your mental health.
3. Plan Your Day the Night Before
When you plan the day the night before, you begin the day knowing what you want to accomplish. Most people never think about what they want to accomplish. Instead, they allow events to dictate what they do. Events rarely work in your favor as they are often the crises of others, and you end up working on other people’s plans and doing nothing for your goals.
If you know what you want to accomplish before you start the day, you are much clearer on what you want and are likely to make sure it happens.
4. Look at the Big Picture
Another way you can achieve mental clarity is by looking at the big picture. Too often we get caught up in trivialities and lose sight of the big picture of what and why we are doing something. Have you ever felt like you were just ticking boxes? That’s what happens when we get caught up in the process and lose sight of the reasons why we are doing something.
When you remind yourself of what you want and why you are doing it, you remain much clearer on what and why you are doing something.
5. Be Clear About Your Outcomes
Linked to the previous point, never lose sight of what it is that you are trying to accomplish. Too often, a process is set out before a project starts and nobody ever pauses to ask if what you are doing every day is moving you in the right direction. It’s often a case of “shut up, we’re making progress.” Yet, if that progress is taking you further and further away from what you are trying to accomplish, it will just be wasted effort.
Review your outcomes frequently. For example, if you want to lose weight, the process is simple—eat less, move more. But if you are eating less and moving more and your weight is not going down, you need to review your outcome and decide what needs to change to achieve the result you want.
6. Identify What Is Important to You
If you don’t know where you are going, how will you ever know when you get there? Human beings are amazing creatures. We are also unique because we are the only living beings who can make choices, which is the cause of many of our problems.
If you plant a tree, all a tree can do is grow to its maximum potential given its environment. All living beings except humans have no choice—they grow to their full potential.
On the other hand, humans can choose, and most people choose not to live to their maximum potential. We’d rather lounge around on the sofa doomscrolling our social media feeds instead of working on ourselves to make us better.
If you want to live your life to its maximum potential, decide what is important to you and do everything in your power to make it happen. When you know what you want and why you want it, you are 80% of the way there. The remaining 20% is the effort you put in to achieve it.
7. Be Aware of the 5 Key Self-Care Areas
There are five areas of life you need to make sure you are working on every day. These are sleep, food, water, exercise, and planning.
If you are not getting enough sleep, your brain function will drop significantly. There will be a drop in your ability to remember, concentrate, fight illness, and many more. You will not have much mental clarity if you are not getting enough sleep.
What you put in your body nourishes you. If what you put into your body is high in refined carbs, sugar, and unhealthy fat, your body has to work much harder to maintain your body’s equilibrium, and it does that by using blood and enzymes.
Basically, the worse the food (and drink) you put into your body, the less oxygenated blood you will have for brain function. This is why we get the afternoon slump—too much carbohydrate causes a reaction in your body where you get an insulin spike in your blood, and that is why you feel drowsy (better quality food = better quality brain function).
One of the first things to go when you begin to dehydrate is your ability to concentrate. In extreme dehydration cases, you will experience confusion and other debilitating symptoms, but even a small drop in your hydration will result in you not being able to focus or have clarity. Make sure you are drinking plenty of water throughout the day.
Exercise is one of the best ways to regain clarity. Our brains function at their best when we are moving. For most of human existence, we were the hunted rather than the hunter, which meant we were on the menus of many predators. This led to our brains developing as a survival mechanism that works best when we are in flight.
Of course, today, we are unlikely to be on the menu of a predator, but your brain does not know that. This is why when you feel stressed, you want to move. So, if you want more clarity, go for a walk or run or go to the gym.
If you want to be clearer on what you are doing each day, then have a plan. It does not have to be a plan that micromanages your day. All you need is a list of things that you know must be done today. When you begin the day knowing what must be accomplished, you’ll be surprised how focused you will be.
8. Be Careful What You Allow Through the Gates of Your Mind
Jim Rohn taught: “Every day, stand guard at the door of your mind, and you alone decide what thoughts and beliefs you let into your life. For they will shape whether you feel rich or poor, cursed or blessed.”
If you start your day reading the news or scrolling through social media feeds, you allow negativity into your mind. Once that negativity gets into your mind, it will affect your whole day.
Protect what gets into your head. Begin your day with nature. If you can, look outside, enjoy the rain, the snow, or the sunshine. Bask in awe that is the world around you.
9. Have a Healthy Morning Routine
One of the most potent ways to bring greater mental clarity into your life is to practice a consistent positive morning routine that focuses you on your day. This does not need to be complicated—just a few minutes of stretching while drinking your morning lemon water or perhaps ten minutes of meditation or journaling and a few minutes reviewing your plan for the day.
If you can allow yourself thirty minutes each morning to spend on yourself, practice some self-care and reflection, you will realize that clarity comes to you rather than you having to seek clarity.
Doomscrolling is a thing, and it does untold damage to your mental well-being. Looking through endless negative news about this leader or that leader, about death and destruction, about how unfair the world is, and people portraying fictional perfect lives that just make you feel inadequate will never make you feel better.
Instead, read a book. Learn something new or meditate. Turn off your devices, relax, and be grateful about what you have rather than being disappointed about what you don’t have. When you feel happy and relaxed, you will be much more clear about your life and where you want to be. You will enjoy the journey of self-improvement—of focusing on what is right about your world rather than what is wrong.
Journaling is one of the best ways to get mental clarity. It allows you to stream your thoughts onto a page and when you see those thoughts and ideas on a page, you gain much more clarity on what they mean to you and what you can do—if there’s any—about them.
Journaling allows you space to measure where you are and where you want to be without distraction and noise from the outside world. It is your space. When you build a journaling habit in your morning routine, you add a powerful mindfulness tool to your repertoire that will help your ability gain mental clarity.
12. Get Rid of the Toxic People in Your Life
Finally, remove the toxic people from your life. You do not need them. Toxic people fill your world with negativity, confusion, and emotions that do not help you gain clarity about your life. Instead, they fill your life with doubt and confusion, and none of these will help you gain greater mental clarity.
In a world dominated by 24-hour negative news cycles, where everyone seems to be fighting to show off their “perfect lives,” and where we are bombarded by marketing messages, regaining your mental clarity may be difficult. But these 12 simple strategies can help you do just that.
Focus on your life and try to become a beacon of hope and positivity in this world, and you will feel so much happier about yourself. You will be relaxed, focused, and ready for any obstacle that comes your way.
Featured photo credit: Eli DeFaria via unsplash.com
|||^||Cleveland Clinic: 7 Reasons to Start Your Day With Lemon Water|
|||^||Carl Pullein: The Five Foundations of a Healthy Life of Excellence|
|||^||May Clinic: Dehydration|