We've all heard the old saying that we need to live life at our full potential. Whether you talk about physical or mental potential, performing at 100% is never easy.
In terms of physical output, eating better and training more efficiently can help you achieve physical milestones. While these also serve your mental health, you should provide yourself with mental stimulation as well to improve brain health and maintain cognitive function.
Read on to learn how to achieve mental clarity.
What Is Mental Clarity?
Mental clarity is when you feel focused on the present moment, feel like you are fully absorbing sensory input, and can think efficiently and use your memory optimally.
This manifests itself in different ways for different people depending on what a clear state of mind feels like for them. For some people, this could mean having a lot of creative ideas, while for others, it could mean being able to critically process technical data.
A good way to understand mental clarity is to identify things that mental clarity is not. For instance, brain fog or mental fog, an altered state of mind such as depression, insomnia or anxiety, excessive stress levels, and an overly emotional state of mind are all examples of situations where you don't have a clear state of mind.
In fact, not being present is a state where you aren't experiencing mental clarity. If you have compulsive thoughts, are constantly focused on distractions, or are stuck in the past, you must improve your mental clarity to live a better life.
How To Achieve Mental Clarity
As mental clarity will manifest itself differently for different people, and we all have different reasons for not being mentally clear or mentally sharp, there are different factors you can work on to promote it.
Here are some best practices to improve your mental clarity and brain function.
Focus on Mental Health
Mental well-being is a critical component of mental clarity. You need to be in a neutral, or preferably positive mental state to be able to think clearly and focus on the things in front of you.
If you are suffering from problems such as anxiety, depression, drug addictions, or other behavioral and cognitive issues, it's only normal for you to lack mental clarity.
For some people taking some time off and allowing yourself to recharge may do the trick, but for others, medical intervention may be necessary. Talking to an expert can help you overcome these challenges more efficiently.
Improve Your Diet
Your physical health also plays a role in your mental performance. After all, your brain is a part of your body. If you aren't providing it the resources it needs to function correctly, you can't expect it to perform at 100%.
Having a healthy diet will help you in memory retention, cognitive functions, and many other areas of your brain. In particular, eating healthy fats like Omega-3 and Omega-6-rich foods will drastically improve how your brain performs.
You will feel a positive change in your mood, health, and energy levels. You'll also find that you sleep better and are more focused on your day-to-day activities.
Consider making healthier food choices and drinking more water. A balanced diet will give you the nutrients you need to be alert. Also, don't skimp on water, as it is a natural brain booster – so stay hydrated!
Manage Stress Levels
Chronic stress kills mental clarity. It causes mental exhaustion and will also negatively impact other key areas, such as your mood and quality of sleep. We often don't realize just how much stress we are building up in our bodies.
Meditation, yoga, journaling, and therapy can help you work through these mental blocks. You may be struggling to maintain focus or experiencing mental fogginess due to stress even though you are eating right and taking care of your body.
Exercise and physical activity do a lot to support mental clarity. Moving your body by going to the gym, cycling, hiking, or any other activity helps improve blood flow to the brain and other organs in the body.
It also helps your body produce several essential hormones that improve overall performance and restore mental clarity.
Training your body physically gives you a big mental boost. You feel better about yourself, and it is highly rewarding when training is a thing on your to-do list, and you get it done.
It is a natural endorphin boost and a great way to spend quality time with yourself and clear your head. For many people, the hour or two they spend exercising is a mentally relaxing time of day and nearly meditative.
A great way to achieve mental clarity is through meditation. Meditation helps you think better and improve your mental performance.
If you are struggling with scattered thought patterns, intrusive thoughts, and behaviors, or even mental fatigue, meditation is a great way to recharge your brain consciously.
Through meditation, your objective is to practice mindfulness. This will improve mental clarity as a byproduct.
Find yourself a comfortable and quiet place, sit down, and try to observe the thoughts that go through your mind.
Let the thoughts enter and exit your mind freely, and just be an observer. This will be challenging at first, but with practice, you can make this a powerful tool to instantly get more clarity.
Control Alcohol and Caffeine Intake
Caffeine and alcohol might feel good momentarily, but they can be quite harmful to your mental performance. Many people need caffeine to start their day, but that is just a mental construct and a behavior you have conditioned yourself to adopt.
A big glass of water, a few minutes of fresh air during a walk, and a good breakfast will also supercharge you for the day ahead and provide mental clarity without the caffeine crash you can expect at around 11 am.
Alcohol will not only prevent you from getting enough quality sleep, but it’ll also make you feel like you lack mental clarity the day after. If you want to seek clarity, then at least reducing the consumption of these substances is necessary.
Alcohol, in particular, also doesn't do your mental health any favors. If you are already struggling with mental health issues, minimizing alcohol consumption, or quitting entirely, will be the best option.
Have a Priority List
One of the main reasons why people face brain fog is because they don't have their priorities set. One day they want to do one thing, and the next day they are drawn to something else. This makes it nearly impossible to make any serious progress or growth in any direction.
To be good at anything, you need to spend some time and effort on that particular line of work. If you are spreading yourself too thin across a broad list of priorities, you will face mental fog when it comes to focusing on one thing.
Whether you are studying or in your professional career, narrow your focus to a few things—ideally, less than three things—and make it a point to work on them daily. This way, you don't have to waste time thinking about what to do, and you will have more time to dedicate to each task.
Getting enough and good quality rest is crucial for mental clarity and overall health. Experts recommend that you get at least seven hours of sleep every night.
However, this could depend more or less on how you are doing physically. If you are consuming alcohol, working late nights, stressed, or having difficulties in other areas of your life, it's time to prioritize sleep.
Remember, the quality of life you live impacts the quality of sleep you get. Eating good food and maintaining a healthy lifestyle will help you get the most out of the hours of shut-eye you get every night.
Also, try to have a consistent sleep-wake cycle. It takes time to develop, but once you have a good rhythm, keep it going.
There are many brain-boosting supplements you can try. They are easily available as over-the-counter drugs but you should talk to a doctor before trying them out. These are recommended if you want to squeeze every little drop of performance out of your brain.
However, start with some good quality vitamins, minerals, and essential oils. These supplements alone will provide you with a lot of fuel. If you want to go the extra mile, then nootropics are available.
Enhancing mental clarity requires a holistic approach. Simply exercising or just meditating will only give you marginal benefits. Most people will be able to identify the main problem areas in their life, and these are what you should start improving first.
Once these are covered, you can move on to the other aspects of your physical and mental well-being to eliminate mental fog from your life once and for all!