Our minds are precious things and it’s easy to take them for granted. I took my healthy mind for granted before I started experiencing really bad anxiety. One of the symptoms of anxiety is brain fog. It can stop you from thinking clearly and you can easily lose touch of what is going on around you. Things become a muddle, and you can even experience a haziness that’s difficult to explain to others. Whether you experience prolonged anxiety or not, I want to talk to you about how to think more clearly. There are simple steps that you can take to start thinking more clearly and grab hold of your mind again.
1. What’s Stopping You From Clearer Thinking?
To start thinking more clear, you have to understand what it is that’s stopping your mind from clearing. For me, it has always been a number of things. My mind has been in a muddle due to anxiety, money troubles, relationships and a general feeling of lowness.
A lot of us even have all of these things going on at the same time and it can really take a huge toll on your mind. Things become mixed up in your head and you don’t know where to start to put things straight.
The more you try to juggle all of your worries, the more you go round in circles. Sound familiar? I’ve spent the best part of my life with a busy mind!
One of the best ways to clearer thinking that’s worked for me is learning how to slow down your racing worries or even stop them altogether. Learn how I manage my worries here. I believe that this is a great place to start clearing your head because the main reason you can’t think clearly is that you’re worrying and feel pain over things in your life.
2. Make A Checklist And Action It
When you’re stuck in rut and can’t think clearly, making a checklist is a great way to start freeing your mind. I helped clear my mind when I learned to tackle one thing at a time. Try and write down everything that is on your mind that’s bothering you and do it on a piece of paper. These might be things that you know you need to do, or it might be things that are just bothering you.
Write down your worries in an order of most importance. I find that writing down the things that are in my head helps me to see clearly what I’m actually bothered by at that time. Although some of the things on your list you may not be able to act on straight away, you can see what you CAN take action on right away.
I like to think of this as taking small achievable steps towards solving each worry that I might have on my mind. One of the things that help me think more clearly is actually writing on Projectenergise.com.
For me, one of the reasons my mind gets busy and unclear is when I haven’t stretched my creative muscles. This website is a creative outlet for me and also something that I not only enjoy but I also feel like I have to do it, just to get the thoughts out of my system.
I get so many ideas that I want to write about, that my mind gets jumbled up and I feel like my heads going to explode! Considering I used to not like writing or reading when I was a child, I now find it very therapeutic, and almost as if it’s vital to my mental clarity.
So, write down what’s in your head. I find that my mind is like a big balloon that keeps filling up with air and I have to let the air, or ideas even, out every once in a while. Otherwise, the balloon has too much pressure!
3. How To Think More Clearly – Eat Well
Yes, I know what you’re thinking, you’ve been told this a million times – ‘eat healthy food and you’ll feel good.’
I approach this statement a little differently than most people though. I’ve always been interested in how food affects my body and muscle growth (I’ve worked out since my teens) but I’m more interested in how the food I eat interacts with my mind. Can the food you eat really help you think clearer?
I think it can.
We’ve all had big meals where we feel stuffed and can barely move (Christmas?) but have you noticed how your mind feels too? Food affects everyone differently, but not completely. So, let me tell you how eating specifically junk food affects my mental state as an example.
When I have a big meal, maybe a takeout or just a huge meal, I start to feel tired afterward. Your body draws a ton of energy from around your body to start digesting what you’ve just forced into your stomach, so you generally feel a bit weaker until the food is broken down.
The first effect I feel is the tiredness, this already contributes to a less-than-good mental state. I know that when I feel very tired I’m more agitated and generally grumpier. What I also notice is I start to experience brain fog and a lack of concentration. If you’re constantly eating junk food, you’re going to experience these side effects more often leading to you having a jumbled up mind.
You don’t even have to eat big meals to experience brain fog and a racing head. I’ve noticed that when I eat huge amounts of sugar (ice cream, cakes) I not only get brain fog but my thoughts race faster than they normally do. I generally don’t get a burst of physical energy after eating sugary foods, but instead, it’s a catalyst to a foggy mind.
This has become one of the reasons why I have started to eat healthier options, not just for the physical benefits, but to also stop my mind from being overstimulated before making it crash over and over.
There has been evidence that shows that diets that are high in simple carbohydrates and sugars can impair cognitive ability and memory. These are the things that we find in convenience food or junk food. This evidence supports the idea that diets that are high in these nutrients can cause you to have impaired cognitive function and reduce your ability to think clearly.
This 2007 study reinforces what we already know about healthy eating – eating a diet rich in vegetables, fruit and fish improves overall health, but also improve cognitive function as we age.
4. Think Clearer – Go Somewhere Quiet
You may be thinking ‘duh’, but this is so overlooked these days. I have a love-hate relationship with the 21st century. I love it because I’m able to reach and connect with millions of people across the world, but I hate it at the same time because there are so many distractions.
When I wrote about find your purpose in life, I touched on finding the time to do what’s important to you, and the same goes for finding quiet time.
If you can relate to any of the reasons hereof never getting any peace, I send you a virtual ‘amen‘;
- You have kids
- you work too much
- you’re on your phone too much
- you check your social accounts too much
- you watch TV all day and all evening
- your friends ask you to do things constantly
- you have people who rely on you constantly
- you do things you don’t enjoy but feel like you have to
I’ve always enjoyed my own company, mainly because I often find that I need the time to recalibrate and refocus. No matter how social you are and how much people rely on you, you have to find some quiet time to allow your mind to catch up.
The 21st century is filled with responsibilities, with everyday tasks and technology that sap on our energy. We can often forget that our brains can’t operate on such demands constantly. I think that that’s why so many people reach the breaking point.
It’s easy to become overwhelmed with thoughts of things you think you should be doing.
- you think you need to be making X amount of money but you’re not
- you think that everyone else’s life is great but yours isn’t
- you feel like you have to check your phone to see what the world is doing otherwise you’ll be missing out
- you think that you have to be in great shape like your favorite star
- you think that you have to be the perfect parent
- you think you have to act like you’re better than you are so people will like you
- you feel like you have to own the latest ‘insert fad here’
All these thoughts can be draining and can lead you to feel like your mind is jumbled up and too much to bear.
The bottom line is, when we take too much on, we can’t think clearly – simple as that. These distractions and thoughts are constantly bombarding our minds whilst we’re amongst the noise of daily life.
There is always time to find a quiet place to go for 30 minutes or an hour to clear your mind. When I’m at my stillest and quietest, my thoughts slow down. I can hear my breathing and I feel more at peace. Things begin to make more sense, and I feel like I can start weeding out the thoughts in my head that don’t belong there.
You don’t have to actively try and weed out the irrelevant thought from your head though. Often times, being quiet and still can be enough for your mind to naturally start slowing down.
“Envy blinds men and makes it impossible for them to think clearly” – Malcolm X
5. Turn Off The Gadgets
One of the biggest distractions these days is all the flashing gadgets that take up so much of our time. Everyday I check my Facebook, YouTube, and Emails. It can be really tempting to just binge on content for hours and hours whilst getting drawn into things that you don’t really care about.
You probably have a TV, phone, and Computer in your household and if you don’t – what have you been doing with your life!? Ha, I joke…
However, in all seriousness, these things take up so much time of our daily lives that we forget to just relax and not look at what the rest of the world is doing. It’s difficult to escape all of these gadgets that live in your household, but even if you can put down your phone and turn off your computer you can find more time to think more clearly and get your head straight.
The problem with things like Facebook is they’re constant. They don’t ever end. You literally get a feed of content that is tempting to follow all day. It’s easy to feel like you’re missing out on what’s going on. Getting to a point where you don’t care is when you start to relax more. Disconnecting from the noise of social media allows you to step back and regain your thoughts, not thoughts of what someone else is doing with their time.
Social media can also be a catalyst for envy. We spend hours and hours focusing on what other people are doing, and what they have, instead of spending hours and hours on ourselves. Envy could be the number one reason why you can’t think clearly. Instead, use the time you would look at others, to look at yourself. Read a book, learn something, listen to something, anything that improves you.
One thing I do is switch off my phone on my lunchtime and put on some relaxing music so I can regain my thoughts amongst the stresses of the day. In the evenings I pay little attention to the TV and instead work on what relaxes my mind like writing on this website or drawing for my YouTube channel.
When you find what focuses your mind into a state of relaxation, you can think more clearly so you don’t always have to be in silence to reach that point. I find when I’m writing or drawing, I start to clear my mind surprisingly quickly.
For you, it could be reading a book or singing. It really depends on what you get peace from.
“Sometimes you need to distance yourself to see things clearly” – Torin Rush
6. Go On A ‘Friend Detox’
Do the people you know cause you a ton of drama? As I’ve got older I’ve pulled back on the number of people I hang out with. A lot of this is because I’ve had my time filled up with family duties, but some of it has been intentional too. There will always be those who cause us a lot of unnecessary drama. It’s just the way some people work. The problem with these people (aside from the fact they create drama out of thin air) is that they oftentimes want to involve you in it. You already have responsibilities you need to take care of, without having someone else’s drama to take care of too.
This is not to say ‘you need to lose some friends’, rather, be mindful of who is creating stress in your life where it isn’t needed. Who gives you a nervous feeling when they message you? Taking a break from responding to them can do wonders for your mental health.
It all comes down to being honest with yourself. If you want to think more clearly, cut out the excess noise and then work on the real worries you have.
7. Tidy The F UP
What does your place look like most of the time? I’ve always found that my thoughts are more clogged up when the environment around me is messy. This seems to translate into my mind becoming just as frazzled. If your place is untidy a lot of the time, make sure that you spend enough time tidying up and keeping things as nice as you can.
Your environment directly influences how you think and feel. I know tidying up isn’t sexy, but you’ll be surprised how much better it can make you feel. For some reason, which I’m not even too sure of, having a clear space always translates into my mind becoming clearer.
It can be difficult when you have children to always keep a clean house or apartment, but it will allow you the space to think more clearly when the space around you is open and clean.
If you’ve got any of your own tips on how to think more clearly, I’d love to hear them in the comments!
Here’s to your success – Sean
Previously published on Projectenergise.com.
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