Work, school, housework, bills, making time for loved ones, personal care, chores, running errands — phew! Life can be really inundating, and this barely even scratches the surface of all of the different elements that are always on our minds.
It’s easy to feel stressed and overwhelmed, but it’s entirely normal and okay. Feelings of anxiety because of an overloaded schedule are to be expected. But continual stress on your mental health can have negative effects all over.
If your mind is all over the place, it’ll make it harder to actually get things done. The next time it feels like your brain is scrambled, it’s essential to balance yourself and achieve mental clarity.
What is Mental Clarity?
Mental clarity means having a focused, clear, and transparent state of mind. Those feelings of what-fs, overwhelm, worry, stress, and anxiety are no longer at the forefront of your brain.
It’s the opposite of brain fog, or mental fatigue, which are feelings of clouded judgement because of continual external stressors. Many people will experience brain fog temporarily during times of high stress, but some people may continually feel it until certain mental or biological needs are met.
Eradicating brain fog and achieving mental clarity is very important. It lets you appreciate your life, seeing how lucky you are and have always been. Instead of looking at the glass half empty, you’ll start to see it as half full. When you have a clear head, you’ll be able to tackle life’s stressors with ease.
It can be difficult to achieve full mental clarity, especially during busy work weeks or anxiety-inducing life experiences. But there are a few things you can practice to regain that sense of peaceful headspace.
1. Relieve Stress
One of the most common reasons for a bogged down mind is excessive stress. When you’re stressed, you’ll likely think about every single deadline and become overwhelmed by the idea of everything that needs to get done. This will remove you from the tasks at hand, and you may actually get less done.
Stress can also have severe physiological effects, such as higher blood pressure and increased risk of heart disease. Having physical health problems will only heighten your levels of stress, which will also contribute to a less comfortable mental state.
The good news is that there are a ton of different ways to fight back stress and return your cognition to a working flow.
Focus on Breathing
Your body’s stress response is also called the fight or flight response because your body prepares to fight danger head-on or flee the situation. In turn, your heart rate increases, your breathing speeds up, and you become hyper focused.
In order to return your body to a normal, healthy state, it is imperative to return your breathing back to its average state. Close your eyes and inhale through your nose for 10 seconds. Try to hold your breath for another five, before exhaling through your mouth for another 10. Keep doing this until you start to feel your heart rate decrease.
You can incorporate deep breathing techniques into a yoga or meditation routine to really double down on your de-stress. Yoga is a fantastic way to clear your mind while also benefiting your body physically.
Try simple poses like downward dog or warrior to get yourself started. You don’t even need a mat, just find a comfortable carpet or rug and take a few minutes to clear your mind. After just a short routine, you’ll be ready to take on the rest of your day.
If you have the time, try to go for a short jog or walk around the neighborhood. Cardio exercise is a great way to relieve feelings of stress while also giving yourself a much needed break from the day.
2. Get Better Sleep
Considering we spend about one-third of our lives sleeping, it’s clear that getting a good night’s rest is pretty important. Poor quality sleep may be a factor that interferes with how well your brain functions.
Not getting the recommended 7-9 hours of sleep every night can really take a toll on your mental state. Not only will your mood and positive attitude be diminished, but you’ll have trouble focusing on your work. This might lead to more stress and brain fog, as it can feel like things just keep piling up.
Before you go to bed, engage in activities that will help you unwind. Unfortunately, this means putting down the phone and laptop, as the blue light emitted from these can make your brain think it is still daytime.
Instead, opt for reading a good book or journaling your thoughts into a notebook. These won’t put strain on your eyes and can naturally help you fall asleep faster and longer.
3. Switch Up Your Diet
Feelings of brain fog can be caused by a lot of things, but surprisingly, one of them might be the foods you’re eating. Or specifically, a lack of certain foods. Vitamin B12 deficiency has a number of sneaky symptoms, including cognitive dissonance and mental fatigue.
You can increase vitamin B12 intake by eating more beef, chicken, fish, dairy products, or eggs. For the vegans out there, you can also get some from mushrooms, seaweed, soy milk, or coconut milk.
If you have allergies or sensitivities to certain foods you may also develop feelings of brain fog. Be careful to avoid foods that make you feel off, as this will cause you to shift your mental focus away from the tasks at hand.
4. Take a Break
When you’re working nonstop, you’re naturally going to start feeling fatigued and unmotivated. The problem is that if you don’t give your mind a chance to rest, the work you do is likely to be less productive than it would be if you have a clear conscience.
Taking a short break might seem like you’re just avoiding your tasks, but it will actually rejuvenate your mind and give you a little necessary boost. After giving yourself a chance to reset, you’ll probably notice that you can hit the ground running even faster than before.
If you have a lot on the agenda, you can try something called the Pomodoro technique to enhance your productivity in a healthy, peaceful way. Basically, you’ll do work for a 30 minute session, followed by a 5 minute break. After four work sessions, you get a half hour break, and then you can start again. This is a great way to feel like you’re getting tons of work done without feeling overwhelmed or inundated.
5. Change Your Perspective
The reason that certain stressors and work overloads can bog down our minds is because we allow it to. We look at our situation and think about how getting everything done will be impossible, difficult, or overwhelming. Speaking this mindset into existence may very well make it true.
Instead, try grounding yourself and looking at everything holistically. Prioritize which tasks are most important and recognize that you will get everything done. See if there are some tasks which can wait until tomorrow, or maybe you can even multitask and get two things done at once.
When you can recognize that your situation isn’t that bad, it won’t feel as inundating. Try looking at the glass as half full, understanding that all of your stressors are going to make you a stronger person once you conquer them!
Mental clarity is the opposite of mental fatigue. It’s a feeling of bliss and clear headspace that lets you deal with stressful situations without becoming overwhelmed. Obtaining feelings of mental clarity can be difficult, but there are lots of different techniques to try.
The first and arguably most important is relieving stress, as this is a primary cause of mental fatigue. Focus on your breathing or practice yoga when you start to feel like anxiety is getting the best of you.
Additionally, it’s important to get a good night’s rest, as poor sleep can weaken your mood and cause you to have issues focusing. Likewise, eat a healthy diet high in B-12 to improve your mental clarity and state of mind.
Finally, change your perspective, recognizing that your hard work will pay off. And if need be, take a little break so you don’t overwork yourself.
Mental clarity is key to a happy, healthy life. You deserve to feel great every single day, so don’t let life’s heated moments get the best of you.
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