Sometimes, we become overwhelmed because of a cluttered mind.
Other times, we simply need to clear our mind to help us make a big decision.
Whatever the case is for you, if you could use a bit of clarity, focus, or relief from a clouded, overactive mind, there’s a lot you can do– both for short-term, immediate relief and as a longer-term solution.
I’ve found that most of us have a condition. When we experience pain or confusion or are in some way stuck (or feel stuck), we instinctively bang our heads against the wall to try and fix the problem instead of pulling back to look at things with better perspective.
And, as you might imagine, banging your head against a wall is a pretty damaging pattern of behavior. If this is you, you need to adopt a healthier way of being when you’re faced with challenges or big decisions.
Clarity affords focus.
– Thomas Leonard
There are a lot of great ways you can gain short-term clarity. And the great thing is, most of these methods can easily be repeated any time you need to find a little clarity or want some relief from the pressures of daily life.
My advice is this: try out each of the methods listed below and see what works best for you. Once you’ve identified one that works like a charm for you forget everything else and use that as your go-to activity for gaining clarity and relief. Each of us is different, so certain activities will work better than others.
Keeping a journal is a highly effective method for clearing the mind because the process of writing allows us to pour out what we’re feeling onto the page. By writing, we’re able to let the emotions we’re feeling “play themselves out” in a way. This has a very therapeutic quality to it, for the same reason that a therapist knows to sit quietly listening to a patient.
How to start a journal:
- Decide: Digital or paper
- Structure: Date each day and write a page or two. Keep it concise enough that you don’t drag on but long enough that you let everything to flow out.
- Schedule: Write either first thing in the morning or before bed at night. Or, alternatively, whenever you feel you need it. This works better as a regular activity, but it can definitely just be used whenever you feel the need for some clarity.
2. Have a media-free day
We’ve woven using the Internet and various devices so deeply into our daily life that it’s hard to imagine going a day without using either. However, dedicating a day to not using either– whether regularly or not– can be great for clearing the mind and giving us just the clarity we need. This kind of environment forces us to slow down, so it’s perfect for letting some of that mental clutter to sift itself out and help us gain clarity.
How to do a media-free day:
- Pick a day or time: For most, this needs to be over the weekend. This could also just be half a day or another set period of time if you can’t manage an entire day.
- Turn off all devices: This includes your smartphone, tablet, computer, smartwatch, laptop, etc. etc…you get the idea. Make sure to notify anyone necessary that you’ll be offline.
- Pick an activity: Anything like reading a good book or the next point is great here.
Physical activity has been shown to both release stress and provide mental clarity, so it’s great for helping gain focus and find relief. However, most physical activity isn’t perfectly suited for clearing the mind because it’s active and not repetitive enough, the perfect quality for meditative action.
That’s why running is perfect. Running doesn’t just offer the benefits of physical activity, it also offers the perfect mix of discursive activity with the room to sift through our thoughts. Because of this, a quick morning run is easily one of the most powerful daily habits you can adopt.
4. Go back to a childhood favorite
Going back to our childhood has an interesting effect. I played basketball when I was younger– a lot. Now, anytime I play basketball, I’m sent back to my childhood and am almost forced to shake myself out of any mental rut I’m in. It’s a strange effect that happens, but it’s extremely effective if you have an activity like that for you. However, keep in mind this can’t be something you enjoy regularly. It has to be something from your childhood which is unfamiliar to you now.
This can be a game like cards or a board game, a sport like basketball or football, or some other activity you used to do when you were younger such as listening to a specific type of music or visiting a specific location.
5. Do something creative
Seeing a pattern yet? So far, these are all different and unique ways to “tease” the mind so to speak in a way you’re not typically used to. The reason this works is for the same reason that people go for long walks on the beach to make tough life decisions: putting yourself in a position you’re not used to forces us out of ourselves and this typically helps us clear the mind.
And included within this is any creative activity. By diving into something creatively without any particular desired outcome, we’re able to work the brain out of a rut by flexing it in a way that is completely separate from what’s going through our mind.
How to find the ideal creative outlet:
- Decide on the activity: This could be painting, writing, drawing, building, or anything else creative. Take time experimenting to find the one that resonates with you.
- Decide the time of day: Different times of day are better for different people with regards to their state of mind and creativity. Most people find their creativity flows in the morning, while many people have their best ideas after midnight. Find the best time for you and do the above activity during that time most often.
If you’re experiencing a clouded, overactive mind and are in search of a little clarity, your options are numerous. Your job now is to take the time to find out what activity works best for you and your life. Whichever you choose, know that each and every one of these will help you clear your mind so that you can find both greater focus and realize relief.