Do you always feel stressed, overwhelmed, and pressured? If so, there is one thing you need to do – to achieve the clarity of mind.
In today’s world, we are constantly being buzzed and distracted. It is getting more and more challenging to focus and have clarity on what we do.
The moment we want to read, someone talks to us, our phone rings, notifications on our phone keeps coming in, etc. We are constantly being distracted.
And when we don’t have the clarity of mind, we can’t work at our optimum level.
When your mind is clear, you are able to focus better and perform better. It’s like you’re in the flow. You become present and able to focus 100% on what you do.
Everything else around you becomes quiet and there is only you and the thing that you are doing. Experts refer to this as a “flow state“.
Imagine that you are playing tennis. When you are in the flow state, you become 100% focus on the game.
Everything around you become less important. You don’t really hear the crowd and your body moves instinctively. You can clear ‘feel’ that you are in the game and your body moves swiftly and know exactly where the ball lands and where to hit the ball.
In my case, it can happen sometimes when I’m writing. Out of sudden, I’m able to focus on my writing and the words just flow from my mind. I don’t hear the noise from the outside and all I hear are the words that are coming out of my mind.
I know then, that I’m in the flow and that I have the clarity of mind to focus on my writing.
When you have the clarity of mind, you will be more productive, less stress, and are able to focus better.
More importantly, you can feel more peaceful and be in the present.
Here are 7 ways to help you achieve clarity of mind.
1. Be clear with your purpose
First, you must be absolutely clear with your purpose. If you are being vague about what you want, your results will be vague too. A fuzzy objective gets you a fuzzy result.
I like how Tony Robbins puts it, “Clarity is power”. When you are absolutely clear with your purpose, you can see your direction and your path clearly. You know how to get there and nothing can stop you.
Many people are feeling stressed and unable to achieve greatness in life because they don’t have a clear objective. They have no idea what they want in life and they have no idea what they want to do.
Let me give you an example. As a blogger, I find it extremely difficult to produce articles when I have no clear objective and have no clear title to focus on.
I will just look at the screen with my hands on the keyboard, but I’m not chunking out any content.
However, things change when I have a clear title to focus on. It becomes easier to write when I know the subheadings of my articles.
This is why I always capture (email myself) any article ideas that come to me and I will also draft the article with subheadings before I actually write the article.
When you are clear with your objective and purpose, you gain better clarity.
2. Dealing with only one thing at a time
Stop multi-tasking because multi-tasking is not going to work. People who tell you otherwise have no idea how your brain works.
We can do many things at one time, but our mind can only focus on just one thing at a time.
If you don’t believe me, try to read and talk at the same time. You’ll find that you can’t do it. When you talk, you stop reading. When you read, you will stop talking.
And there is no way you can achieve clarity of mind when you multi-task and do many things all at once.
When I check email, read articles online, and check social media all at the same time, I feel stressed and lost.
Trying to do many things at once only means that you are distracting your mind with all the tasks.
Not only that it is unproductive, but it also eats up your mental energy and makes you feel exhausted faster.
Therefore, if you want to have the clarity of mind, try not to do many things simultaneously.
Focus and do just one thing at a time. That’s the best way to be in the flow state and produce outstanding results.
3. Commit to a decision
The word ‘decision’ is derived from Latin and it means ‘to cut off’. Thus, when you make a decision, it simply means that you have cut off yourself from all alternatives.
When you decide on something, that’s it. It is a done deal. You will never talk about other options and you commit to it 100%.
Sadly, most people are not committing to their decisions. They make a decision and then they doubt and they change their mind.
Making a real decision means you will commit to what you have decided. You leave yourself no other options but to stick to your decision.
And when you commit, you give your mind a sense of clarity because other things now become a distraction. You are then able to focus on your decision.
So to have clarity of mind, keep your word. Stick to what you have decided and keep your promise.
4. Accept and let go
Sometimes, clarity of mind can come from accepting and letting go.
When you can’t change something but yet you don’t want to accept it or to let it go, it becomes stressful and cluttered your mind.
My friend, if you can’t change something, why worry. There is a saying:
“If you can solve your problem, then what is the need of worrying? If you cannot solve it, then what is the use of worrying?”
Worry can’t help you in any way. The only way to clear your mind is to accept it or to let it go.
Lori Deschene from Tiny Buddha shares 40 ways how to let go and feel less pain. You should read the article. Some of the ways are interesting and very helpful.
5. Practice ‘brain-dump’
Brain-dump is a great technique to clear your mind. Like what Celestine Chua said in her article, brain-dump is an amazing way to clear your head, to calm yourself down, and to free up your mental energy.
Your brain works just like a computer. So what happens when you open too many programs or Apps at the same time? It gets clogged up and becomes laggy. What should you do to make your computer runs smoothly again?
The answer is simple, you just need to close some of the programs and allow it to run at its capacity. The same goes for our brains.
When you are feeling stressed, cluttered, and unable to focus on the present, do a brain-dump.
Basically, what you need to do in a brain-dump is to write down everything in your head. After a couple of minutes, you will feel better, clearer, and able to focus.
I strongly suggest you read Celestine’s article to understand more about the technique.
You can choose to write down your thoughts or just type out everything that comes into your head on Words.
After the exercise, you will feel lighter. Like what Celestine said:
“It’s interesting to review what you write after the exercise. Usually, you will notice your thoughts jumping all over the place. One moment you may be thinking about your breakfast; the next you may be thinking about your work meeting, and the next you may be thinking about your next vacation.
As weird and random as they may be, these thoughts have always been on your mind. The exercise merely brought them out. The longer you brain dump, the more clutter you can clear, the higher your mental clarity.”
Brain-dump is a great self-awareness exercise where it allows you to see clearly how your mind jumps from one topic to another.
Try it and see how effective this technique is for yourself.
6. Move your body and exercise
I bet you know that exercise is another good method to create clarity in your mind.
Just go outside, go for a walk, run if you want, do yoga, or ride a bike.
When you exercise, you breath deeper. And deep breathing is a good way to oxygenate your brain. It makes you refresh.
You don’t have to spend an hour to exercise or make yourself sweat heavily. Just a random walk down the street helps too.
Ever wonder why Steve Jobs, the legendary business leader that created the first trillion dollars company, loved to conduct a walking meeting?
Read this article from CNBC. Walking was one of Jobs’ brainstorming strategies that helped him generated his most creative ideas.
7. Meditate and be in solitude
If you want to have the clarity of mind, there is no way to skip meditation and being in solitude.
There are many benefits of meditation, clearing your mental clutter and giving you a sense of clarity is just one of them.
I’m not the expert in meditation or mindfulness, but if you want to learn more about the subject, I recommend you to follow the 7 Minute Mindfulness guide.
Meditation doesn’t need to be long or complicated. You just need to sit and relax and let your mind runs freely.
If meditation is not your thing, try to be in solitude. You don’t have to do anything. Just take a walk in the garden or sitting in the coffee house by yourself and looking out at the walking crowd.
Being in solitude not only gives you the clarity that you want, but it also makes you feel calm too.
When you have the clarity of mind, you are able to perform better. Like a professional athlete, you can be in the flow and produce outstanding results.
Once, there was a Zen master in Japan and there was a professor from a university came to ask about the topic.
The master served tea to the professor. He poured the cup until full and then kept on pouring. The professor watched the overflow and shouted, “It’s overflowing, no more will go in!”
Guess what the Zen master said?
“Like this cup, you are full of your own opinions and speculations. How can I show you Zen unless you first empty your cup?”
It was an interesting metaphor. And the principle to achieve clarity of mind is the same here.
You must first let go and empty your mind in order to learn more, to acquire more, and to perform better.
If you want to learn about mindfulness, get the 7 Minute Mindfulness guide.