Everyone needs to clear their mind now and then. Whether it’s because you’ve had a hard time at work, your family and friends are driving you crazy, or you’ve been having some stressful financial times, clearing your mind is always an excellent way to calm down and find new insight.
Clearing your mind is a relatively easy thing to do, but you have to step back and take the time to do it. Additionally, there are many different ways to accomplish it, meaning you can find a way to fit any schedule or budget. In this article, we aim to show you a variety of ways to clear the mind and achieve more peace in your life, in addition to why you should do it!
The “Why” to Clear Your Mind
The “why” of clearing your mind is just as important as the “how!” In this section, we’ve laid out a variety of reasons why clearing your mind is critical to do on a regular basis. Read about them below!
What Are You Lacking?
Sometimes, we don’t realize just when or where we start to lag behind along the way. We fall into a sense of complacency with our daily schedules and routines, and we might not see right away that we’ve lost out on health and productivity. This is where clearing the mind comes in. If your mind isn’t working at its highest level, the rest of you isn’t, either.
Below is a list of five signs that mean you might need to work on keeping your mind clearer, courtesy of Power of Positivity. They are as follows:
- You feel tired and fatigued: when your mental faculties feel worn out, the rest of you often follows.
- You feel stuck: having an unclear mind can often prevent you from finding solutions to problems.
- You haven’t been taking good care of yourself: sometimes, we start feeling so bogged down that we skimp on caring for ourselves properly. This creates a vicious cycle of neglect that only leads to more mental blockage.
- You feel frustrated: anger and irritability are common signs of mental obstruction. Patience and calmness are the traits of a bright, happy mind.
- You feel depressed: depression (as a feeling, not the medical condition) can often come about when it feels like many bad things keep piling up all at once. When you feel depressed, it’s best to reach out to friends, family, or medical professionals for help, even if you don’t feel like it.
A clear mind, a clean body, and a bright spirit all go together. If one of these things falls behind or gets neglected, the others are soon to follow. Keep this in mind as you move forward, and use it to your advantage as you seek mental clarity.
Mind fog is a common, troublesome condition that all of us get from time to time. Mind fog frequently arises from normal bumps in our lives, such as not getting enough sleep, getting too much sleep, not eating right, or oppressive thoughts and deadlines. Mind fog reduces productivity and interferes with our ability to reason clearly.
Have you ever been sitting at your desk, meaning to do work, when you realize you’ve been staring at your screen for several minutes? This is one of the symptoms of mind fog. Mind fog is the enemy of productive work, so both you and your boss will appreciate it if you can banish it from your life!
To start getting rid of mind fog, you should take care of your body. Like we said above, lack of sleep and proper nutrition can be persistent sources of mind fog. However, oversleeping can contribute, too! To do your best and avoid the fog, establish a balanced, reliable sleep schedule, and don’t sleep in too late on weekends. Sleep enough that you feel rested and relaxed, but no more and no less.
A good diet comes right along with sleep. If you’re not receiving proper nutrition, your entire self will suffer. You should be following a balanced nutritional diet for your body type, while at the same time avoiding unhealthy snack foods.
HealthLine lists seven of the worst foods for mental health and clarity. Do your best to avoid these!
- Sugary drinks like soda, sports drinks, and some fruit juices
- Refined carbs like processed sugars and white flour
- Foods high in trans fats like margarine, frosting, and cookies
- Highly processed foods like chips, sweets, and ramen
- Aspartame, an artificial sweetener that has been linked to irritability and lowered mental capacity
- Fish that are high in mercury, like swordfish, tuna, and shark
If you treat your body right, you’ll be on the fast track to reducing brain fog and increasing your brain’s function. However, your body needs one more thing to function at its peak capacity: good exercise. An inactive body is a suboptimal one, both in terms of feeling good and being healthy. Studies have shown that if you exercise more, you’ll feel better.
Despite just banishing mind fog, these goals should be necessary for any person to meet and exceed if they can manage it. Overall health is an admirable and vital goal. Everyone should be concerned about being healthy!
The “How” to Clear Your Mind
We’ve told you why you should clear your mind when you can. Now, in this section, we’re going to tell you how with some of the most popular and effective ways. With all of the methods we’ve provided and the additional strategies you can find on the net, there will undoubtedly be something out there that suits you!
One of the quickest and easiest ways to clear your mind after a stressful event is just by walking away. Go to a room or outside area where you’re alone or in semi-privacy. If possible, we would suggest going outside for some fresh air, but when this isn’t possible, an empty room, preferably with a window you can open, is nearly as good.
Even just a brief walk – two minutes if you’re on a schedule, or up to ten if you have some free time – does amazing things for the stressed and cloudy mind. Get yourself away from the source of your stress, put it out of your mind, and just take the time to walk around and relax. You’ll find that when you come back, you’ll feel much more productive and calmer than before.
While you don’t always have to go outside when you’re walking away, doing so can provide instant relaxation. Going outdoors is a well-known and effective method of clearing your mind – hence the term “a breath of fresh air.”
According to the American Heart Association, spending time outside in nature is a proven way to reduce your stress. The article above states that spending time in the outdoors can help relieve you of the following:
- Lack of inspiration
- Antisocial feelings
While going outside may not be the cure-all of bad feelings, it will certainly help you feel somewhat better. If you need to get things off of your chest, going outside is one of the more reliable options to improve your mood, though maybe not the most powerful.
Take a Week Off
This option is useful for those who are stressed by unavoidable daily occurrences, such as pressure at work or from family and friends they live with. For especially stressful environments, taking a week or weekend away instead of a few minutes might be necessary to decompress fully.
According to Money.com, these are some of the best places to visit if you want to de-stress. Check them out below.
- Bay of Islands, New Zealand: known for sailing, diving, and water activities
- Little Corn Islands, Nicaragua: crystal-clear waters, white sand beaches, and secluded areas
- The Cyclades, Greece: a glamorous but secluded coastal destination, especially in the off-season
- Mallorca, Spain: Quiet caves and hiking trails in the off-season
- Sanibel Island, USA: home to serene beaches and a vast wildlife refuge packed with activities
- La Mauricie National Park, Canada: A large, peaceful reserve with skiing in the winter and canoeing in the summer
- Noosa, Australia: A large resort town known for its excellent surfing conditions
- Burgundy, France: a French town known for its wine, old towns, and river tours
Keep in mind that what we outlined above is meant more for a week-long extended stay – if you want to take just a day or a weekend off, it’s better to look for something closer and more affordable. Camping or RVing at a nearby park, for example, is a great option!
If you have the supplies ready, you can pack up and leave right after work for an extended weekend away, even if it’s a few hours’ drive. You might be surprised by how much just an hour’s difference can make you feel far away from your stressors and worries.
Talk to Someone
Venting or talking things out with someone else is always a reliable way to calm down and get sticky things off your mind. However, make sure that who you’re talking to is a reliable contact who won’t share what you might say in the heat of the moment! Choose someone who won’t judge you for what is said, who will remain calm, and who will help you find solutions for what’s bothering you.
An impartial third party is a great resource both for clearing your mind and getting through general hardships. However, make sure you repay them with the same courtesy when they’re feeling down, too.
Start a Diary
A diary or journal is a fantastic method of working through personal hardship, and it’s recommended by therapists and medical professionals alike. Putting your own thoughts down in front of you can often provide clarity, whether it’s from seeing for yourself how ridiculous you’ve been acting (it happens to all of us!) or illuminating a path that you didn’t see before.
However, a journal is a set of private thoughts and experiences. If you decide to keep one, make sure you put it in a safe place when it’s not in use. If you find someone else’s journal or diary, exercise common courtesy and keep their private thoughts private.
Exercise is a well-documented, medically sound way of clearing your mind and lightening your mood! Good exercise is known to release endorphins, which improve your mood and reduce stress.
One of the most wonderful things about clearing your mind with exercise is that it’s very versatile. There’s an exercise type or regime for any mood or schedule. If you’re on a five-minute break at work, do some stretches or some jumping jacks. If you have an hour, you could try a jog around the block or a yoga class. If you have an entire afternoon, a hiking trip might be a great way to clear your head.
Special activities to think about are exercises that can be used to blow off excess steam, like kickboxing or martial arts. These are great for especially high-stress situations.
Meditation is a profoundly traditional method of clearing the mind. Historically, it’s been used by saints, sages, and monks alike to clear the mind of impurities and reach an elevated mental state. It’s just as useful for people today! According to Healthline.com, meditation can provide twelve different science-proven benefits:
- Stress reduction
- Anxiety control
- Emotional stability
- Increased attentiveness
- Control of memory loss
- Increased kindness
- May help fight addictions
- Improved sleep
- Controls pain
- Decreased blood pressure
- Accessibility (you can do it anywhere, anytime)
Meditation can be done alone, on your own will, if you’re practiced at it. However, for beginners, we recommend guided meditation tracks that teach you the basics. These are widely available for free on the internet, or you can purchase them as well. Guided meditation classes are available, too, or even retreats that can combine meditation with a weekend away.
Aside from clearing your mind, meditation has other benefits, too, so it’s a great overall choice. For one, it’s known to help with forgiving others, as well as letting go of negative emotions. It can also reduce stress on both the body and mind.
Today, our world is phenomenally tech-driven and fast-paced. Unfortunately, this isn’t really something we can change, so instead, we have to change how it affects us. Being on a computer or phone for most of the day for weeks on end can be detrimental to both our minds and bodies, and not just because it’s a computer. The act of sitting stationary for so long is damaging, as well.
Unfortunately, being constantly connected to technology is terrible for disconnecting from what’s around us as it is. On top of that, as working individuals, being constantly connected to our phones and computers means we’re never truly away from work. It’s far too easy for colleagues and bosses to pull you in when things go wrong (even when things aren’t your responsibility!)
While putting out fires at work is a necessary evil, sometimes it’s more important to set some personal boundaries and relax a bit. It might feel tough to turn your phone and computer off and set them aside for the day, but if you do, you’ll be surprised by how much peace you get out of it. Combine this with a peaceful outdoor activity like a walk in the park or a hike through the woods, and you’ll have an especially potent mind-clearing mix!
The very most basic of things you can do to clear your mind is to distract yourself, especially if heavy issues are why you need to clear your mind in the first place. In situations like this, assuming work isn’t what’s bothering you to begin with, immersing yourself in work can sometimes be helpful – just not to the point that you start to neglect your problems. Distracting yourself sufficiently from a clouded mind can be done well with anything that requires activity, but not necessarily higher brain function.
We’ve talked about several good activities for distracting yourself already, such as exercise, meditation, and going for a walk. However, the list of things you can do to take your mind off of more troublesome thoughts is nearly endless. We’ve provided a list of several creative options here, courtesy of BuzzFeed:
- Color with some crayons
- Have a Netflix marathon
- Bake something new
- Play with Google
- Go to the park
- Go to the bookstore
- Go running
- Knit or crochet something
- Complete a puzzle
- Play a board game
- Clean your house
All of the above are great ways to distract yourself, although they may not be suited to all situations. If you need to distract yourself while at work, for example, going for a short walk is probably still your best bet.
Mindfulness, in this context, refers to focusing your mind entirely on an activity. It ends up being similar to a relaxed state, but it’s productive at the same time. In a mindful state, you’ll find that your brain is entirely focused on what you’re doing and is otherwise empty. It’s more or less a hyper-productive meditative state.
Mindfulness isn’t just important to cultivate to clear your mind. If you can learn to enter a mindful state while working on a regular basis, you can both boost your productivity and reduce your need for other mind-clearing activities. However, this can be difficult to achieve, as distractions are plentiful and accessible in our technological age. Who hasn’t taken a short break to google something at work, only to realize how much time they’ve wasted an hour later?
According to Verywell Mind, the best way to start promoting mindfulness at work is to begin practicing it in all aspects of your life, whether it be while eating, interacting with others, or during everyday activities like walking and gardening. It’s also important to take a break and breathe between events during the day. Doing so will help you cultivate this mindfulness.
One of the most mind-clearing activities for many people is actually cleaning! This doesn’t have to be clean sweeping your entire house, either – taking a few minutes to tidy up your desk and remove excess clutter at work can be a great way of maintaining your focus during a break, in addition to boosting your own productivity.
When you need to take a breather or clear your mind, pick out a small area that needs cleaning and take care of it. In addition to helping mentally, this will give you a breather from what you were doing before, as well as gradually tidying up your house if you keep at it!
However, if you’re a person that dislikes cleaning things, this may not be a good solution for you. If it feels like a chore, it undoubtedly won’t do the greatest job of clearing your mind. If you’re not a clean fiend, pick something else you like to do that helps you zone out, like mowing the lawn, doing the laundry, or organizing papers.
Listen to Music
Listening to music is another exceptional technique used to clear the mind. When we listen to music that we like, it fills our minds and is all we can think about. This is great for straight relaxation, but it can also be useful when you need to be productive. Put on something soothing like rain or nature sounds when you need to slow your mind for sleep. Alternatively, unobtrusive instrumental tracks are great for working or doing homework.
Music is a wonderful tool to have at your disposal because of its versatility. You can listen to music while working, playing, exercising, cooking, meditating, sleeping – you name it, and the two activities can go together in some way. Music can boost you up, calm you down, put you to sleep, and clear the mind, and it always produces a pleasant feeling.
According to the NAMM Foundation, listening to music has profound effects on your brain and your mood – enough to be measurable! We’ve listed some of these beneficial effects below.
- Music can engage the areas of the brain that are involved with paying attention
- Musical experience correlates to a greater understanding of language
- Musicians have superior memories as compared to non-musicians
- Listening to music can reduce heart rate, blood pressure, and anxiety
These are just a few of the beneficial effects of music, but with such incredible results, you should try to include music in your routine whenever you can!
Play with Animals
Playing with animals is a proven way to improve your mood! Having a pet around on its own makes you much happier, but if you don’t have any furry friends at home, there are other ways to interact with our furry four-legged friends for some much-needed stress relief. Puppy therapy is an example! Puppy rooms or puppy days are becoming a favorite stress-relieving activity for college students, too.
According to HelpGuide, animals can provide several mood-boosting benefits. These include:
- Less depression
- Lower blood pressure
- Elevated levels of dopamine and serotonin
- Lower triglyceride and cholesterol levels
- Longer lifespan after surviving a heart attack
- Thirty percent fewer doctor visits for those over sixty-five
- Even something as simple as watching a fish in an aquarium can provide measurable benefits. Your pet doesn’t have to be furry!
On top of the above that interacting with animals and pets can provide, explicitly owning a pet can provide additional benefits. These include:
- Increased exercise
- Opportunities to meet other pet lovers
- Reduced anxiety
- Daily structure in your routine
- Sensory stress relief
Several more benefits come with owning a pet, and many of these benefits relate to clearing the mind and reducing stress. However, owning a pet is a big commitment. If you don’t have the space, time, or money necessary to care for a pet properly, it’s best to pass or at least wait until you do. Instead, try visiting a puppy fair, aquarium, or other pet-related events for some relaxation!
Cry, Then Recover
If you’re really feeling beaten down with everything that’s going on, one of the simplest ways to find mental clarity is to let everything wash over you. After a good cry, we often feel rejuvenated, refreshed, and clearer of mind. This can be a rough method, but it’s guaranteed to make you feel better than you did going in. We all need a good cry sometimes.
However, the issue with this approach is that it doesn’t solve the problem. This downside is balanced out by the extra clarity that a cry can provide, but it doesn’t have any inherent benefit like exercising, cleaning, or working does. However, that shouldn’t discount it as a viable approach! Sometimes, crying is all you need to do to get something troublesome off your chest and out of your mind.
Having someone to be there with you when you’re feeling vulnerable can make this approach even more effective. The companionship of another person coupled with their support and love when you’re feeling down makes for a very potent soul-cleansing elixir. If you have a deep wound that needs healing, you may want to start here.
You should never feel ashamed that you’ve been feeling down because of mental cloudiness. This is a condition that affects everyone on Earth at some point in their lives – we all know how you feel! Losing mental clarity sucks, but it’s easily remedied with enough dedication and creativity.
We hope that the tips we’ve provided in this article get you started on your quest for mental clarity, and we wish you only the best in terms of happiness and self-improvement!