In today’s fast-paced work-oriented world, many people find themselves operating in a perpetual mental fog. Between work, keeping a house, raising children, and maintaining social obligations, many people feel like they go through their day on auto-pilot and never really take in what is happening around them.
More and more people are waking up to the importance of mental clarity. Things like mindfulness exercises and meditation are meant to produce a clear mental state conducive to taking in information about the world around you and promoting overall mental and physical wellbeing.
Here are 5 healthy habits you can pick up to promote mental clarity in your life.
1. Practice Mindfulness
Mindfulness can be defined as the “quality or state of being achieved by focusing on one’s present moment.” Mindfulness exercises are meant to train oneself to take in the present moment and accept them without judgment. One common mindfulness technique is to focus on one’s immediate perceptions. Mindfulness has been shown to be an effective method of managing symptoms of depression and anxiety.
2. Regular exercise
The mind and the body are not two separate things but interdependent and connected. The state of the body has a direct effect on the state of the mind and vice versa. One way to lift a mental fog is to get regular exercise. We are not saying you have to hit the gym 4 hours a day, simply some mild to moderate exercise for at least an hour a day will do.
3. Get regular sleep
Sleep is more than just a way our body rests from the day. It is also an extremely important part of mental processing. Sleep helps process memories and emotions from the previous day, encoding them into long term memory and increasing recall. An irregular sleep schedule can interrupt these processes and make it harder to use the full potential of your mind
One unique capacity of humans is our ability to reflect on our own beliefs and judgments and examine our reasons and evidence for those beliefs and feelings. Engaging in critical self-reflection about one’s beliefs and values is a way to keep your mind sharp. Just like an athlete needs to train their body, self-reflection trains your mind and helps you better assess information. Try to get in the habit of critically examining your own thoughts, asking yourself questions like “what reasons do I have for my beliefs?” or “Are my feelings an accurate representation of events?”
5. Recreation is important
The mind also needs time to rest. Recreation is an important part of human flourishing as it allows us to exercise our creativity and contributes to our self-actualization. Make sure you set aside specific times to indulge in your hobbies. Doing so will give you a goal to work towards, and give you a chance to build some skills that may be useful elsewhere in life. It is true that “all work and no play makes Jack/Jill a dull boy/girl.”