I've been studying the topic of mental clarity for months now.
This topic fascinates me because I know how important it is to live an intentional life.
I am convinced that mental clarity and focus are among the most important ingredients to:
- create meaningful things
- achieve extraordinary results
- find and reach our purpose
In this article, I've gathered all of my findings to think more clearly.
I still have a long way to go, but the following practices have significantly advanced my journey towards mental clarity.
I hope they'll help you as well.
We're living in a world of fog and noise
The era of information overload
We're bombarded with information all day long.
News, social media, videos, emails, messages. It never stops.
We're over stimulated with non stop notifications fighting for our attention.
Our brains have never consumed so much information. We spend more time in front of a screen than ever before.
This information overload clutters our mind and prevents mental clarity.
The lost space of silence and stillness
Nowadays, we're always busy. Quiet times are rare.
Whenever we're alone, waiting, or just have a moment to spare, we grab our phones. It's a reflex.
Waiting in line? Phone out. Feeling bored? Scroll through the phone. On a short break? Time to check messages.
Constant busyness and phone use mean we miss out on silence.
Silence, boredom, and just being are essential. They give us space to think, reflect, and sort our thoughts.
When we fill every gap with screen time, we lose these precious moments of clarity.
Mental clarity is essential to live an intentional life
It's like having a clear map for our life.
With clear minds, we make choices that align with our goals and values.
We focus on what really matter to us. Without clarity, we can easily drift into life's distractions.
Mental clarity acts as a compass, guiding us to live purposefully and make meaningful decisions.
The main benefits of mental clarity are:
- Better decision-making: Clearer thinking leads to smarter choices.
- Increased focus: Mental clarity sharpens our concentration.
- Less stress: A clear mind reduces anxiety and worry.
- Improved productivity: Clarity boosts efficiency and output.
- Enhanced creativity: Clear thinking fosters innovative ideas.
- Stronger relationships: Clarity improves communication and understanding with others.
- Greater purpose: A clear mind helps us align with our goals and values.
My Go-To Mental Clarity Cheatsheet for Razor Sharp Thinking
Below are the strategies I apply on my journey to crystal-clear thinking.
Obviously, I'm not perfect in applying these strategies, but I do my best, mental clarity is so important to me.
Have a clear eye vision
I spent years with poor vision because I didn't want to wear glasses. I hated glasses.
During these years, I couldn't see things clearly. I was living in a blur.
It clearly affected my mental clarity at that time.
Seeing things clearly in the real life is the first step to clear thinking.
How can we have mental clarity with a blurry eye vision?
If you don't see clearly, go to an eye doctor.
Seek outer order
"The professional will not tolerate disorder. He eliminates chaos from his world in order to banish it from his mind." - Steven Pressfield from his book "The War of Art".
"Outer order contributes to inner calm" - Gretchen Rubin.
"Design your house like your mind" - Jay Shetty
Until I was 26, I was disorganized:
- Big piles of clothes on my chair
- I always struggled to find my things
- Paperwork piling up
- Thousands of unread emails
- Endless todos on different places
I was living in a mess. And my mind reflected that.
Now, I don't consider myself to live in perfect order, but my environment is tidy.
My mental clarity is 10x better.
Here are my takeaways:
- Living in an organized space helps clear thinking and peace of mind.
- "Closing" the house at night is game-changing. There's a tweet from @SchrodingrsBrat that explains this idea: "Something that drastically increases my quality of sleep is “closing” the house at night. Leave no dishes to wash, laundry to fold, or trash to throw out for the next morning. Leaving today’s tasks for tomorrow impacts you psychologically: you’ll always wake up stuck in yesterday"
- It's hard to eliminate all chaos, especially when you have children, pets, etc. But reducing it brings many benefits for mental clarity.
Cut the noise (externally and internally)
Quit the news
I've written a whole article on why we should all quit the news.
The short version is:
- The negativity from the news is a poison for the mind
- Consuming the news doesn’t lead to any accomplishment
- The news is not just facts but also misinformation, propaganda and bias
- The news fuels cheap talk, zero change, and negativity loops
- The news is a constant noise that prevents mental clarity
Save your time, save your mind: quit the news ASAP.
Remove 99.99% of phone notifications
Notifications are noise, they constantly hijack our attention.
Most of them are pointless.
And I would let pointless notifications interrupt meaningful activities or clutter my mind? No way.
The only notifications I have on my phone are:
- Whatsapp: I even sometimes consider removing them and check my messages only when I want to.
- Text messages: same.
- Calls from close friends and family.
On top of that, my phone is on silent mode, 99% of the time.
I don't have any social media or email notification.
Email or social media will never have the power to interrupt my present moment.
That's simple, if I want to check my DMs on instagram, linkedin or twitter, I just open the app. Same for emails.
Notifications are time, energy and attention suckers. We need to protect ourselves from them or suffer from poor mental clarity.
Related article: Less is Better: 7 Reasons of Choosing Less
Getting the todos out of my mind
Every time I know I've got a new task to do, I get it out of my head.
I don't want this task to burden my thoughts.
This strategy works wonders for me.
To think clearly, we need to get rid of the clutter in our minds.
That means removing all the todos that we need to remember.
Each time you have a new task to do, get it out of your mind.
- Put it in your calendar on a time slot of your choice. That's what I do
- Put it in a to do list
- Put it where you want as long as you know your todos are there
Say no more often
Saying no to others is saying yes to yourself.
I've recently realized that saying no is a crucial skill to master to live an intentional life.
Always saying yes consumes time, energy and adds to our mental load.
It can even be a sign of a lack of self-love: always pleasing others to feel loved.
We don't have to say yes to everyone around.
By saying no, we save time, energy, and mental load.
Saying no with confidence means respecting and loving yourself, and not being afraid of disappointing others.
Set a vision
Defining our vision is essential for mental clarity.
Without a vision, we’re likely to wander through life and end up realizing the vision set out by others.
A vision is the clear image of what we want our future to be in 2-5 years.
Defining your vision is turning on your GPS and setting a destination.
A great way to define our vision is to imagine and write down our ideal day.
I detail the process in my dedicated article: The Ideal Day Exercise: Gain Clarity And Stop Wasting Time
I've been meditating (almost) every day since the beginning of 2023.
Before 2023, I'd made several attempts that lasted more or less a long time.
I couldn't stick with it because I found it boring. I had expectations, I wanted a quick ROI.
It was through talking to inspiring people who meditate regularly that I finally understood.
Meditation is a life-changing practice beyond the mental clarity it brings.
What's great about meditation is that it connects us to our true self.
Our self knows perfectly well what is good for us. Its vision is crystal-clear.
Regularly getting in touch with the self means achieving ultimate clarity.
The problem: the ego doesn't want us to spend time with the self.
Daily meditation calms the ego and gives us access to the self, which gives us access, with time, to a great mental clarity.
Here are some other wonderful benefits of meditation:
- Reduced psychological distress
- Better emotional health
- Better cognitive abilities
- Better physical health
When I was younger, I didn't understand the point of "going for a walk". It was so boring. It was something for old people.
Since then, I've finally understood what it brings.
Walking is great for clearing our head.
It's like stepping out of the mental noise into a calm space.
When we walk, our mind gets a break. It's a chance to breathe, think, and reset.
Plus, it's easy. Just put on your shoes and go.
A simple walk can make your thoughts clearer and sharper.
Simple, basic, effective.
For obvious reasons, exercise helps with mental clarity.
When we exercise, our body pumps more blood to the brain. This means more oxygen and nutrients for our brain cells, helping them work better.
Exercise also releases endorphins, which are chemicals that make us feel good and reduce stress. Less stress leads to clearer thinking.
Plus, exercise helps us sleep better, and good sleep is key for a clear mind.
Regular exercise keeps our brain healthy and our thoughts sharp.
Obviously, good sleep is key for a clear mind.
It's like hitting the reset button on our brain. When we sleep, our brain sort and stores our day's thoughts.
Think of it as nightly housekeeping. Without enough sleep, our thoughts can get jumbled, like a messy room.
So, for a sharp, focused mind, make sure you're getting enough rest.
I sleep at least 7.5 hours a night.
I'm currently doing intermittent fasting every day.
It lasts around 16 hours: between my dinner which ends around 8:30 pm, and my lunch the next day around 12:30 pm.
It's easy for me as I'm not a big fan of eating a breakfast every morning. But it can change, I'm flexible on that.
Fasting boosts mental clarity in a few key ways.
First, it reduces brain fog. Without constantly digesting food, our bodies use less energy on digestion. This frees up more energy for the brain.
Also, fasting increases ketone production. Ketones are like super fuel for our brains, making our thoughts clearer.
Plus, fasting lowers inflammation, which can impact brain function. So, less inflammation means a clearer mind.
In short, fasting simplifies our body's workload, leading to sharper thinking.
I still drink alcohol and I'm OK with that, but I do my best to avoid it during the week.
Alcohol clouds the mind.
It's like a fog that settles in, making clear ideas hard to grasp.
When we drink, we may feel relaxed at first, but our thoughts become slower and fuzzier.
It's simple: less alcohol means clearer thinking.
Imagine your brain as a clear sky. Alcohol is a cloud. Remove the cloud and your mental clarity will improve. It's a straightforward choice for a sharper mind.
Writing helps with mental clarity in a direct way.
It's like decluttering your mind. When you write, you take the jumbled thoughts from your head and put them on paper.
This process organizes your thoughts, making them clearer.
Writing also helps you focus on one thing at a time, which sharpens your thinking. Plus, seeing your thoughts written down can give you new insights.
It's a simple, effective tool for clearing your mind and understanding your ideas better.
Since October 2023, I've been taking supplements to maximize my energy levels, mental clarity, focus and overall health.
Obviously, I take them in addition to having a healthy lifestyle: 2 runs per week, 3 workouts, and eating organic, nutrient dense foods.
I recommend to make your own research, but here are supplements known to help mental clarity, fight brain fog and boost cognitive function:
- Omega 3's
- Vitamin D
- Magnesium (L-Threonate)
- Bacopa Monnieri (Brahmi)
- B Complex
- Gingko Biloba
Reflecting on all this, I see how vital mental clarity is for a meaningful life.
It's not about hacks or tips. It's about living with purpose. Whether it's keeping things tidy, turning off notifications, or just going for a walk, each step is a move towards clearer thinking.
This isn't about achieving perfection. It's about small, everyday choices that make a big difference.
So, as I keep learning and growing, I'm committed to these simple habits. They're my way to a clearer, more focused life.