You most likely have had at least one off day. A day where no matter how hard you try your attention drifts, and you find yourself in a mental fog. While off days are completely normal, they can be incredibly frustrating especially when you have a lot on your plate.
You have most likely also experienced a day in which everything just seems to be going perfectly, you are in the zone, attentive, and feel as if nothing can stop you. This feeling is what represents mental clarity.
While it is obviously better to have mental clarity over mental fog, it really isn’t as simple as choosing which mental state you’d like for the day. The mind is affected by many different variables and each of these variables can impact your ability to think clearly, stay attentive, and be productive.
Below is a look at what constitutes mental clarity, what could cause mental fog, and ways that you can promote mental clarity. While these tips won’t guarantee that you will be on top of your game all the time, they can support your body and mind to have more days of mental clarity.
What is mental clarity?
Mental clarity is a state in which your perception is unclouded and you are fully present and engaged within the moment. The times where you were fully in the moment and can recall exact details of an event or day are the best examples of when you have experienced mental clarity.
Mental clarity is closely tied with your engagement in an activity like when you are in the state of Flow. When you are in a state of Flow you are completely engrossed in the present and the task at hand. Time seems to fly by and your body and mind are being utilized to their maximum potential. Flow can be seen in musicians during a concert where they are performing a song perfectly and seem completely engaged with every note being played.
While Flow represents the extreme in mental clarity, simply having an unclouded perception where you can operate effectively represents mental clarity.
What causes mental fog?
Mental fog is the antithesis of mental clarity. When you experience mental fog it can become hard to concentrate, difficult to maintain focus, and your mind is often adrift somewhere else.
While there is no single cause of mental fog, there are things that can increase your chances of having a clouded perception. Below is a look at possible factors that can contribute to a clouded mind.
Lack of sleep
If you have ever gone without sleep, you have most definitely felt the effects of clouded perception. Sleep plays an important restorative process within the body and mind. Hormones, neurotransmitters, and many bodily functions rely on sleep to function at their best. Going for an extended period without sleep can cause impaired cognitive performance, decreased energy levels, alterations to mood, and poor memory.
These side effects of lack of sleep are the contributing factors to brain fog associated with a lack of sleep. Lack of sleep is actually so impactful on the mind that being awake for at least 24 hours is equal to having a blood alcohol level above the legal limit according to the CDC.
Stress is another large factor that can contribute to a fogged perception. There are many factors that can cause you to be stressed and while some stress can facilitate mental clarity and high performance, chronic stress can be detrimental and pull you away from the present moment.
An example would be if you are stressed about something that may occur in the future. When trying to concentrate on things occurring right in front of you, you may have intrusive thoughts and worries about something in the future. You can also be preoccupied with stress that occurred in the past.
In today’s world, there are countless distractions that can pull your attention and mental clarity from the task at hand. Texts, emails, social media notifications, and others rob you of your mental clarity by bombarding your mind with unnecessary and distracting information.
The biggest culprit that leads to distraction is your phone. If you were to try and think back to a time where you were completely in the moment with a phone in your hand, you would most likely be unable to think of one. Social media as an example thrives on the mindless scrolling it promotes to its users
The human brain is only capable of analyzing so much information at one given time. When your phone goes off and pulls your attention aside to look at a meme your friend sent you, it is clouding your mind from the task at hand and ultimately facilitating a bad habit of checking your phone.
Phone distractions have even become bad enough that there are actually types of anxiety that are caused by the anticipation of phone notifications.
Your body and mind need a number of different micronutrients and minerals to function at their very best. When your body becomes deficient in one or more nutrients it can affect you both physically and mentally. Nootropics are molecules or supplements that aim to help with brain functioning and can be a great way of ensuring your brain and mind are taken care of.
Ways to promote mental clarity
As stated previously there is not really a way to suddenly activate mental clarity. It may be easier for some than others to achieve, but there are actions you can take to increase the likelihood that you attain mental clarity. Below is a look at some ways that you can support your mind and body to achieve mental clarity.
Live a healthy lifestyle
Living a healthy lifestyle may seem like a cliche but in reality, it can have profound effects on both your physical and mental health. Getting routine exercise, eating well, and having good social health is important to your overall physical wellness.
These factors also play a large role in your mental well-being. Feeling good about yourself and having your health are attributes that can better allow you to be in the moment and enjoy life as it is. Without your health, it is incredibly difficult to attain mental clarity and stress surrounding poor health can severely impact your ability to be in the moment.
Take charge of your nutrition
Eating a well-balanced diet is the best way to ensure that your brain and body is getting the necessary molecules it needs. While a good diet is essential for many aspects of your health, it may be difficult to fill your diet with every single nutrient needs to optimally function. MitoQ Brain is a great way to support your brain health and support mental clarity. With MitoQ, Ginkgo, Zembrin® Kanna Extract, Huperzine A, and Sharp PS® Phosphatidylserine MitoQ Brain is a supplement tailor-made to help support ideal cognitive functioning and support mental clarity.
The word meditation to most people evokes images of Tibetan monks sitting for hours on end meditating. While they are performing meditation, they are very advanced in their meditation practices. Meditation, in reality, is a tool that anybody can utilize to practice mindfulness.
Meditation is a great tool to help facilitate mental clarity because it forces your mind to take a second and notice the world around it. Soaking in the sounds, smells, sensations, and movements of the body are all things that can be a part of meditation.
Meditation helps with mental clarity because it places your mind in the present moment and attempts to take the busyness of the mind and calm it to a point in which your perception is no longer clouded.
In summary mental clarity is a state of mind in which your perception is clear and you are able to sustain focus and operate at a high level. Mental fog is a mental state in which your perception is clouded and it can be difficult to stay attentive, stay on task, or really be present at the moment. Mental fog can be caused by a number of different factors which include stress, sleeplessness, distraction, and nutrient deficiency. Mental clarity can be achieved by supporting your body and mind through meditation, healthy living, and taking charge of your nutrition.
With this information, you can do your best to avoid common causes of mental fog and increase actions that promote mental clarity. This double-sided approach will give you the best shot at attaining mental clarity.
Reviewed by: Kai Man Yuen/ BSc., PGDipSci., MSc.