Do you feel like your thoughts are scattered?
Is it difficult to finish a task due to distractions?
Are you overwhelmed when anything stressful happens in your life?
You are NOT alone!
Life Full of Distractions
Many of us walk around distracted and practically in a daze because we have so many things going on in our heads. We live lives full of distractions that all vie for our attention: work, school, kids, pets, money, relationships, health, social media, and the list goes on and on. All of the stressors in our lives slowly chip away at our ability to think clearly. Even what we eat, how well (or not) we sleep and how much water we drink each day plays into how well we function mentally.
The Importance of Thinking Clearly
The ability to think clearly and accurately is important in all aspects of life.
Some studies estimate that we make on average 35,000 decisions per day. That number sounds astounding at first glance! But from the moment you wake up you start making decisions. What will I wear today? What bills do I need to pay? Should I change my work route because of the construction I saw yesterday? Should I schedule that doctor’s appointment for this week or next? Should I cook tonight or grab take out? By the time you make coffee you have made at least a couple hundred decisions. Some may be so routine that you wouldn’t even consider it a decision, but each one still takes energy.
Stress Makes Everything Harder
When you are stressed, the ability to make these decisions becomes tiresome and even anxiety inducing. You start to procrastinate getting things done because it feels like too much to accomplish. Then you start to feel bad about yourself for not getting everything done, and that makes you feel the stress even more intensely. This creates a negative feedback loop that keeps you stuck in the stress.
Ways to Help
The good news is that you don’t have to keep letting all of your stress control your life. There are ways to give yourself the support you need to better handle the stress. With a little commitment and daily routine, you can start to make the small changes that will lead to clearer, more focused thinking.
Step 1 - Hydration & Nutrition
Hydration - Drinking enough water through out the day increases and enhances all of your body’s functions. Your brain is composed of about 73% water, and water is used for all aspects of brain health including making neurotransmitters (important brain chemicals) and hormones.
Nutrition - Good nutrition also improves all aspects of your health. There are many healthy diets and fads out there, but a good rule of thumb is to stick to foods that occur in their natural state. Highly processed foods do not contain the nutrients that our bodies need and often have high amounts of sugar, fat and preservatives that can leave you feeling sluggish and tired
Step 2 - Sleep
Getting good quality sleep is as essential as food and water. Adults need 7-9 hours a night. Sleep is when your brain forms new neural pathways that have to do with learning and creating memories, and it also removes toxins that build up while you are awake. Poor sleep habits lead to difficulties concentrating, increased stress, depression, memory issues, and overall impaired thinking. If you are struggling with sleep, you should reach out to a professional who can help.
Step 3 - Relaxation & Meditation
Meditation is a great way to remove mental clutter. Creating a time each day to clear your mind and relax is important to help decrease your stress levels, and over time will help you develop clearer thinking. There are books, videos and great podcasts to help you find the method of meditating that works for you.
Step 4 - Movement & Exercise
Your mind and body are intimately connected. Your brain is the master control for the movement of your body, but how you move your body affects how you feel and think. Exercise stimulates the production of dopamine, a neurotransmitter that gives you the feelings of being happy and optimistic.
Physical exercise like walking, swimming, and riding a bike can reduce the feelings of depression, fatigue and confusion.
Meditative movement such as Yoga, Qigong and Tai chi can help reduce symptoms of PTSD, stress, and anxiety.
Step 5 - Remove Distractions
Distractions steal your attention away from what you really need to do. This is where the procrastination comes in. Often when we feel stressed or overwhelmed, we procrastinate more. We are already too tired to handle anything else, so we “check out” mentally by getting lost in a side project or spending time scrolling social media or the news. That’s why improving your physical health comes first. When you feel better you are more focused, and your attention doesn’t get so easily distracted.
Step 6 - Schedule Breaks
One way to keep your mind clear is to take frequent, scheduled breaks. Even when you don’t feel like you need one, a short 10-minute break can be revitalizing and give you the energy to keep going.
This also helps with procrastination. If you know you will be getting a break if you finish some tasks, and you will be less likely to get distracted.
Step 7 - Know your Values
When you identify your values, it can help you make better decisions. A lack of understanding what is important to you can make decision making more difficult. Think about what matters to you most. Is it family, friendships, or having a meaningful job? It doesn’t have to be just one thing.
Once you define your values, they will guide your decisions and your direction in life.
Step 8 - Create Goals
Goals are useful in many ways, but perhaps their greatest utility is in the clarity they provide. Goals help you focus on what you want to achieve. Create a vision board or place your plan where you see it often.
Being specific about your goals is important if you want to make changes in your life that will help you reach them. Schedule daily, weekly and monthly mini-goals that all work towards your big goal. Track & celebrate your success.
Try and incorporate a few of these steps each week, until you can fit them all into your daily and weekly routines.
Ultimately, no one can make you do these things. You have to want to make these positive changes in your life. Once you do, you will see an improvement in the way you feel, the way you think and how you see your life’s potential.
Life coaching can help you stay accountable as you make these changes. Implementing new changes into your daily routine isn’t always easy, and having someone to encourage and support you along the way can make sure you stay on track. I offer different ways to support your personal growth and progress. You can schedule a Free Discovery Call and we can discuss your specific needs.
Ready to Get Clarity?
Take the 1st Step
& get your Clarity Workbook & Videos today!