clarity

How to Gain Clarity of Mind

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Sometimes fog is visible and we’re aware of it. But it can often pose as humidity that subtly dims our vision. We don’t notice the dullness and weight until the contrast of clarity brings perspective.

An early glimpse of fall recently opened my eyes to clarity. The lack of humidity in the air made the colors of the sky and trees more vivid and bright. The air was cooler, the atmosphere lighter. Until it was gone, I hadn’t noticed the constant, low-level fog of humidity in the air that had been hovering for months. But once it lifted, I was completely conscious of the change.

What is Clarity?

Clearness or lucidity as to perception or understanding; freedom from indistinctness or ambiguity.

We don’t notice that we’ve been seeing things dimly, darkly, as in a mirror until we have clarity.

The same is true for our minds. We can get mired down in automatic negative thoughts, long to-do lists, and the expectations of others. Our thoughts swirl in our mind and cloud our thinking. This overwhelmed state of mind might even feel normal as we rush from home to school to work to activities and back again.

How Can We Get Clarity of Mind When…

  • Our thoughts are muddled?
  • Our next step is not clear?
  • Our problems are hijacking our thoughts and keeping us from being present?
  • Our emotions are driving our decisions?
  • Our modern environment causes distraction and prevents us from hearing the still, small voice of God?
  • Our fears are paralyzing?

The first (and most important) step to getting clear is to simply recognize our foggy thinking. We may not even notice that we aren’t thinking clearly. Perhaps we are so used to the constant fog that we don’t know how it feels to have clarity of mind. We may just feel the emotional results in our countenance with frustration, impatience, ingratitude, or lack of joy.

I know that I SHOULD feel joy right now, but I don’t. I know that I don’t want to be impatient with my kids, but I am. Something isn’t jiving. What is going on in my head that is distorting my thinking?

Here are some actions we can take to gain clarity:

1 – Pay attention to your thought life. As humans, we have the unique ability to think about what we think about. So many of our thoughts are automatic and completely subconscious, and we may be unaware of them. What negative thoughts are running through your head? Are you bringing in past memories and feelings that really have no bearing on the situation or problem at hand? Once we become aware of our subconscious negative thoughts, we can begin to shine the light of truth on them. Which brings me to number 2…

2 – Get into scripture. God speaks through His living word, so getting into scripture is one of the best things we can do to align our thinking. From personal experience, I know that reading, memorizing, and meditating on scripture always brings me perspective.

2 – Get alone. Take a break, and get alone with your thoughts. Go for a walk, grab a coffee by yourself, take a bath, or just take a solo trip to the grocery store. Pray or meditate on scripture to clear your mind. Solitude promotes clarity. Even Jesus needed to get alone sometimes; it’s okay to admit we need that too. Some of us need more solitude than others. (Three cheers for those introverts out there!)

3 – Get some vitamin N. Nature is calming and refreshing for our minds. Even if it’s just for 10 minutes, go someplace where you can see the sky, grass, and trees. Being in nature can help bring perspective and give us clarity of thought. My problem might seem huge when I’m in my man-made kitchen; but outside under the big sky, I know that it’s a small, temporary diversion.

4 – Lose your phone. Not literally, but step away from it for a little while. Digital dementia is real, and our phones are changing the way our brains work. Taking a significant break from the constant dings and distractions helps break our distraction-seeking habits and encourages clearer thinking.

5 – Write to think. There is a reason that so many great leaders in history kept journals. Writing helps us clarify what we think. Journaling about a situation, problem, or just about the overwhelm of your day might be just the thing to help you focus in on the root of those emotions that are keeping clarity at bay.

6 – Seek Godly counsel. Sometimes writing is not our thing and we need to think as we talk. Talking about your swirling thoughts with a trusted friend, loved one, or counselor is another way to shine the light on our thoughts and sort them out.

How do you gain clarity and perspective when the craziness of modern life gives you brain fog? Leave a comment and let me know!

 

5 Comments

  1. This is really helpful post for me. I’m going through a time where I have to make a lot of big decisions, and I’m definitely struggling with unclear thinking in the face of all this complexity. I’m going to go do tip number 2 right now! Thank you!

    1. Thanks for reading, Amanda! I’d love to pray for you – for discernment and that God would lead you clearly in His will. Let me know how else I can pray for you.

  2. LOVED this post…and it was so beautifully written I could literally see the images you painted with your words!

    1. Thanks for reading, Melinda!

  3. Jeni, I loved these points, especially the vitamin N! I use that one all the time out where I live. Lots of wisdom here in such an important area to be focused on! Thank you for sharing!

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