A healthy mind in a healthy body - that's what we believe in, here at Mava Sports. That's why in this article we will tackle the issue of mental clarity and propose a few ways to help you attain and maintain it. Because we live in the era of information, we are being exposed to a constant flux of information, that may not all be necessary and healthy. Not all information is knowledge. Scientists even say that the clutter of technology is to blame for the overall decrease in attention spans and the ability to learn. Despite these, there are methods you can apply to release yourself from the grip of an over-stimulating environment and free your mind from stress.
Applying these methods to improve your lifestyle will also transfer to your fitness journey. It is all interconnected. Your mental health influences your physical health and vice-versa. Once you attain a superior level of mental clarity, you will be more focused on your goals, you will work out more efficiently, and benefit from enhanced well-being.
1. SPACE MINIMALISM
Studies suggest that the physical space you spend most of your time in can positively or negatively impact your mental health. Basically, "mess creates stress". Physical environmental clutter exposes your mind to excessive stimuli, which is very distracting. The space in which you work and sleep should be relaxing and pleasing. Take a minimalist approach and get rid of objects that serve no purpose other than distracting you from properly focusing or resting. Place these items outside of your field of vision. As the saying goes: "out of sight, out of mind". Do the same for your online workspace. Make sure your computer desktop is organized and that you don't have folders and icons aimlessly floating around.
2. DAILY ROUTINE
Most athletes have specific pattern movements that they go through before actually performing. These are designed to not only prepare their minds and bodies for training, but they also recreate a successful performance. If you are working out, you've probably already designed a routine that puts in the "comfort zone". Design a daily routine to help you focus better, whether it's a morning warm-up or drinking your coffee in peace, it'll be just as effective. Design a routine that enables you to be productive and focused and try to recreate these settings in the spaces where you work as well. This will keep your mind focused and clear.
Multi-tasking is actually "task-switching". It can be quite effective when you have to deal with medial tasks, but it can impact your productivity and attention to detail on very important tasks. Try not to multi-task if you care about the quality of your work and about your mental health. It’s overwhelming to keep up with multiple tasks at the same time. Prioritize your most important tasks and then give each task your undivided attention for a while. Switch between your top priority tasks, but stay on a single one for a period of time and give it your full attention in order to achieve better focus and excellent results.
4. WORK AND REST
Studies have found that you are more focused and productive when you have a stable work/rest ratio. It's important to be able to properly focus during your work day and it is equally important to allow your mind to rest after going processing information. The Pomodoro technique suggests the following work/rest ratio: 20 minutes of work, followed by 5 minutes of rest. You can also do 52 minutes of work, followed by 17 minutes of rest, or just experiment until you find the right work/rest ratio for you.
5. DIET AND SLEEP
Heavily processed foods and foods that are high in sugar negatively impact your cognitive functions. An unhealthy diet can make you experience crashes during the day and make you feel exhausted before you even finish your workday. Try to eat healthy foods that provide you with natural and organic energy, and avoid foods with preservatives and additives. Additionally, lack of sleep or poor quality of sleep will hinder your ability to learn and process information. Aim for 7-8 hours of uninterrupted sleep per night, and you'll feel much more energetic throughout your day. This will also enhance your athletic performance and keep you motivated to reach your fitness goals.
Avoid too many external stimuli, because they clutter your mind. Simplify your life by doing a “tech detox” once a week, when you don't use electronics, your phone, and unplug yourself from all of your social media. The world won't stop spinning without you, so don't worry. You need tour break in order to release yourself from the grip of every single "beep" sound that immediately stimulates you to react. Take a day out of your week to fully enjoy nature and genuine relationships with flesh and bones beings.
7. MAKE A LIST
Don't occupy your mental RAM with unnecessary information. Clear your working memory for clear thinking and write down reminders and to-do lists. It's like putting your information on an "external drive". This method will also help you to actually accomplish your lists. Once it's materialized in writing, chances are that you'll be more encouraged to get on it. Spend a few minutes organizing and prioritizing your list, and then use the free memory space you created to come up with the solutions and necessary steps to accomplish your goals. Make a list every day until it becomes a habit. This will help you commit to tasks and you'll have excellent results.
Take 10 minutes out of your day to write down everything that comes to your mind. No matter how random, funny, or ridiculous the things you write down may seem like, they are actually floating in your mind just waiting to be tackled. As soon as you finish this process, you'll see the matters that are important to you surface and you can focus on them more. As for the brain dump, it's cool to sit down and observe what randomness your mind generates. You don't have to keep it, just release it. It will increase your level of self-awareness, and that is always a good thing.
9. WORK OUT
Moving your body and working out helps you oxygenate your brain. You should have a proper fitness program that you follow regularly, whether it’s weightlifting or engaging in sports such as volleyball or tennis. But it's important to be active outside of your fitness routine as well. When your brain starts to get foggy, chances are that you need more oxygen. So get up and go outside. You can go for a walk, a jog, bike ride, or walk your dog. You can also simply do some deep breathing exercises and focus on your breath. A healthy break like a quick stretching exercise or a walk can reboot your system in just 10-15 minutes. You will feel refreshed and attain the desired mental clarity to help you get on with your day with ease.
10. STAY HYDRATED
Water helps you flush out toxins that gather especially if you eat heavy foods. If you don't drink enough water, you will end up mistaking thirst for hunger, which can lead to weight gain and dehydration. Lack of proper hydration leads to increased mental fog, which hinders your performance and decreases your quality of work. Additionally, consume small snacks during the day to prevent you from getting "hangry". Don't eat too much either, or you will become sluggish. Simply eat small meals when you are hungry and constantly sip water to keep your brain at optimal functions.
Mental health is just as important as physical health, and one impacts the other. Make sure you take care of your mind just as much as you take care of your body. Don’t allow yourself to get over-stimulated by excessive stimuli that do nothing other than hindering your performance. Just as you shouldn’t allow junk into your body, you shouldn’t allow junk into your mind either.
Spend time applying these methods because the process itself is enjoyable. Not only will you feel good writing down your lists and brain dump, but you will also benefit from mental release and enhanced focus. Make sure you stay hydrated, take a walk every day, and design a routine and workspace that helps you be more productive and mentally clear. You will enjoy the feeling of enhanced well-being and have more energy to get you through your busy day!