Mental Clarity and Modern Living: A Guide

mental clarity

What is Mental Clarity?

Let’s go on a cursory glance around your day; how much of it did you feel contributed to your year? How many of your priorities for the day, the week, or even the month played an active part in designing your day, if at all? You probably haven’t thought about these before; to be fair it never really occurred to me until recently. 

This article is a guide to help you find your essential questions, and steer you towards the answers that seem most relevant to your life. 

It’s difficult to figure out what kind of deep, intrinsic motivation makes us do the things we do and consistently keep going. This is mainly because it is easy not to. It’s easy not to be asking ourselves important questions each time we make a decision. To get swept up in what everyone else is saying matters the most. To operate, essentially, on autopilot.

This was largely how I was in school, back when I was being told the things I should care about and consider important. I think this highlights one of the most important things we overlook when we look at success; that the value of success is inherently individual. 

Consider the way we are hyper-connected; we’re being bombarded by an opinion overload and it could give us the impression that nothing we do or achieve is ever enough. In other words, it becomes easier to focus on things that distract us from our life than to focus on the things we want to pay the most attention to. 

How do we achieve Mental Clarity?

Greg Mckeown in his book ‘Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less’, explains that there are far too many things we could be doing at any given moment; while they may seem beneficial, only a few are truly vital or necessary. This contributes to the discontent of feeling spread too thin, yet not achieving anything.

Essentialism aims to combat this by ‘distinguishing the vital few from the trivial many.’ Taking the time to explore your choices, asking yourself ‘which of these will allow me to make the highest contribution towards my goal?’. This is something we must learn to do in all situations of life instead of reactively saying yes to everything. 

Mental clarity
Image Source: Essentialism, Greg Mckeown.

Once I started to use this philosophy to remove distractions and filter my own efforts; I discovered the art of curating my life. There is great freedom in creating your own rules to free your mental space.

You can then use your energy to progress in what is vital to you instead of making a millimeter of progress in all directions.

Mental clarity
Image Source: Essentialism, Greg Mckeown.

Let’s get out of the theory for a bit; how is it practically possible for me to generate enough mental space to have some semblance of mental clarity?

Well, one excellent way to do this is the 24-hour dopamine detox. Basically, a whole day without using any technology, without doing any work, exercise, reading, or listening to music. It would also be helpful to journal during this time. Doing this means taking a break from life, leaving yourself alone, and giving your mind a break for once.

Routinely taking breaks like this ensures you can recentre yourself and gain a fresh perspective on things. 

The beauty of mental clarity is that it’s more of a process than a definition. 

It can be a different process for everyone. For me, it all comes down to how much you listen to your motivations and build on them. But I think it’s time to be a little more inspired by ourselves, and curate our own kind of modern living. What I’m trying to say is: brew yourself a cup of coffee, take a break, and exist in a way that feels right to you.

About the author: Ananya Ananth is a Media and Comm. student who writes, dances, and pets cats. Will be found vibing to music and instant coffee at all hours.

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