Mental Clarity Experiment

After a nonstop working streak of a few weeks fueled by caffeine and intense emotions, I decided to give a break yesterday. My working streak not only included my day job, blog, and Steemit account, but also a cardio or weight training six days a week.

Yesterday, all I had to do was not to drink any coffee and my mind and body shut down. I had to take a long nap in the afternoon. When I woke up, I had great mental clarity. I took my time to hang out in the nice weather outside.

I was relaxed. I knew that I had to solve a few problems in my life, but I wasn’t stressed about them. There are a few problems to be solved in any human life. I was able to enjoy myself outside. When I came back, I could work without having much stress.

There are a few problems to be solved in any human life.

My experience yesterday inspired me to cultivate the same mental state more often in my life. That mental state can be best described as mental clarity, or a lack of any intense emotions or irritating thoughts.

Benefits of Mental Clarity

When I have mental clarity, I can see the big picture of my life. I’m able to think holistically without getting obsessed about particular issues. I feel good. That good feeling doesn’t get in the way of my performance. I have peace of mind and I feel joy.

I appreciate my life. I see how lucky I am and I have been. The issues that keep my mind busy when I’m stressed don’t bother me that much when I have mental clarity. That doesn’t mean that I don’t do anything about them. I just put them in perspective.

This mental state is explained very well in the book How to Stop Worrying and Start Living by Dale Carnegie. I highly recommend it.

Effects of Intense Emotions

To some extent worries, fears, and stress stimulates my mind to perform at a higher level. If the intensity or duration of those emotions exceed that optimal threshold, those emotions stop being productive.

Moreover, work fueled by worries, fears, stress, and caffeine has its toll on mind and body. After a while, my mind as well as my body burns out.

On top of that, worry, fear, stress, and caffeine create an obsessive mental state. I become focused on what’s in front of me. That is a positive effect. The negative effect of it is that I miss the big picture.

The big picture is as important as the immediate tasks or problems in front of me, if not more important.

30 Day Mental Clarity Experiment

After my experience yesterday, I decided to do a 30 day mental clarity experiment. Instead of using worry, fear, anger, stress, and caffeine to fuel my work, I will make a conscious effort to motivate myself to focus on my work.

Moreover, I will let go of further distractions from my life. Luckily, I just completed a 30 day experiment on letting go of distraction. The mental clarity experiment will build nicely on top of that.

There are a few books that I want to mention here that is related to this experiment. If you want to do a similar experiment and dive into the topic, I recommend you read them.

  • How to Stop Worrying and Start Living by Dale Carnegie
  • Untethered Mind by Michael A. Singer
  • The Surrender Experiment by Michael A. Singer
  • Letting Go: The Pathway of Surrender by David R. Hawkins

The Surrender Experiment is especially interesting, because it documents how the author started as an academician yogi and ended up as a successful businessman.

As I have done with my reduced internet usage experiment, I’m going to draft a plan before I start and report my results after 30 days.

Sleep

Normally, I aim for eight hours of sleep every day, but I almost never make it. For the next 30 days, I’ll aim for seven hours, but pay more attention to it.

I’ll improve my sleep by reducing my caffeine consumption during the day. I’ll take a nap during my free days, if I feel the need.

Caffeine

I don’t do any recreational drugs. Neither do I drink alcohol on a regular basis. But caffeine is my only drug. I plan to restrict it to one mild espresso on working days, because I enjoy it very much. If that seems to interfere with this experiment, I might let that go as well.

Intense Emotions

Emotions of fear, anger, and worry interfere with mental clarity. I choose not to invest any mental energy on them when they come up. I also choose not to distract myself to avoid them. I choose to stay with them until they subside. In my experience, they come and go, if I don’t pay any attention to them.

The book Letting Go is a great resource on dealing with intense emotions. It boils down to neither suppressing them, nor escaping them with distractions, nor acting on them. Just stay with them, until they subside.

Distraction

This is my favorite escape mechanism. I don’t watch TV. Neither do I have a radio switched on all the time in the background while I work or drive. Nevertheless, I listen to some pop music and watch some comedy clips on YouTube.

I’m glad I have reduced my distraction to its current level, but now, it’s time to reduce it even further. So, I decide to let go of the comedy clips and pop music. I’ll stick with classical music. I’ll enjoy the silence or listen to a good audiobook instead of watching comedy clips.

I don’t have many people distracting me, so, that’s not a problem for me. If you have that problem, you might want to address that as well.

Space

By space, I mean giving myself some free time. I enjoy jumping from one activity to another, without given breaks in between. If I eat alone, I usually check my phone to read something or watch a clip. When I’m training in the gym, I listen to audiobooks or podcasts in between the sets.

That type of busyness interferes with mental clarity for sure. I’m going to give myself more space in the next 30 days. I’m going to enjoy some meals without distracting myself with anything else. I’ll give breaks in between activities in the free days and do simply nothing during those periods.

Excess Calories

I realized that consuming excessive calories also interferes with mental clarity. I decided to cut my calories a few days ago just for dietary reasons. That decision will have some benefits on my mental clarity as well.

I weigh the oatmeal I eat every morning. I’ll cut 50 grams from my breakfast, which makes around 186 calories per day. That doesn’t sound much, but it’s an amount that is sustainable for me. I plan to keep this level of calories for a long time, not just for a few weeks of crash diet.

Clutter

As I have mentioned in a post about boosting mind power, unnecessary objects interfere with mental clarity as well. I pay attention to get rid of unnecessary stuff from my home regularly. So, nothing will change much in my case. I just wanted to mention it for you, in case this is a problem for you.

One thing I could pay more attention is to keep things tidy.

Clutter in Consciousness

Just like the average human mind, my mind is also filled with unnecessary, irrelevant, useless thoughts. I choose to let them go and not pay attention to them. I’m not going to pick up a meditation habit at this moment, but I’m going to be mindful about the clutter in my mind.

Good to Have a Plan

Actually, I’m glad I’ve written this plan. This plan makes me think that this experiment will be much easier than I thought it would be. The only issues I have to pay extra attention to is caffeine and distraction.

I must also admit that doing the first experiment of reduced Internet usage made this experiment much easier.

If you use Internet excessively, I suggest that you try to address that issue first in a 30 day experiment and then continue with a mental clarity experiment. Here are three posts that might help you with that.

Conclusion

In yesterday’s post, I discussed emotional states for high performance. Mental clarity was one of those states. After a day of recuperation yesterday, I’m inspired to increase my mental clarity. I feel like this will not only increase my performance, but also my overall quality of life.

If you feel like you can benefit from some mental clarity, join me in this experiment, and let me know how it works out for you. I will definitely let you know in my report after 30 days.

Burak Bilgin
Software developer with a Ph.D. and 15 years of experience. I write daily on personal development and life lessons. Sign up to my email newsletter to receive a weekly overview of my latest content on personal development and life lessons.