If you're someone who enjoys my motivation articles, chances are it's because you wish to fill your life with inspiration/motivation.  Perhaps you're developing some clear goals you'd like to reach.  The big challenge we aspiring goal achievers face is maintaining enough motivation to move from desire into action.

One big obstacle to goal achievement that folks rarely talk about is brain fog.  In my opinion, brain fog is a huge contributor to that feeling of helplessness that keeps you stuck in the same place.  I've suffered from immense brain fog, in the past and also times of mental clarity.   There is a world of difference between the two.  When my mind is clear, I easily take action on things that I've been putting off for months.  This past weekend, I came to the conclusion that I must be an active participant in creating clarity of mind at all times. Because this is so important, I put together a list of the best ways to clear the mind so I never fall into the brain fog trap again.
The worse part about brain fog is that it sometimes feels like normal if you aren't aware of the symptoms.  I'm guilty of allow weeks or months to pass without realizing what's happening.  Actually, I do notice it, but I don't treat it as if it's a problem.  I just think things will get better on their own. But it rarely does unless I act to stop the forward movement.

Some of the signs I notice when I'm dealing with brain fog include:

+ A feeling of laziness and not wanting to do much.  Because I work for myself, these days are even more destructive because I could spend an entire day doing mindless activities in front of the computer.  When I have a string of unproductive days, I know that brain fog is taking over.

+Allowing my external environment to become messy/cluttered.  Whenever I have a clear mind, the first thing I want to do is clean & declutter.  Just like Eddy from Limitless.

+ Forgetting information and frequently losing my train of thought (even in a middle of a sentence).

+Low physical energy.

Those are my most obvious symptoms.  While it's happening, I tend to blame it on the natural effects aging.   It isn't until I'm out of the fog that I realize that it had nothing to do with my age.  This weekend, I realized that I was operating in a hazy state for quite a while.  Now that I'm on the other side, I can tell you what is contributing to me newly clear mind.  

DIET
Recently, I've made a few minor tweaks to my diet.  I was developing a habit of heading to the local convenience store several times a week to pick up multiple packets of pumpkin spice flavored madeleines.  I would often eat them as a snack on an empty stomach thereby giving my body a rush of sugar on the regular.  Pumpkin flavored pastries taste amazing but wreak havoc in the body.  I'm sure my blood sugar levels were all over the place.  I then decided to eliminate sweet snacks for the time being and get back to eating healthy salads again.  It wasn't long my mental clarity came right back.  

Often when I binged on sugary snacks, I was well aware of the physical changes occurring in my body as my sugar levels changed dramatically. I could actually feel the effects.  But I thought that feeling was only temporary.  Little did I know of the long-term effects that were infiltrating every area of my life.  Now that I know better. I have to do something about it.  It's also important to know that the health of our gut flora is closely related to our mental clarity.  I know it seems unrelated but there's a direct correlation.  In the medical community, our gut is known as "the second brain." So if you want to create a sharp level of focus, you may want to restock on your probiotics.   

BLOOD FLOW
One huge factor to having a clear mind is adequate blood flow to the brain.  I wear a Fitbit step counter every day and looking back at my results, I realize that there were so many days where I only got the bare minimum number steps in.  My lifestyle was extremely sedentary which means that my internal circulation was lacking.  Exercise increases oxygen blood flow to our extremities including our brains.  I get my best ideas while on walks or bouncing on the trampoline.  Both activities are great for ramping blood flow. The combination of incorporating regular walks again combined with healthy eating made a huge difference in my level of mental focus. 

NUTRITIONAL ENHANCEMENT
I should mention another tactic that I've used in the past to clear my brain fog.  This year I experimented with taking B vitamin shots with the hopes that it would support healthy hair & nails.  An unintended side effect was a huge increase in my energy levels and my ability to get things done. Suddenly I felt like I was carrying around an internal source of motivation with me at all times.  I got so much done.   Eventually, I graduated to a B6 & B12 shot and got similar benefits.  The good thing about the shots is that I didn't have to change anything else. So whenever I'm looking for a quick way to boost energy & clear the mental cobwebs, this is my go to.

MEDITATION
No article on improving brain function would be complete without mentioning meditation.  Meditation sharpens my mind like none other.  This practice has been a lifesaver over the years.   My only problem is in staying consistent.  I kinda have to be motivated to do it on a regular basis.  But if  I don't meditate regularly, I miss out on the amazing, brain powering benefits.  I think back to the times when I worked up to meditating 30-60 minutes a day. I felt unstoppable!  One of the keys to how I stayed consistent was using a meditation disk that lasted approx 30 minutes.  When I could no longer hear the faint music in the background, my session was complete.  I'm definitely bringing that practice back into my morning ritual as a daily practice.

PRACTICE THE ART OF FOCUS
I put this one further down on the list because it's kinda hard to do when you have a really foggy mind.  Basically, this is when you intentionally carry out tasks with a high level of focus (no multitasking) until the task is complete.  For extra points, you try to avoid engaging in a bunch of random thoughts while doing so.  You work single-handedly (and single-mindedly) on everything you do.  I practiced this a couple of years ago for a few weeks, and let me tell you, I have yet to replicate the type of results I got during that time.  It was as if I was reaping the results of hours of mindful meditation but I hadn't actually meditated.  I was "acting as if" and it worked out incredibly well. 

Other tactics that helped bring me out of a mindless state include:

+Cleaning & clearing out my environment.  When our surroundings are clear, we think better.

 +Altering your environment (working from a different location, driving a different route to work, going for a walk after work instead of heading straight home).

+Being close to nature.  This helps our mind to slow down because of the low level of stimulation.

If you want to accomplish anything in life, you need the help of your mind to rev up your motivation.  With 3 months left in the year, we have to enlist the power of our brain in order finish the year strong.  Start with nutrition and pair it with activities that bring blood flow to the brain. The sky is the limit from there. 

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