The effects of unresolved stress are cumulative. Stress depletes the pituitary, adrenal, and thyroid glands. It compromises the immune system and lowers your resistance to illness. It has also been linked to conditions like cancer, heart disease, and high blood pressure. Simply put, stress can destroy your health.
Prolonged stress has also been linked to impaired mental clarity and even depression.
Fortunately, there are many tools and techniques that can improve mental clarity as well as your outlook on life. Here are some things I recommend.
Supplements for Mental Clarity
Certain vitamins and herbs can play a role in improving mental clarity and helping to boost your mood. Some supplements for mental clarity include:
- Iron. Studies indicate that iron can help improve short-term memory loss and concentration. If you aren't using iron cookware regularly, I recommend that you take 10 to 15 mg of elemental iron a day.
- Ginkgo biloba. Ginkgo biloba's antioxidant action helps to protect the brain from free radical damage that can cause a decline in mental clarity. It also has the ability to stimulate blood flow to critical regions of the brain. A good daily maintenance dosage is 10 mg of ginkgo that has been standardized to contain 24% of the flavonoid glycosides, which helps maintain brain function and cognitive performance as you age. For intensive use, I recommend 60 to 120 mg per day.
- Vitamin B12 and Folic Acid. Low blood levels of vitamin B12 and folic acid can cause a reduction in mental clarity. Taking a good multinutrient that contains each of the B vitamins and at least 400 mcg of folic acid and 100 mcg of B12 daily helps improve mental clarity and supports short- and long-term memory.
- Niacinamide. Vitamin B3 (niacinamide) plays an important role in improving mental clarity and memory function. I recommend taking 250 mg per day.
Be Careful of Aluminum
Numerous studies have found that higher amounts of aluminum in drinking water and food can cause impaired mental clarity.
We've long known that aluminum leeches easily from cookware and is readily absorbed into your system. For this reason, I recommend using iron cookware instead of aluminum. Doing so also help to boost your iron stores.
Another way to reduce aluminum (and countless other harmful contaminants) is to purify your drinking water through the process of distillation.
Visualization for Stress Relief & Mental Clarity
Visualization can be a very positive tool in improving mental clarity, reducing stress, and restoring a healthier, happier perception of yourself and the world.
There are endless methods and sequences for visualization, and there's no right or wrong way to do it. Here is a a great exercise for relaxation and visualization that you can easily modify it to suit your needs.
Step 1: Relive Your Day
As you lie in bed, quickly relive the events of the day. If there were instances where you expressed any anger, bitterness, ill will, hatred, or other negative feelings (either verbally or even if you just had these types of thoughts), you need to visualize the situation in your mind, and picture yourself handling it in a positive manner. After doing this for several weeks, you will gradually begin to automatically handle real-life situations in a positive manner. Mentally “transforming” the negative attitudes and feelings will also allow only positive and constructive thoughts to flourish in your subconscious mind.
Step 2: Forgiveness
As you begin to re-examine and understand how you react to others, you’ll most likely need to work on forgiveness for both yourself and others. Regardless of how guilty you might feel for past actions, you must come to grips with those actions and forgive yourself. Move on knowing that you are making changes and will become more positive as a result of those past experiences.
Remember, being totally honest with yourself and others is the only way to allow for forgiveness and start the healing process.
Step 3: Thankfulness
Give thanks for all of the wonderful things in your life. If you can’t find anything, it’s only because it’s easier to feel sorry for yourself than it is to look for the “silver linings” in your life. If nothing else, you should feel extremely positive and thankful that you’re going through this process to make things better from this moment forward.
Step 4: Relaxation
After a few minutes of working through the above suggestions, it’s time to relax and get rid of physical stress.
Start by lying flat on your back with a pillow to support your neck and head and with your hands at your sides. Beginning with your toes, first tense the muscles, then allow them to relax completely. From there, move to your feet, lower legs, thighs and so on until you finish with your neck and head. Don’t move onto the next body part until the part you are working on is totally relaxed.
Relaxing may be difficult on the first try, especially when you reach certain areas (like the neck or shoulder areas). With practice, it will become easier and you may be able to use a quicker technique. (In the same position, imagine you are lying in a warm stream of water that runs from your feet, up your legs, thighs, and so on, and as it moves up the length of your body it relaxes every muscle). Don't be surprised if you fall asleep the first several times.
Step 5: Visualization
Once you have mastered physical relaxation, it’s time to add some visualization.
First, imagine your entire body encompassed by a bright white light. Next, picture yourself as you would like to be. For example, you might see yourself as extremely happy and healthy enjoying a walk on a beautiful spring morning. Picture situations with loved ones or friends in the surroundings you would like to experience. The key is to use your imagination to not only “see” circumstances you would like to occur, but also to develop the ability to imagine how to touch, feel, smell, and even taste those situations. In other words, when you picture yourself in a positive situation, imagine the inputs you’d be receiving from your other senses. The more detailed you can become, the more powerful a tool visualization will be.
As you visualize desired situations, don’t try to picture exactly how they will happen. For example, let’s say you were under a great deal of stress because Aunt Mary never ended her two-week vacation and has continued living in your house for the last eight months. Sure, you could visualize your aunt suddenly having difficulties back home forcing her to leave. But a more positive visualization would be just to picture her not there any longer.
Visualization may seem strange to some people, but we all use it every day in the form of imagination and day dreaming. With a little effort and practice, you can also use it as a potent tool to improve your physical, emotional, and mental health.