When you’ve always taken pride in having a sharp and focused mind, losing the cutting edge of the mental faculty can plunge you into a helpless state of losing control. But a dull mind is what usually happens when you age, neglect your mental health or went through a series of anxiety attacks or depression.
In my 20s, I’ve taken my mental stamina and focus power for granted, believing that it will always be so. But life has a way of dishing out humbling lessons. After I went through episodes of depression, I never truly recovered. Until I stop lamenting on my state of mind and actively take action.
If you’re going through the same situation or feeling that it takes twice as long for you to solve an IQ puzzle, there’s no need to hit the panic button yet. By trying out different methods, I’ve managed to regain the mental sharpness that I once possessed, although it’s a long journey of recovery.
Your mind is a complicated network of interconnected neurons. When you went through a traumatic experience or as you age, your mind structure tends to change. This affects your thought habits and could also cause mental fatigue easily.
Sharpening your mind involves rewiring the neuron pathway in a scientific process called neuroplasticity. Sometimes, it takes a combination of a few methods before you recover your mental acuity again.
Here are what works for me.
By now, you’ve probably heard of mindfulness meditation and the immense benefits it is supposed to introduce into your life. Well, the studies are not exaggerating but to truly benefit from mindfulness meditation, you need to meditate with the right expectation and be consistent.
Mindfulness meditation is akin to getting your mind to a mental gym. When you’ve gone through a traumatic experience, the mind may shield itself from further agony. The problem is, the mind continues in an overprotective mode long after.
By meditating, you’re actively putting your mind into a training that it has never undergone before. Mindfulness helps bring clarity to a clouded mind by training it to stop reacting to every single negative thought. It also made you aware of the dull state that your mind is in.
Learning mindfulness meditation is simple. After all, there are many meditation teachers, guides, and apps for you to get started. The hard part is staying consistent with the practice on a daily basis, even when you’re doubtful that you make any progress.
Mention hypnosis to me before my life crumbled, I would have thought it was a joke. After all, isn’t hypnosis about falling asleep right off while staring at a swinging watch? That cannot be further away from the truth. Misconceptions about hypnosis have denied many individuals the opportunity to benefit from this scientific psychotherapy.
If there’s anything that could sharpen your mind with the least effort, it’s hypnosis. Hypnosis allows you to access your subconscious state and alter your habits. This is done by suggestions while you’re in a hypnotic trance.
Health therapists have incorporated the hypnosis part of complementary treatment for patients. To a certain degree, it can aid individuals to undergo a change in their habits, such as quitting smoking. As for sharpening your mind, you’ll experience prolonged focus after undergoing the right hypnosis.
You don’t have to personally visit a hypnotherapist to be hypnotized. Hypnosis scripts downloads, created by trained hypnotherapists, are equally effective. All you need is to keep your mind open and ensure that you’re sitting comfortably before listening to the audio.
Your physical health and mental health have a closer link that you’ve thought. If you’re constantly feeling drained and have a sluggish mind, ask yourself when was the last time you actually sweated while working out?
If it’s been ages since you’ve hit the gym, you should start your fitness regime immediately. Working out produces endorphins that cause you to feel good emotionally. Besides that, exercising physically also promotes blood flow, which affects the functions of your brain.
There’s also a growing suggestion that points to the positive effect on the hippocampus, a critical part for learning and memory when you workout physically. As you burn off the extra calories, you’ll find that your mind becomes clearer gradually.
When you’re not in your best mental state, you may start binge eating. Or you could be on a rampage for sweets and snacks. While the extra sugar does give you a temporary emotional lift, the unhealthy eating style will take its toll as you suffer an emotional crash.
To boost brain power and get out of the mental rut, you need to plan your diet carefully. Avoid foods that are bad for mental health like caffeine, processed sugar, alcohol, and fast foods. Instead, fill your diet with brain-boosting foods like salmon, walnuts, avocado and dark chocolate.
I personally enjoy taking chia seeds to get the extra mental stamina, especially when I feel my mind is sluggish. A single teaspoon of chia seeds taken raw or mixed into your breakfast will give you enough mental energy to last the day.
When you’re not motivated, your mind gets lazy. In such cases, sharpening your mind will only seem superficial as it returns to its dull state. People usually experience drastic changes in their mental state after a traumatic event. This may cause them to be disillusioned with their purpose and lose motivation in life.
As you check-in and out into each day like a mindless zombie, getting out of a mental rut will seem impossible. Re-discovering your life purpose is an important prerequisite to sharpen your mind and regain clarity.
Having a purpose will fuel you to think analytically and this activates your mental faculty. Like physical muscles, your mind degrades when they are not utilized. Before you start any of the above, discover your purpose that is bigger than who you are.
It’s understandable if you’ll like to overpower mental sluggishness immediately. But rebuilding your mental power takes time. Sometimes, you may feel yourself slipping back into your previous mental state, but it’s important to keep up with the efforts to make it permanent.
Have you suffered a change in mental state after a traumatic event? What steps did you take to sharpen your mind and reclaim your mental prowess?
I am an engineer-turned-writer who once struggle with social anxiety. After overcoming problems inflicted by low self-esteem and the fear of interaction, I realize the need for taking a holistic approach in developing our mind. I'm sharing my experience, remedies, and techniques that interest me in my quest to be a better self.
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