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How to find clarity

Clarity isn’t an achievement; it’s something we all already have, our mind’s natural state, our ‘factory setting’, according to author Jamie Smart. But superstitious thinking – for example, thoughts we or society believe to be true – can get in the way of seeing things clearly. However, as he explains in his new book 'Clarity' we can reboot to our default settings and think clearly

by Psychologies

clear your head space

1. Be conscious of superstitious thoughts

There is widespread cultural conditioning that mistakenly lets us believe we have clarity through understanding what we know to be true: ‘superstitious thinking’ – eg, we carried posies in the 1800s to ward off cholera. These thoughts inform everything we believe or do. But we live in a reality where we create our own unique experience of reality through our thoughts in that moment. The more ‘superstitious’, misguided thinking we experience in our minds, the less clarity we actually have.

2. Boost your psychological immune system

Just as we have a ‘pain withdrawal reflex’ when we touch a hot pan, we’re born with a mental pain withdrawal reflex – which is why toddlers can move from screaming tantrums to gleeful giggling in minutes. As adults, we learn to override this, mistakenly believing we’re experiencing something bigger than our own thoughts. Practise insightful understanding of your thoughts. Are you letting what you’re thinking about dictate how you feel?

3. T​hink from the inside out

The true source of most stress is the mistaken belief that we are at the mercy of anything other than our thoughts. When we think that we are experiencing something outside our own perception, our minds fill and speed up. But by realising we’re not thinking from the outside in but from the inside out, our stress levels will automatically start to decrease.

4. Look towards the unknown

When we search for solutions, we often look to the known – thoughts we’ve already had. But the unknown is where fresh, innovative ideas come from. ‘Superstitious’ thinking can make the unknown seem dangerous. When we allow our mindsto be clear, we open ourselves up to new perspectives.

5. Stop trying so hard

There is nothing you need to do to achieve clarity – it’s more a case of not doing. External intervention can stop the mind’s self-correcting system from doing its job and returning to its set-point of clarity. We don’t always need to make huge changes, or try to control our mental states or emotions that we believe will serve us. 

Clarity: Clear Mind, Better Performance, Bigger Results (Capstone, £10.99) is out now

More inspiration:

Read 5 ways to feel more balanced, every day by Eminé Ali Rushton on LifeLabs

Photograph: plainpicture/Fancy Images

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