How to Achieve Mental Clarity and Make Better Decisions

How to Achieve Mental Clarity and Make Better Decisions
Valeria Sabater

Written and verified by the psychologist Valeria Sabater.

Last update: 12 January, 2023

If there’s one thing we tend to envy about successful individuals, it’s their ability to make decisions. Indeed, beyond their competence and talent lies the capacity to use their gifts in the right direction. They recognize the need to be decisive and they choose the best strategy in moments of the greatest uncertainty. Who wouldn’t like to have that ability?

One of the necessary tools for succeeding in any area of life is mental clarity. This is the competence to be able to turn off external and internal noise in order to better process reality and make improved decisions. It means being able to focus on what’s important with lucidity, internal harmony, and self-confidence.

The problem is that you don’t train in this exceptional dimension. It isn’t even included in self-help manuals. However, it’s a psychological strategy of great value that has an effect both in the workplace and in the relational sphere. In fact, it’s essential for good mental health. That’s because, when you’re capable of calming your dysfunctional thoughts, you find the internal balance with which you can regain control of your life.

What if you figured out how to develop this powerful mental focus?

“You either control your mind or it controls you.”

Napoleon Hill-

Silhouette of woman representing mental clarity
Achieving mental clarity requires improving your attentional focus and knowing how to regulate your state of mind.

Five strategies for gaining mental clarity

If you find it difficult to achieve mental clarity, it’s because it’s not your default psychological state. Your mind prefers to be alert. It’s obsessed with chewing over worries and imagining the most catastrophic futures. That’s how it protects you from what ‘might happen’. However, doing so subjects you to feelings of lingering anxiety and dissatisfaction.

In fact, the cost of not being able to think clearly is immense, as you probably know. If your mind is filled with disturbances, irrational ideas, suspicions, stress, and negatively valenced emotions, your anxiety rises to excessive levels. It’s at these times that you make decisions without thinking and in a hasty manner. At the same time, your feelings of lack of control increase, along with the probability of developing a psychological disorder.

Therefore, you need to educate yourself in mental clarity. Then, you’ll be able to activate another, healthier approach that dispels the fog of excess that obscures everything. A study conducted by the University of Utah (USA) claims that one way to develop mental clarity is with mindfulness, a way of enhancing our awareness of self. That’s the key. Now, let’s see how to achieve it.

1. Simplify your life and see your priorities clearly

Less isn’t only more, but it also means better mental health. But you’ve become accustomed to an existence that’s often loaded with artifice and numerous stressors. You fill your schedule with endless activities, which aren’t always satisfying. The same is true of your relationships. You might associate social success with having many friends and multiple social contacts.

However, all this excess interaction and multitasking does is fill you with noise. Add to that the weight of social media, endless notifications, and the need to be as society expects you to be, and it guarantees you a degree of suffering. So, you need to simplify your life if you want to achieve mental clarity.

2. Regulate your emotions to think better

Difficult emotions, such as anxiety, sadness, frustration, and anger, are like a fog that envelops your mind. In fact, your decision-making capacity is diminished when you’re dominated by negatively valenced emotions. Knowing how to regulate them will allow you to attend to reality from a calm position. Moreover, you’ll be able to consider the most appropriate response whatever the circumstance.

3. Mindfulness and calm in the here and now

As we mentioned earlier, mindfulness is an effective way of developing mental clarity. This ancient practice trains your attention so you can focus it where it really matters: in the present moment.

Moreover, this tool not only allows you to regulate your stress and wandering thoughts but also gives you self-awareness. In other words, the ability to connect with your inner world so you know what’s happening and what you need. In effect, it’s a direct channel to your Self and to connect with the world in an authentic way, thus guiding you toward your goals.

4. Clarify your priorities, values, and purposes

The person you are has been built through your values, purposes, and priorities. That said, it’s not sufficient merely to clarify these realities. In fact, you have to bear them in mind every day if you want to maintain mental clarity. It’s useful to ask yourself the following questions:

  • What values define you at this moment? They should be the kinds that you don’t let others violate.
  • What goals have you set for yourself in the short and long term?
  • What’s your priority in life right now? Is it your family, work, or your health? Is there something clouding these dimensions? What should you do to safeguard them?
face symbolizing mental clarity
A critical eye that doesn’t get carried away by what everyone takes for granted contributes to mental clarity.

5. Critical thinking

Are you able to think critically? Do you question what most take for granted? Do you usually analyze your own beliefs or conceptions to check that they’re not conditioned by prejudices? Possessing critical thinking implies not only seeing the world from a more analytical perspective but also becoming aware that you tend to act through biases.

Self-awareness requires activating the kind of self that questions itself. The kind that doesn’t allow itself to be conditioned by the environment. This helps you activate mental clarity and make better decisions.

Conclusion

To the psychological strategies indicated here, we must add some advice regarding your physical health. For example, a clear mind needs good lifestyle habits. Among them are a good night’s rest, a balanced diet, and regular physical exercise. As you know, your body and mind make up a whole that you must listen to and care for on a daily basis.

Mental clarity is like a river that flows in harmony. Its purity allows you to see the beauty of the glittering stones on its bed. Therefore, don’t hesitate to promote the same harmony and transparency in your life. It’ll help you to be yourself with every new step you take and advance you make.

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The mind is an engine that we need to maintain in the best possible conditions in order for it to function to its maximum mental potential.



  • Baer RA, Lykins EL, Peters JR. Mindfulness and self-compassion as predictors of psychological wellbeing in long-term meditators and matched nonmeditators. The Journal of Positive Psychology. 2012;7(3):230–238
  • Barnes S, Brown KW, Krusemark E, Campbell WK, Rogge RD. The role of mindfulness in romantic relationship satisfaction and responses to relationship stress. Journal of Marital and Family Therapy. 2007;33(4):482–500.
  • Hanley AW, Garland EL. Clarity of mind: Structural equation modeling of associations between dispositional mindfulness, self-concept clarity and psychological well-being. Pers Individ Dif. 2017 Feb 1;106:334-339. doi: 10.1016/j.paid.2016.10.028. Epub 2016 Nov 9. PMID: 28584390; PMCID: PMC5455779.

The contents of Exploring Your Mind are for informational and educational purposes only. They don't replace the diagnosis, advice, or treatment of a professional. In the case of any doubt, it's best to consult a trusted specialist.