Discovery

5 Steps to Mental Clarity and the Answers You're Looking For

Being faced with hard decisions is a part of life. I’m not just talking about deciding whether you’re going to order a burrito or tacos for lunch...although, that can be a really tough call.

I’m talking about major life decisions regarding your life path, career, relationships, health... you name it.

As someone who’s had to make a lot of hard decisions throughout my life, I understand how stressful and anxiety-inducing decision making can be. At times, it can feel like clarity is so far out of reach. However, if we really take the time to look within and acknowledge what’s really important to us, we can find clarity, make our decisions, and feel the sweet relief that comes with finally making a decision – especially when it’s the right one!

Here are 5 steps to cultivate clarity and find answers within:

1. Think about internal versus external validation.

It’s really common for us as humans to seek validation from others when it comes to, well, pretty much anything. Many people have trouble making decisions on their own, and look to loved ones and friends for advice and answers. However, what matters at the end of the day is how you feel about your decision. Internal validation is more important than external validation.

2. Separate opinions and facts.

This goes for opinions and facts from others as well as the ones that come from within. Opinions and facts are usually very different. Opinions are usually emotionally driven, whereas facts are more objective. When someone presents you with their two cents, ask yourself, “Is this their own opinion, or a fact?” Don’t let opinions, especially ones that aren’t backed up with facts, lead you in the wrong direction. Do the same thing with your own thoughts. Label them as opinions or facts, and go from there.

3. Ask yourself introspective questions.

Not sure where to start with finding your own internal validation? Well, dive deeper into your soul to learn more about yourself and what you want. Journaling and freewriting can be great, but if you need some guidance, here are some ideas of questions you can ask yourself. Use them as journaling prompts if you’d like.

  • Is this thought an opinion or a fact?
  • Is this a decision I’m making because it’s something I want for myself, or because it’s what other people want me to do? 
  • Am I doing this because it’s what I think I should be doing, even though it’s not something I personally want to do?
  • What are my goals for the short term and long term? Would this decision’s outcome lead me towards my goals, or lead me astray from them?
  • What are the things in life that are most important to me, and how would this decision affect them?

4. Meditate.

Meditation is a great tool for many aspects of life, and finding clarity is no different. The meditative practice of stillness can help you get more in tune with yourself. Additionally, this can help quiet your mind when you’re so overwhelmed by external factors and the situation that you’re hoping to get clarity on. Taking the time to quiet your mind and practice mindfulness can help you think more clearly in non-meditative states. Guided meditations on YouTube focused on finding clarity are also a great resource.  

5. Your inner knowing is most important.

You know yourself better than anybody else does. You understand your needs and your desires better than anyone else. Listen to your gut, and acknowledge your intuition. Your inner knowing is more important and useful than what anyone else could share with you. Always remember that. 

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