Est. Reading Time: 1 Minute
Have you ever sat down to complete a task and, three hours later, still were no closer to completing that task? There’s a reason for this “brain fog.” You need to clear your mind. In this article, I’ll share some exercises to clear your mind.
Freedom (from distractions)
It’s common to sit down to complete something with your phone on, listening to music, and the latest social media posts on a tab in the background. Where’s your focus directed? Chances are, you split your time between the thing you have to complete and the other things that are a distraction. If you want to get anything done, clear your mind and focus. Avoid the common pitfall of attempting to multitask. Your brain isn’t wired for it.
Mental clarity is bliss
Now that you’re able to focus, aim for a “clarity buzz.” After 30 years of clinical oncology, I know that one of the most overlooked and underutilized “pearls in the rough” health priorities are breath optimization and the function of oxygen – or what I sometimes call, “Vitamin O2.” Do this Wim Hof breathing strategy. At the end of the fourth cycle of 30 breaths, get into the push-up position and at the final exhale, fire off as many push-ups as you can while holding your breath. Mental bliss. Now you’re ready to complete your task faster and with more clarity.
Skip to Actionable Steps
A Gift For You
Win a free 1:1 coaching session!
Est. Reading Time: 5 Minutes
Stick to one thing at a time
In order to clear your mind and focus, you need to first avoid the common pitfall of attempting to multitask. You may think you’re an expert in this field, so let’s take a different approach to this section. To show you how your brain can’t compete with different tasks at the same time, let’s do a revealing exercise on the foolishness of trying to do two things at once. This exercise can be seen on YouTube by Dave Crenshaw.
Here are some exercises to clear your mind:
A simple exercise to clear your mind
First, write out the phrase “Switchtasking is a thief”.
Next, write out the numbers 1 through 21.
Time yourself for the sum of writing both sets.
A (not so) simple exercise
Now, write out the first letter of the phrase “Switchtasking is a thief”.
Next, write the first number in the number set 1 through 21.
Then, go back to the second letter, and then the second number…back-and-forth.
Time yourself for the sum of writing both sets.
This second exercise probably resulted in chaos for you.
This phenomenon is called switchtasking.
When we try to read email, write text messages, complete work, and listen to music with lyrics all at the same time…our mind ends up continually switching between attention. You may have been amazed at how many errors you made with this relatively simple task. The take away is simple:
Focus on one thing at a time.
Do it correct the first time, finish it, “tie it in a bow” and move on. You’ll be amazed at how much faster you can complete tasks.
Exercises to clear your mind
Now that your mind is able to focus on one task at a time, let’s get you a “clarity buzz” so you can clear your mind completely. One of the most overlooked and underutilized “pearls in the rough” health priorities are breath optimization and the function of oxygen – or what I sometimes call, “Vitamin O2.”
Oxygen and Carbon Dioxide respiratory exchange management should be considered our foremost nutritional concern. My 30 years of oncology clinical work illuminated the observation that most of us mouth and chest inhale (versus breathing through the nose and from the abdomen), and are unconcerned about air quality and maintaining optimum oxygen levels. Perhaps because it seems invisible or effortless, many people are prone to take the whole process of breathing for granted until there is a severe problem.
Another exercise to clear your mind
Now that we are on the topic of brain focus, let’s try a Wim Hof breathing strategy.
This tool helps to achieve better parasympathetic balance and immediate brain clarity.
This 20-minute exercise is my favorite Friday morning intervention when I don’t have a scheduled fitness session.
Sit in a comfortable place
Before you start practicing breathing exercises, it is important to get as comfortable as possible. Sit in a comfortable posture in which you can expand your lungs freely. To make sure that you can expand your lungs to the fullest it is recommended to practice the exercises on an empty stomach.
30 power breaths
For this first breathing exercise, imagine that you are blowing up a balloon. Take 30 quick, deep breaths, inhaling through your nose and exhaling through your mouth. You can become light-headed during this exercise or experience a tingling sensation. This is normal.
Retention after exhalation
After your 30 power breaths, fill your lungs to maximum capacity, but don’t force it. Exhale and hold for as long as you can. Hold your breath without forcing it, until you experience the gasp reflex.
Inhale to maximum capacity and feel your chest expanding. When your lungs are full, hold your breath for 10 seconds. Release the breath, and begin a new round. Repeat all steps 3 to 4 times.
One more thing…
At the end of the fourth cycle of 30 breaths, get into the push-up position and at the final exhale, fire off as many push-ups as you can while holding your breath.
You may get to that point where the head feels starved for oxygen. Stop there.
You can do a surprising amount push-ups because the rapid breathing blows off CO2 and diminishes lactic acid buildup that causes acute soreness. This process can significantly activate mitochondrial function (similar to a long, challenging workout), but gets it done in 15 to 20 minutes.
The result is a severe brain “clarity buzz,” especially if you can do a wall stand and get upside down immediately afterward to flush the brain. Not to mention, you may be able to do more push-ups than ever before.
There you go!
Now you’re ready to go with the task at hand – to complete it faster and with more clarity than ever before!
Here are additional exercises to clear your mind and focus:
Complete the switchtasking exercise
Don’t just think about it, be about it! Do the switchtasking exercise. Here’s a PDF to follow.
Learn the rest of the steps to “be in the zone”
If you want to get a lot of work done, it helps to “be in the zone.” This isn’t just a saying, there’s a way to achieve this. We learned about one step (freedom from distraction). There are six more steps to this.
I spent many clinical hours helping people breath more efficiently so they could better manage their cancer problems and then stay healthy afterward. This involved the basics of pursuing abdominal initiated nostril breathing to maintain parasympathetic predominance. It also includes the use of house plants and air purifiers to upgrade the air. You should also remove moisture and dust generators to reduce mold and particulate matter.
Plan the Wim Hof method into your day
There are many advantages to the breathing exercise. Get into a routine to do this at least once a week. Target your local mountain or woods (or just nearby trees) for higher quality of oxygen-rich air and a good “grounding effect” from Mother Nature.
About the Author
Dr. Charles Meakin III, MD, MHA
Charles (Chuck) is a 60-year-old cancer doctor who spent the last 40 years passionately studying healthcare, eastern philosophies, and fitness predictors of longevity and happiness. As someone who lives in two worlds, the traditional healthcare western model and new integrative strategies and personal biohacking, he hopes to present the best of both worlds for rational decision making on difficult personal health issues.
Full Bio | LinkedIn
Add to Favorites