Feeling Foggy? 10 Ways to Sharpen Your Mental Focus

Feeling Foggy? 10 Ways to Sharpen Your Mental Focus


A busy life can be both rewarding and incredibly hectic — there’s just so much to remember! Your many to-do lists likely pull you in a thousand different directions. So, staying alert from 9 to 5 can feel like a mental marathon, especially when you’re lacking sleep or proper nutrition. Don’t stress, though. If you’re having trouble trying to juggle it all, we found some energizing solutions that might help.

1. Play memory games. There are online programs and apps that use games for memory retention, exercising your mind, and improving mental focus. Search your app store using the keywords “brain games” and “brain fitness.” Play them on your smartphone while sitting in the doctor’s office, riding the subway home, or waiting in line for your latte. You may start noticing results after a month.

2. Exercise! Physical activity offers wide-ranging benefits for your body, mind, and overall longevity. A brisk 10-minute walk gets oxygen flowing to your brain and muscles, increasing focus. And breaking a sweat also releases tension, making you think more clearly.

3. Find natural energy boosters. Caffeine takes up to 8 hours to wear off and can alter your sleep cycle, ultimately hindering your mental clarity. If you’re a coffee lover, try sticking to one cup (preferably organic!) in the morning and then find caffeine-free energizers for the rest of the day. People who are sensitive to caffeine, or forgo coffee for other reasons, rely on natural hydrating mental boosters like icy water, fresh squeezed juice, coconut water, and herbal tea.

4. Take time to unwind. Find what soothes you—whether that’s with meditation, cooking a lovely meal, or taking a bath. Being mindful and living in the moment allows you to get centered and improve focus.

5. Turn on uplifting music. Studies have shown that listening to upbeat jams can make you more focused and even smarter! The type of music you listen to can range from classical to pop — just keep the mood and lyrics positive.

6. Get rid of toxic chemicals. Headaches can really interrupt your focus. If you find you're getting headaches indoors,  it may be indoor air pollutants (fragrance, cleaners, etc). Try detoxing the home to see if that eliminates the headaches, thus helping with mental focus.

7. Take breaks. Taking a 10-minute break every hour improves you efficiency and focus. Get creative with what you consider a break, especially when you don’t have much time to step away. If you sit at a desk all day, visit a blog you enjoy reading. Focus on another task instead of staring at your screen — shred documents, recycle junk mail, grab some water. Or stretch your mind with some in-office yoga.

8. Use essential oils. Rosemary oil is thought to increase mental clarity. You can diffuse the oil or dilute it with a carrier oil in a 50/50 solution, then apply to your wrists and ankles. If you prefer to skip the oils, adorn your workspace with a potted rosemary plant. (Note: Essential oils are an amazing resource, but they are also very strong. Just because they're natural, does not mean they are safe in all circumstances. Keep them out of children's reach and always take precautions when using them. The use of Rosemary Essential Oil is not recommended for pregnant women and people with other conditions may want to consult with a healthcare professional before using essential oils.)

9. Practice focusing for long periods. Because so many of us multitask, set aside time to focus on one project. Maybe you want to tackle a long term one for work at the end of the day or learn a new language at home in your free time. Point is, it’s easy to lose the ability to focus when you spend your day doing 10 things at once. Practice this skill, so you always retain it!

10. Create a to-do list. No matter how sharp your mind is, you won’t be able to remember everything. And simply relying on memory can add unnecessary stress to your life. Whether you prefer an online tool or using good ol’ pen and paper, keeping track of your schedule will go a long way in helping you focus on each task you need to do.

There’s a short-but-true quote to keep in mind: “Stay focused and amaze yourself.” We hope you find inspiration in this message and the solutions above. Good luck!

How do you stay focused? Tell us in the comments!

We aim to provide you with the most honest and credible information possible. This article was reviewed for accuracy by The Honest Team and was written based on trusted sources that are linked at the bottom of the article.