I’ve noticed recently an increase in my own mental clarity. In my ongoing attempts at improving overall health and energy, I’ve incorporated some items over the past couple years that I believe have caused a significant improvement for me in cognition. Certainly have at least increased consistency. I don’t think it’s any one thing, but a combination of things. During and post the COVID-19 pandemic, through downtime and stressful times at work, and what seems like year round allergies in Austin, through it all I’ve managed to maintain sharper mental acuity and creativity above my normal baseline.
I believe the foundation comes from ritualistic, consistent daily routines, which I admittedly don’t do consistently, but when I do, notice dramatic improvements in my overall mood, energy level, and general happiness. In addition to that, I’ve come across a few other things that when used regularly, provide an extra boost.
After reaching my wits end with allergies in Austin, I had a bright idea one day to try out an air purifier. Mold, trees, grass, you name it peak at different times throughout the year, but mold in particular is always present. Especially after it rains. There are many different kinds of mold, some worse than others, which can have a pretty severe impact on the body and mind, in particular brain fog. I noticed brain fog as well as having a scratchy throat and clogged ears almost all the time after a couple years of living in Austin. This would all go away after about a week if I was outside of Texas. So I invested in a small air purifier (since my tiny house is the size of a small room in a normal sized house) as an experiment and wow! I noticed a difference within a couple days. I was blown away. This has been game changing for me. No more scratchy throat, and no more brain fog! I can tell the difference because if I go out hiking or around town for a few hours, the symptoms return. If I stay in my house for the day or days, typically no issues. There are many brands, sizes, and pricing. Look at reviews, HEPA filter (or similar), get the right size for the space you plan to use it, look for something quiet if you keep it near where you sleep or work, check filter prices, seek multi-layered unless you have a very specific need (I wanted something that removed dust, dander, and pollen).
Ashwaganda & Asian or American Ginseng
I’ve read that both of these are known to boost energy and mental concentration. I found them in liquid form and mix two droppers of each together with water in the morning or at lunch. Sometimes I’ll add ginseng to tea which is very complementary and tea makers may add to various tea blends like pu-erh or oolong. Seems to have a positive effect on my energy level, which also boosts mental acuity. At least for me. I have switched over to American ginseng which I’ve read can be a bit more tempered. Seems like either are good for you though.
Another supplement I take in liquid form added to water that is great for sleep, which directly relates to mental clarity. Getting restful sleep is important for many reasons. Though I’ve never actually tried it and have no supporting data, something never seemed quite right about the idea of taking ambien or melatonin. Seemed like it would disrupt your natural circadian rhythm. For me personally, I’d rather take ingredients that help my body produce the thing it’s supposed to produce vs. taking the thing directly. But that’s just me. Nonetheless, two droppers of valerian root mixed with water around dinner time results in a deeper sleep and vivid dreams, even some I remember clearly the next day. Not sure if everyone has the same experience, but for me it’s quite cool.
Vitamin B-12/B-Complex & Vitamin D
Sunlight, from which the body produces Vitamin D, and Vitamin B are crucial to energy and mood. If I don’t get enough sunlight I definitely notice I’m in a very negative and irritable mood. Took me years to recognize this and it becomes most apparent in the peak winter and summer months when I’m indoors most of the time. You may be asking why I would be indoors in the summer, well it’s hot in Texas! I also tend to eat less meat these days, since I prefer a mostly pesco vegetarian and paleovedic diet. Pork, beef, chicken are consumed, but irregularly. Taking these supplements has really helped with my mood, which for me at least directly impacts mental clarity. It stands to reason that if you’re energetic and happy, of course you’ll have a clearer mind.
Magnesium & Calcium
These two are usually paired together and help the body generate more energy. I don’t take regularly, but they do help with energy production and are worthy supplements in that arena also. For energy production, the magnesium is the most important and you can get just that if preferred.
I’m not a doctor or a nutritionist, just someone interested in taking control over improving my own health and well being. I’ve had varying luck with advice from doctors in the realm of preventative care, chronic issues, or optimizations, so I’ve embarked on attempting to solve my own problems (responsibly). I think everyone should take ownership and responsibility over their own health, seeking advice, knowledge, and research from professionals to then apply it to your own situation. And just to be clear, doctors are great, but they’re not wizards and everyone is different. Help them help you by creating a dialogue and giving them information they can work with to help diagnose and/or make recommendations. If they’re not asking you questions about your lifestyle and diet, bring it up yourself or consider finding some else. These are just some things I’ve tried that worked for me. but you must try things out for yourself and do so responsibly by first educating yourself on what you’re doing or taking and consult your doctor, especially if you have any health issues or on medications!
A couple pieces of additional advice…
- Try things out for yourself
- Try natural solutions first
- Brands and quality products matter
- Be consistent and allow time for changes to take affect
- Experiment with products, blends, and combinations to see what works best
- Disregard if something isn’t working