I carry a ceramic filter with me when I backpack, it lets clean water through and keeps impurities out. It even removes unseen parasites, bacteria and viruses for a clear drink of water. I once had to draw from a stagnant pool, but my rule of thumb is to start with what’s running clear and then filter up.

When it comes to a clear mind here are twelve things that help filter thoughts and feelings.

In the moment:

  1. Develop a sense of awe. Places, things and people that inspire awe also wash away the clutter in our minds. What creates awe in you?
  2. Regularly find a place and time without obligations or demands. Time without expectations quiets the mind to hear more deeply.
  3. Get your blood flowing. Your mind is clearer when your brain is getting more blood and oxygen. Be physically active to clear your head. Sometimes it feels like a nap is needed when it’s really time to take a walk.
  4. Rinse out intruding thoughts. Don’t try to push responsibilities out of your thinking when you’re looking for clarity, write them down and deal with them later. For unworthy thoughts, rinse them out with something better.

Over time:

  1. Engage with good people. The company and conversation of those with clear hearts and minds draws us up.
  2. Learn something new. One of my brightest years was when I learned Beginner’s Italian and the Tango. Learning invigorates the mind at every stage of life. What would you like to learn?
  3. Focus on what’s most important. There are few regrets over small things and there’s usually energy for what’s big in our lives.
  4. Live with a clear conscience. If your conscience is not clear, do what you can to restore it and stop doing what has messed it up.

Before bedtime:

  1. Don’t try to solve problems. This is especially true of finances in close relationships.
  2. Don’t watch any screens before bed. Electronic media stimulates the brain and makes it harder to sleep.
  3. Read or talk about positive things before bed. Thoughts and feelings often carry on from where we focused at the end of the day. Filter out the things that disturb thoughts and feelings even in sleep.
  4. End with gratitude. Several studies have shown the connection between gratitude and better rest and well-being. What are three things you’re thankful for?

What would be on your list for clearing your mind? What good would you draw in and what contaminants would you filter out?