How to Clear Your Mind

And Unclog Your Brain

Clear Your Mind for a Test for Best Results
Heide Benser/Corbis/Getty Images

Sometimes we can get so caught up in the stress and worry of our personal lives that our minds become too jumbled to operate effectively. This is especially dangerous in a test-taking situation. After hours of reading and studying, our brains can lock up in a state of overload.

In a stressful situation, it’s often necessary to clear your mind completely to allow your brain to refresh itself and recalibrate all of its functions.

But when you’re tense, clearing your mind isn’t so easy! Try this relaxation technique if you think your brain has seized up from information overload.

1. Set aside at least five minutes for quiet “clearing” time.

  If you're at school, see if you can put your head down somewhere or find an empty room or quiet space. If necessary, set a watch (or phone) alarm or ask a friend to tap you on the shoulder at a designated time.

2. Think of a time or place that puts you into a complete state of peace. ​

This place will be different for different people. Have you ever sat on the beach watching the waves come in and realized you’ve “zoned out” for awhile? This is the sort of experience you’re looking for. Other experiences that make us zone out could be:

  • Sitting in the dark and staring at Christmas tree lights—remember how quiet and peaceful that feels?
  • Lying in bed late at night listening to good music
  • Lying on your back on a cool day watching clouds roll by

3. Cover your eyes and go to your “place.” ​

If you are at school preparing for a test before class, you may simply rest your elbows on the desk and put your hands over your eyes. For some people, it may not be a good idea to put your head down.

(You might fall asleep!)

Use all your senses to make your experience as real as possible. If you are thinking of a Christmas tree, imagine the smell of the tree and the look of the layered shadows on the walls.

Don’t let any thoughts creep into your head. As soon as you start to think about a test problem, clear away the thought and concentrate on your peaceful place.

4. Snap out of it!

Remember, this is not nap time. The point here is to rejuvenate your brain. After five or ten minutes of clearing time, take a brisk walk or take a drink of water to re-energize your mind and body. Stay relaxed and resist the urge to think about the things that are stressing you out or clogging your brain. Don’t let your brain go back to freeze-out.

Now go forward with your test or study session refreshed and ready!