Brain fog can have a negative impact on your life and business. It is important to recognize when brain fog is occurring and take steps to quickly clear your mind.
Start reversing brain fog today
Pause for a moment and ask yourself if you have noticed that more people are discussing having trouble remembering, concentrating and focusing. What about you, how has your mental acuity been working for you recently?
It seems that evidence is mounting that a type of brain fog has been on the rise across the nation over the past year, and not just for those who have experienced COVID-19.
When I first started noticing more people talking about symptoms of brain fog I wondered if this was simply a reflection of my belonging to the now middle-aged Generation X cohort. But when I paused to reflect on the trend, I realized that I had been noticing that these brain fog conversations were not limited to any one generation. In fact, my clients and contacts, from Baby Boomers through Gen X down to Millennials and even Gen Zers were talking about similar symptoms, even if they did not use the term brain fog. I was hearing people describe trouble remembering details, being more indecisive, feeling unclear, needing more time to think, asking for information to be repeated and so on.
It would be easy to write off brain fog as the result of people experiencing too many distractions usually associated with increased time spent on electronic devises or having too many activities on their plate. But while these distractions may be part of the story, and perhaps contribute to the story, they do not seem to be the entire story.
“Brain fog” is a non-medical term used to describe a cognitive dysfunction characterized by
- memory problems
- lack of mental clarity
- poor concentration
- an inability to focus
Brain fog itself is not a medical condition but it is a symptom of something else.
Identifying and addressing brain fog
Can you guess the most common causes of brain fog? You probably can! If you guessed stress, hormonal changes, lack of sleep, diet or nutrition deficiencies, medications and medical conditions, you got it right. The good news for the majority of those experiencing brain fog is that it is rarely a symptom of a physical brain disorder or a degenerative cognitive disease. That does not mean, however, that you can ignore it and it will simply go away.
Determining the causes of your brain fog may require a little effort but it is the first step in addressing the problem. If you do suspect your brain fog is related to your physical or brain health, diet or medications, then act quickly to explore these with your physician or a nutritionist.
If your Brain Fog is not caused by a medical condition or medication you may think you are fine and that you can move on. Unfortunately, left unattended brain fog does not simply dissipate on its own. Moreover, if ignored, it can create real problems for you. Brain fog may increase your tendency to make mistakes, become more irritable and your decision-making may become impaired. Operating a vehicle or equipment while experiencing brain fog could lead to a dangerous accident, fulfilling an order for a customer incorrectly can result in a loss of business, and it can also contribute to health and relationship problems! Regardless of the causes of brain fog, once you have recognized that you may be in a fog you can put into practice some easy activities and start to blow the clouds away.
Consider these brain fog clearing activities today and see how quickly they work
Non-medical brain fog occurs because we are not taking proper care of our mental, physical and emotional health. With a few changes to your life you can start to feel better reactively quickly.
Reset with a reflective break: Take a few minutes of time to connect with your “metacognitive skills” by observing your own thought processes, identifying situations where you are prone to make cognitive errors, and reflecting on how to approach tasks differently.
Teach your brain something new: Engaging your brain to learn something new can be a great way to improve your cognitive function. New experiences light up your new brain cell connections much better than constant repetition. This means you can take a mental break by spending a few minutes teaching yourself a new game on an app, doing a puzzle, playing a card game, or learning any new skill. Spending too much time on the same repetitive games for too long won’t have the same positive impact.
Go on a mental vacation: Do absolutely nothing, for even 15 minutes and let your mind wander. While this may be easier said than done, it can have a positive impact on your cognitive functioning. Combining doing nothing with taking a walk in a park or the woods can be like pushing the ultimate brain reset button.
Re-energize with a physical break: Whenever you are feeling in a brain fog, instead of trying to push through and keep working you will often find it more effective to reset by taking a physical break. That physical break need not be a 5-mile run (unless you want to take a 5-mile run, of course), that physical break just needs to include any physical activity that involves movement and changing your breathing.
Refresh with better sleep: You already know that too little, too much or poor quality sleep is a health hazard. Your brain, like any muscle, needs time to recover. Sleeping for 7-8 hours a night, at the same time, in a cool room (did you know the optimal temperature for sleeping is around 65-67 degrees?) can help your brain recover. If you are struggling to sleep as a result of stress and worry consider these next options.
Re-synch with music: The research is clear that music impacts your brain and mental health. Finding the right music to re-energize, stimulate, focus or relax can take a little exploration but it can be a powerful fog clearing technique. Explore different types of music, consider music with different rhythmic patterns at different megahertz until you find what works for you; there is plenty of music designed to help your brain synch into different patterns of activity.
Just Breathe: Many of us don’t spend enough time breathing. I work with clients all the time who have symptoms of anxiety, are struggling with communication in the workplace and feel there is never enough time to complete their tasks. One of the key techniques I teach them is the importance of creating space and resetting by taking a few deep breaths. When they do and I ask them how they feel, they almost always say they feel better immediately. Breathing may be something we do automatically, but that does not mean we don’t need to be more conscious of how well we are breathing and when our body needs us to make more effort to feed it a few cleansing breaths.
You can mix up and combine all of these steps at different times! The best thing is that these 7 simple steps cost you no money, only time, and they can be a great investment in your health, productivity and business.