Experiencing Brain Fog? Here’s How You Can Boost Your Concentration

Photo by Jakob Owens on Unsplash

Are you unable to focus and concentrate? Do you have an overriding feeling of exhaustion, confusion, distraction, and forgetfulness?

Does it seem like your brain won’t operate at peak performance and isn’t as sharp as it usually is, so much so that simple tasks you’ve done a million times before — like reversing out of a parking slot or tying your shoelaces — suddenly seem unfamiliar and require so much more effort to accomplish?

You might be experiencing what medical professionals call brain fog or mental fogginess. The feeling it gives is akin to the experience of driving through a thick fog: frustrating and futile.

When you have mental fog, a cloud-like haze seems to permeate your mind, preventing you from thinking, reacting and deciding quickly and easily, weighing you down so you feel fatigued all the time.

Thankfully, brain fogginess is not a medical condition. However, it can be a symptom of one.

Brain Fog Causes

Any condition that can throw hormones off balance and induce cellular inflammation can cause brain fog. It will often manifest in the following circumstances.

1. Pregnancy

A pregnant woman’s hormones continually fluctuate as the body changes to accommodate the growing baby. The hormones go out of whack while the body does its best to restore balance. This steady flux of hormones can cause mental fogginess.

Additionally, a pregnant woman may feel inordinately stressed by the many physical changes her body is experiencing, especially if she is constantly nauseated and vomiting out her food. The stress can also exacerbate this feeling of mental haze.

2. Medication

Certain drugs can lead to chemically induced mental fog. For instance, some anti-anxiety and antiseizure medications, sleeping pills, antidepressants, painkillers and antihistamines can cause memory loss.

3. Chemotherapy

Chemotherapy so often leads to mental haze that a new term has been coined to refer specifically to the type of fog it causes: chemo brain.

Chemotherapy entails the use of strong drugs or chemicals to kill cancer cells. This aggressive medication can lead to a chemical brain haze.

Chemotherapy has also been found to trigger a cytokine storm in some patients. A cytokine storm is an acute immune system reaction that can lead to fatigue, nausea, sluggish thinking and difficulty focusing. It can also lead to inflammation, further aggravating mental fog symptoms.

4. Cancer

Cancer itself can lead to multi-tasking difficulty and memory problems. This is typical of primary brain tumors and cancers that have spread to the brain.

5. Multiple Sclerosis

Multiple sclerosis, a central nervous system disorder, affects the brain and spinal cord. Aside from potentially causing paralysis, it can also cause language, memory, attention span and focus problems.

6. Menopause Menopause

As mentioned earlier, hormonal imbalances can lead to constant fatigue, forgetfulness and trouble concentrating. Therefore, mental fog symptoms can be common among women in their menopause.

7. Depression

Depression already causes a pervading sense of exhaustion and discomfort. However, the constant activation of the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis can lead to inflammation that may lead to brain fog.

Brain Fog Treatments

Brain fog has no treatment. However, you can do the following to minimize its effect or impact.

1. Address the Underlying Medical Condition

Brain fog management entails correcting, treating or managing its underlying medical condition.

If the cause is depression, for instance, addressing this mental disorder through therapy and medication can help lift the fog. Neurofeedback therapy, cognitive behavioral therapy and hypnotherapy are three types of therapy that help manage depression in patients.

2. Change Your Lifestyle

You can do the following to reduce distraction and forgetfulness:

3. Brain Exercises

Just as exercising your body strengthens your body, exercising your brain can make your mental faculties sharper and better. There are to boost brain power; they can enhance your cognitive abilities and counter the negative impact of mental fog.

The following are some of the brain exercises you can do regularly to improve brain performance:

● Memorize New Words

Memorizing new words will not only expand your vocabulary. It will also flex your memory.

● Learn a New Language

Learning a new language will challenge your brain. It leads to the creation of new connections and pathways, thereby enhancing brain function.

● Do Things With Your Non-Dominant Hand

If you are right-handed, try doing more things with your non-dominant left hand. You can begin by using your left hand to brush your teeth, comb your hair and hold your spoon. This will force new neural pathways and connections that can enhance cognitive performance.

● Do Crossword and Jigsaw Puzzles

Solving crossword and jigsaw puzzles challenge and stimulate the brain, keeping it active and sharp.

4. Undergo Neurofeedback Therapy

Neurofeedback therapy can be beneficial on its own. You can use this brain training method to enhance your cognitive performance and improve your:

Brain training can therefore help counter brain fog symptoms.

Lift the Fog

Brain fog happens. It can last days or longer and often manifests as a symptom of a medical condition. Resolving it means managing its underlying condition, changing your lifestyle, doing brain exercises, and undergoing neurofeedback brain training.

Evolve Brain Training is an award-winning brain training center that uses evidence-based, non-invasive brain training techniques to promote physical, emotional and mental wellness. Contact us, and we can help you train your brain against mental fog.

Dr. Upasana Gala is the founder and CEO of Evolve Brain Training, a Neurofeedback-centered institute that focuses on using non-invasive brain training techniques to maximize the brain's true potential.

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