What’s causing brain fog and how to overcome it

Everything a little fuzzy right now? You aren’t alone. Brain fog and difficult focusing is the number one concern I hear from clients, friends, and even my own brain!

Attention is the focusing of mental resources.

Attention is one of the first steps in memory processing. When we are under stress, initially, our attention is sharp. Our brain floods us with chemicals to help us flight, fight, or flee. But it’s meant to be a temporary solution to help us return to baseline.

If the stress hangs around awhile (or piles up), our mental resources become overloaded. We lose focus, our hippocampus is affected (which you can learn more about in my latest Walk With a Doc video), and our brain is essentially in survival mode.

Read on to find out how to help overcome brain fog.

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How can we overcome brain fog?

Depending on the level of stress (which is high for many people right now), brain fog can be difficult to eliminate completely. But there are some ways to help yourself focus better.

Embrace simplicity right now. Scaling back when needed IS productive.

  • Give yourself time. It won’t happen overnight, but remember–our brains are resilient.
  • Practice self-compassion. Give yourself a break right now. Take breaks. Pare down your to do list.  And be kind to yourself. 
  • Be mindful. Practice focusing on one object, sound, taste, or texture. Really explore it in detail. Studies show that mindfulness can help refocus our attention and bring on the relaxation response. 
  • Avoid multitasking. We aren’t so good at it on a typical day, so stress certainly doesn’t help.

Finally embrace simplicity. Did you know that children who are given too many toys at one time become easily distracted and enjoy their playtime LESS (Dauch et al., 2018). Adults are no different. Immerse yourself in one activity at a time, really focusing on being present. And take a break when you need to. 

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