Do you ever stand up to do something and forget exactly where you were going or what you were even doing in the first place? There might be too much on your plate fogging your brain with information.
Why is my brain foggy?
“Brain fog isn’t a medical diagnosis,” Dr. Danielle Wilhour, an assistant professor in neurology at the University of Colorado School of Medicine, told Everyday Health. “Rather, it’s a casual, or lay, term used to describe an umbrella of cognitive symptoms.”
There could be a number of reasons a person experiences a temporary dullness in their regularly sharp mind. However, it’s important to make sure that brain fog is only temporary. Having mental clarity and focus is essential for a person's productivity, mental well-being and overall life satisfaction.
How can I improve my thought clarity?
Here are five tips to bring your brain back to its most focused self and be rid of the confusing fog.
1. Remove clutter
A tidy workspace can lead to a tidy mind. Declutter your physical surroundings to reduce distractions.
“Clutter creates chaos, which impacts your ability to focus. It also limits your brain’s capacity to process information. Clutter is a form of visual distraction, which increases cognitive overload and can reduce working memory,” according to Psychology Today.
Using tools like to-do lists or reminder apps can also help simplify tasks and priorities.
2. Reduce multitasking
Contrary to popular belief, multitasking can decrease productivity and make tasks take longer. According to the American Psychological Association, multitasking ultimately consumes more time and leads to increased mistakes: “Even brief mental blocks created by shifting between tasks can cost as much as 40% of someone’s productive time.”
Forbes recommended making certain changes in your life to reduce the need to multitask:
- Let people know you don’t want to be distracted.
- Silence email notifications.
- Turn off electronics when they aren’t needed.
- Write a to-do list.
- Prioritize tasks.
- Give yourself time for breaks.
3. Prioritize sleep
According to Better Up, “When our mind’s energetic resources are depleted, the rest of the body often follows suit. Physical exhaustion and mental fatigue are common side effects of low mental clarity that could mean it’s time for a behavior change.”
Quality sleep is crucial for cognitive function, memory processing and mood regulation. By having a regular sleep schedule and good sleep hygiene, it can help with reducing brain fog.
“Getting inadequate sleep over time can raise your risk for chronic (long-term) health problems. It can also affect how well you think, react, work, learn and get along with others,” per the National Institutes of Health.
4. Maintain a healthy diet
Consuming a balanced diet with essential nutrients like omega-3 fatty acids can help enhance brain function.
“Foods that are good for your brain can help keep this crucial organ healthy and can improve your ability to do specific mental tasks, such as memory and concentration,” per Healthline.
Studies indicate that the top foods for brain health also benefit your heart and circulatory system. According to Harvard Health, here is a list of foods to add to your diet to promote brain health:
- Green leafy vegetables.
5. Get active
Regular exercise has numerous benefits for the mind. BYU Life Sciences emphasized that exercise is essential for brain health.
Adding that, “An increase in blood flow is not only extremely beneficial, it is essential. Exercise induces good blood flow to deliver all the nutrients required to carry out the brain’s job, while it also increases production molecules important to brain function, including memory.”
Whether it’s a brisk walk, yoga or more intense activities like running, find what exercises work for you and strive to make it a habit.
6. Practice meditation
Practicing mindfulness, meditation or a combination of the two can help declutter your mind and improve concentration.
“It can strengthen areas of your brain responsible for memory, learning, attention and self-awareness,” per UW Medicine. “The practice can also help calm down your sympathetic nervous system. Over time, mindfulness meditation can increase cognition, memory and attention.”
Even just a few minutes a day can make a significant difference. Meditation teaches you to bring your focus back whenever your mind starts wandering.