Beating Brain Fog and Improving Focus
Brain fog is not a medical term but it’s a term that nicely captures something that many people experience. Brain fog is that feeling of being spaced out and struggling to focus and engage. Have you ever read a book or listened to someone talk for several minutes only to realize that you didn’t absorb anything? Do you feel like you’re perpetually lost in thought? These are common signs of brain fog. When you have brain fog you might forget what you were just about to say or do, or whether you locked the door or packed your water bottle. It can leave you feeling disconnected from the world around you. These little mental slips are normal to an extent but if they’re starting to interfere with your quality of life it may be worth doing something about it.
If things feel like they’re getting out of hand, it’s important to discuss these issues with a health care provider who can assess for potential underlying causes like thyroid dysfunction, anemia, depression, anxiety, ADHD, digestive conditions or cognitive disorders.
Here are some important concepts that can help to improve your focus and clear some of that brain fog:
Mindfulness: You might feel like all this talk about mindfulness is getting repetitive, but useful things are worth repeating. I’m not only talking about doing meditation sessions (which is valuable), I’m also talking about doing your everyday tasks mindfully. Living mindfully involves focusing on one thing at a time rather that scattering your focus in a million different directions. If you’re watching TV, just watch TV. If you’re speaking to someone, just speak to them. If you’re writing something, just write. Don’t try to do these things while also texting, planning your response, thinking about something unrelated, checking emails etc. Practice single minded focus.
Nutrition: Many of my patients notice a huge improvement in their mental clarity when we clean up their diet. This usually involves reducing foods that spike blood sugar, moderating excessive carb/grain intake and increasing protein, good fats and nutrient-packed produce.
Exercise: Mental clarity is one of the first things to improve when you start increasing your exercise. The general recommendation is 150 minutes/week of aerobic exercise. This is the kind of exercise that gets you breathing faster to the point where it would be hard to sing if you wanted to or you have to pause to breathe when you try to talk.
Supplements: When relevant, I will sometimes use supplements to help people struggling with brain fog. My choices vary depending on the case. I will recommend certain supplements based on nutritional deficiencies, hormonal irregularities, digestive health and other components of your health history. But don’t just jump straight to the supplements and ignore the lifestyle things I mentioned above.
If you want a custom-fit plan for your brain fog so you can start interacting with the world with a fresh, clear mind, reach out to me and we can start bringing you back into focus.
Dr. Samantha Dass is currently a naturopathic doctor working at Holland Landing Health Centre in East Gwillimbury, Ontario, which services Holland Landing, Newmarket, Aurora, Keswick and Bradford areas. If you are interested in naturopathic services please contact Holland Landing Health Centre at 905-853-7900 or via e-mail at [email protected]