It’s not uncommon these days to struggle with focus and concentration, especially during heightened periods of stress — aka suffer from brain fog. So what can we do about it? What is the answer to the question, “How to stop brain fog?”
WHAT IS BRAIN FOG?
2020 has got the best of all of us. The good news is that we’ve got some empowering tips below on how to revive the brain! Do you misplace things, like your keys or phone, often? Forget what you were going to say? Feel overwhelmed easily? Have a low capacity for short term memory? Tired? Drained? Brain fog is likely affecting you.
This year has been A LOT to handle and we don’t always give ourselves moments (we need) to reset. In other words, we jump from one thing to another without stopping to ask ourselves, “How am I really doing?”, “When was the last time I took a deep breath?” – And when we don’t take this time to check in with ourselves, it often catches up to us in the form of stress, feelings of overwhelm, decision fatigue and brain fog.
5 WAYS TO REVIVE YOUR BRAIN TODAY
Here are some of our tips to enhance brain health, improve memory and mitigate brain fog:
BRAIN HEALTH TIP 1:
Limit technology use
There’s no denying that we live in a digital world, with many businesses going virtual, and social restrictions we are sitting even more so in front of a screen now than ever before. Neuroscientists have coined the term “digital dementia” to refer to the harm constant overuse of technology has on our right-brain functions, including short-term memory, attention span and focus.
Try limiting your use of technology as much as possible (aka choosing a paper book over a digital version) taking screen breaks (even phone calls over zoom calls for work where you can) and spending more time outdoors!
BRAIN HEALTH TIP #2:
Avoid the recipe for brain fog
If you want to be your sharpest self, avoid combining high fat and high carb foods at mealtime. Example: pasta in a rich cream sauce or a double Big Mac and fries. Although it may light up your taste buds, we bet you feel really sluggish and don’t feel your best after eating it. This is because our bodies digest carbs quickly (ever heard of a “sugar high”?) whereas fats digest at a much slower rate.
When we have a meal high in fat AND high in carbs, the high fat makes the carbs stick around longer than they otherwise would in our system. This allows any bad bacteria to feed off the carbs which can cause digestive issues, skin problems, brain fog, fatigue, low energy, inflammation and headaches and poor concentration, among other things.
BRAIN HEALTH TIP #3:
Ditch brain damaging fats
Did you know at least 60% of our brain is actually composed of fat? With that being said, not all fats are created equal. Stay away from damaged fats (like trans fats, deep fried foods), refined carbs (like the processed white stuff) and inflammatory oils. Healthy fats fuel our brain, infuse our cells with energy, support our immune system, balance our blood sugar and give us the mental clarity we need to focus throughout the day.
The best fats are ones with fibre: nuts and seeds (i.e. almonds, pumpkin seeds etc) and fat fruits (i.e. coconut, avocado, olives etc.) and fatty fish. The worst fats are oils like vegetable oil, safflower oil, corn oil, peanut oil, cottonseed oil, canola oil, soybean oil etc. as these are inflammatory, damage cell membranes and should be avoided at all costs!
BRAIN HEALTH TIP #4:
Grow your brain
Research shows that exercise signals the genes that that produce BDNF, a growth and protective hormone, that supports brain cell function. Daily movement is also a great opportunity for you and your kids to combat the negative side effects of sitting for long periods of time while at work/school. In addition to reducing stress, exercise has been proven to help balance blood sugar and increase mental focus, which means if your kids are engaging in physical activity, they are more likely to be able to concentrate when they do need to focus at a sport or on their home-schooling!
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BRAIN HEALTH TIP #5:
Do ONE thing
Mono-tasking is a thing! In a time where multi-tasking couldn’t be more accessible thanks to smartphones, our brains end up in overdrive on all the things we COULD be doing. There’s a reason it’s called the social media rabbit hole. Dr. Bhat’s advice? If you’re trying to get something done, focus on ONE task at a time to completion.
Focus is also a learned skill which requires practice. The art of successful mono-tasking comes by blocking out time for each task in your schedule, and throw your phone in another room. When you do this, you won’t feel guilty for not doing the other million things you have to do because you have blocked off time for them at another point.
BRAIN HEALTH TIP #6:
Train your brain
Dopamine is our reward neurotransmitter. In this day and age of instant gratification, we get dopamine hits all the time, which can cause feelings of anxiousness and makes us unable to focus because at any minute, we can get another dopamine hit. It’s the feeling when someone comments on your photo on Instagram, the ding of a text message or e-mail, or the rush your kids’ get when they pass a level in a video game.
One thing you can do to train your brain: delay gratification. Turn Instagram notifications off, keep your phone on vibrate, turn on airplane mode when you don’t need it, avoid binge watching and keep your phone away from your bedroom especially while you sleep!
If your kids’ reward center seems off (begging for screens, can’t rip it away, tempers, inability to focus, no attention span, procrastination etc.) this is why we created Raising Roots, our pediatric functional medicine program. Consult with us to see if this is right for your child!
HOW CAN TMB HELP WITH YOUR BRAIN FOG?
Did you know that acupuncture can stimulate your brain? Acupuncture works at the cellular level, increasing circulation throughout the body which is extremely beneficial to our health. It doesn’t just benefit adults – It’s also a very safe and effective treatment for kids! There are three significant advantages that we want to highlight regarding FOCUS. The first is that it reduces inflammation. The second is that it calms the nervous system (providing clarity!) And the third is that it improves posture (tight fascia affects blood flow).
BOOK A FIIX TREATMENT HERE!
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This article is excerpted from our weekly TMB Magazine — an exclusive subscriber only publication that is packed with all sorts of in-depth latest study breakdowns, functional medicine insights and wisdom from Dr. Bhat and her team.
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