Through the years I get periods of extreme fatigue, and an unclear thought pattern. These patterns would last months at a time; it felt as though I had a clear thought, or the intent of a clear thought but it was unclear at the same time. For months at a time I started to describe this phenomenon as "brain fog". I knew something was wrong so I did my homework.
First, I went to a doctor and got my blood work done. After seeking medical aid multiple times, blood pallets coming back perfect, I was not happy with the results so I did my own research. This disorder is more common than I though. I search site after side but some never actually explained to me why it happened. I mean... the exact reasons why.
Brain Fog or, Mental Fatigue is not medically recognized however, my searches on the net make it seem like it's an all too real thing. This commonly used phrase that sums up feelings of confusion, forgetfulness, and lack of focus and mental clarity. It also seems as though whatever I try nothing really worked and I know I won't accept a "normal" blood palette results as this is all relative information and based on averages. My body and my brain are both trying to tell me something.
Here's what I know:
When the body and brain is stressed our body sends out cortisol, a hormone that triggers our fight or flight patterns. As we endure the natural hardships of life we may experience prolonged states of stress. As we stay in this state for too long the part of our brain that regulates our consciousness is inhibited and taken over by the more primitive section of our brain, the amygdala, that manages this fight or flight response. Wikipedia calls this, "clouding of consciousness". Due to the fact that our amygdala cannot distinguish between a real and perceived stresses it some times activates at the wrong times and becomes over activated.
Pretty much anything that causes prolonged periods of stress can cause brain fog but let's narrow down a few of them.
- Lack of Sleep:
Sleep, for me is a big one. It is our time for our body, and minds to restore. If you're having trouble sleeping check out this blog post about managing your sleep patterns: HERE
- Hormone Changes like pregnancy
Hormones like progesterone and estrogen often increase in pregnancy. In a similar situation a drop in hormone levels can cause brain fog, Take menopause for example, it can cause forgetfulness, poor concentration and cloudy thinking.
For men it can be something as simple as low testosterone.
- Diet / Nutritional Deficiencies
With a large focus on our mental health we cannot forget the body. We need a balanced diet of 90 nutrients for optimal health. Each nutrient supports one another like a large system. Just like our bodies have multiple systems like the nervous system, circulatory, etc. For example one B vitamin on its own doesn't do much, but if we add a B50 vitamin complex that has B6, B12, B3 etc, they will work together to do a better job just like Vitamin D and Calcium go together.
- Everyday life stressors
As a creative and business owner I am often flooded with emotions, deadlines and self-doubt. "Can I get these photos up? Can I complete this project before I need to do-", are just some things that come to mind. Not to mention keeping a good work life balance. Curious about work/ life balance click HERE
Our bodies run on balanced chemical reactions to help give us energy and function properly. Taking medication gives us a desired side effect by altering our body chemistry. If you start experiencing mental fog while taking medication please see a doctor and talk about this side effect. Sometimes a doctor may prescribe a medication because they believe the benefits outweigh the side effects.
- Medical Conditions
Medical conditions through our body out of alignment and can add stress to our brain and body chemistry. A lot of conditions are caused by a high rate of inflammation. Be fit, be healthy and eat properly to help reduce your chances of illness.
- Lack of Exercise
I like to be lazy. It's in basic human programming; we will find the easiest ways to do something however it does have many side effects. Exercise helps keep so many functions of our body in line that I cannot simply list them all. I will say that it does help with stress, anxiety and depression.
Brain fog affects many people. The best way to cope is by reducing stress. I suggest taking a look through some previous Life's Alright posts for tips and strategies for maintaining a high quality life style. Life is crazy, I get it and we may not deal with stress all the same way. Please let me know how you deal with stress by adding your comments below. Whatever your symptoms may be it is your body trying to tell you something. Listen and react accordingly. Brain fog may come and go just as life has its ups and downs. Even at our lowest points we can look back and say, "Life is Alright".
If this has helped you please share it on social media to help someone else! :)