An MIT Neuroscientist Shares 4 Things She Never Does to Avoid ‘Brain Fog and Forgetting’

An MIT Neuroscientist Shares 4 Things She Never Does to Avoid ‘Brain Fog and Forgetting’

The alarm goes off. You get dressed, have your coffee and go to work. But at lunchtime, you start to feel disorganized. You re-read emails because you lack focus and mental clarity.

There is nothing worse than brain fog. Along with stress and lack of sleep, it can be caused by the immune system creating an inflammatory response in the brain. This can lead to symptoms such as poor concentration and memory, or difficulty making decisions.

As a neuroscientist, I study the causes of brain fog and forgetfulness. To avoid them, here are four things I never do:

1. I never let my body tense up for too long.

Even if you think you are relaxed, your body may be physically tense (eg stiff neck, back or shoulder pain). It can be the result of stress caused by things like unfinished tasks or impending deadlines.

So when I notice that my body is tense, I immediately do an exercise called “breathing box”:

  1. Inhale through your nose, counting slowly for four seconds.
  2. Hold your breath for four seconds.
  3. Exhale through your nose, releasing all the air from your lungs, counting slowly to four seconds.
  4. Hold your breath for four seconds.
  5. Repeat for at least four rounds.

Box breathing is a simple way to help calm your brain. Studies also show that it can reduce levels of cortisol, which is the chemical produced when the body is stressed.

2. I never use screens an hour before bedtime.

3. I never fill up on glucose.

4. I never go a day without meditating.

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