Brain fog is that vague feeling of fuzziness, forgetfulness and confusion in your head. It’s hard to pinpoint exactly what the symptoms are, but the overall feeling is as if your thoughts and mental processes were covered in a thick, inexplicable fog. It creates an eerie sense of detachment, that leaves you feeling uneasy and distanced from everyone and everything.

It can make you feel tired and create problems with concentration. It can also make you feel confused and frustrated. Where did this fog come from? Will it ever go away?

The feeling isn’t dangerous, and don’t worry, you aren’t losing your mind. You just need to wait for it to pass. Some people may feel it for a few hours, some may feel it for a few days or even weeks. But there are ways to help your mind clear the fog more quickly.

Lifestyle changes and stress levels play a significant role in the development of brain fog, and can affect how long it lasts. Once you figure out what changes to make, your brain fog can easily be cleared up and kept at bay.

What is brain fog, scientifically speaking?

Generally, when something is out of sorts in the brain, abnormal sensations or feelings may arise. This would definitely include brain fog. The exact processes behind brain fog aren’t known precisely, but it’s generally agreed that the strange feeling is a result of chemical imbalance in the brain, and possibly inflammation of some areas of the brain.

The main chemical imbalance that can cause brain fog is increased cortisol levels. This is something that happens as a result of too much stress, and not enough pleasure or feel-good chemicals.

When your cortisol levels rise, usually as a result of stress, anxiety and fear, your serotonin and dopamine levels drop, and your body feels even more stressed out than before.

You begin to feel constantly on-edge, out of touch, easily distracted, and low on energy – all of these factors creating even more stress. To avoid exposing itself to even more stress, it’s almost like the brain decides to detach itself from you somewhat, and partly shut down. So the feeling of brain fog comes from the brain’s attempt to protect itself with a sort of detachment defense mechanism.

Inflammation is another reason for feeling a little mentally cloudy. Inflammation is another one of your body’s natural processes to rid itself of toxins and negative influences. However, tons of energy is spent on this activity, which can definitely put a drain on your brain, and create a feeling of detachment from your normal mental functions.

Here are 5 ways to clear up brain fog, and stop it from happening again!

1: Exercise daily

Regular physical activity can really work wonders for your mental health. Exercise has been shown as a natural, sure-fire way to produce dopamine and serotonin – both of which you’ll need in high amounts to combat that foggy feeling and get your energy, clarity, and motivation back up.

Even just 30 minutes of exercise a day can make a huge difference, and keep your stress levels to a minimum. And by keeping your stress levels down, you’ll keep brain fog at bay!

2: Focus on a healthy diet

Eating foods with little or no nutritional value not only compromise your physical health, but can get your brain out of whack, as well.

Your brain needs certain vitamins, chemicals and nutrients to function properly, and simply adjusting some of the things you eat can have a significant impact on your mental clarity and happiness.

Focus on getting lots of fresh vegetables, fruit, nuts, seeds, and using natural oils like olive oil, linseed oil, or coconut oil. Ideally you should think about going plant based or Vegan, as this is the best and most healthy diet you could give yourself.

If your brain has all the fuel it needs to stay focused and clear, rather than shutting down when faced with stress, it will help you manage your cortisol levels, and prevent the dreaded fog from returning.

3: Manage your stress levels

Stress can be hard to avoid, but it can be harmful to both our physical and mental health. Stress depletes the body of energy, positive feeling chemicals, and can cause us to feel depressed and anxious. These emotions can become so persistent that they become the default way that we view and interact with the world. So it’s important to try and limit stressful factors in your life.

This might sound like it’s easier said than done, but believe it or not it is possible to manage your stress levels.

To combat the negative effects of stress, try to see what nerve-racking things in your life you can control, and which ones you simply need to learn to worry less about. For example, if you’re stressing about a certain dilemma, do your best to find a solution quickly, so that you can move on from the stressful situation as soon as possible.

Or if you’re stressing about something that you know you have no control over, try to accept the situation rather than worrying about it. Meditation, yoga, connection with pets or friends, or developing your own spiritual practice can also be great ways to defeat stress.

4: Supplement safely

So we know that eating a nutrient rich diet is key to proper brain functioning, but sometimes you might need to toss some extra vitamins and supplements into your diet to truly make a difference. Try taking supplements like vitamin B6, B12 magnesium, fish oil, folate, vitamin D and zinc to boost your brain power.

Just remember to supplement safely, and always check the recommended intake.

5: Get your Zzz’s

Getting a healthy, regular nights’ sleep is also vital. Hormone and melatonin production is controlled while you sleep, as is overall brain regeneration and rest. If your brain feels tired, then there’s no doubt it’ll feel a little foggy. Give it some time to reboot and you’ll quickly see the mental cloudiness fade away. If you want a simple boost to your sleep quality, try learning to lucid dream!