Practice Cognitive Clearing With These 5 Exercises
Feeling a little foggy these days? Whether you’re struggling with the symptoms of stress, long COVID or excessive screentime, more people are experiencing severe brain fog lately. Out-of-control stress levels, world events, social and work responsibilities and lack of sleep can all contribute to brain fog.
There’s no need to accept brain fog as the cost of living in 2022. While all of us are more distracted, While all of us are more distracted and exhausted these days, we can improve our memory, focus and decision-making skills with a few simple exercises.
Cognitive clearing might just be a game changer. Utilizing these simple techniques will banish the brain fog and help you return to normal.
What is cognitive clearing?
Cognitive clearing is a term of art. When you suffer from stress, attention fatigue and memory fog, it feels like your brain is shrouded in fog. It’s harder to “see” clearly, literally and metaphorically, and you may have a harder time paying attention to everyday tasks.
Brain fog can occur for many reasons: pregnancy, medication, certain medical conditions, stress, depression and insomnia are just a few of the reasons you might have trouble thinking clearly. COVID-19 can also result in brain fog, making it harder for us to harness our cognitive abilities on a daily basis.
Cognitive clearing, therefore, is getting rid of the fog to improve your memory, attention and even emotional health. There are plenty of ways you can engage in cognitive clearing, including the five techniques below.
Anyone can benefit from cognitive clearing. Think of it as a way to quickly detox from too much screentime and information overload. Embracing these five exercises will help you stay focused and attentive, even when life is stressful.
Five easy cognitive clearing exercises
Here are five simple ways to banish the brain fog:
- Exercise regularly: Carving out time for exercise can be tough, especially when you have a busy schedule. However, there’s no substitute for regular exercise. If you can get out and move in nature, like a local park or on the beach, so much the better. Exercise boosts our circulation, which helps send more blood to the brain. It helps improve cognition and mood, especially if you go outside. When you’re struggling to focus, take a 10-minute walk. You’ll come back refreshed and ready to get back to work.
- Limit your screentime: The 24-hour news cycle is a blessing and a curse. On one hand, we can learn about world events in real time—something our grandparents couldn’t have imagined. On the other hand, between news and social media feeds, we’re constantly bombarded with difficult and shocking information. Try to limit your media and news consumption whenever possible. It’s important to stay informed, but it’s also important to preserve your mental health.
- Learn something new: Learning a new skill or information can help clear your brain, ward off dementia and keep you engaged in other areas of life. The key is to choose an activity or subject you enjoy. Most of us lead very busy lives, so keep your expectations realistic. A new recipe can be a great way to learn something—you were probably going to cook, anyway, so why not make it interesting? Even reading articles like these can help stimulate your mind.
- Reach out to others: The COVID-19 pandemic has been extremely isolating for many. Society is still trying to find the right balance between socializing and safety. When brain fog strikes, pick up the phone and talk to a loved one. Schedule an outing with your friends, or find a way that you can connect with your community. You’ll feel better about yourself, and it can help reinvigorate you for future challenges.
- Practice self-compassion: Finally, don’t forget to practice self-compassion. It’s easy to compare ourselves to others and fall short, but that can actually make your brain fog worse. If you wouldn’t talk to your best friend in a certain way, don’t say it to yourself. Then focus on practical ways to solve your problems: outsource your least favorite chores, rearrange your work schedule or simply forgive yourself for misplacing your phone for the third time this week. The kinder you are to yourself, the less pressure you’ll feel to clear the fog, or else.
When you incorporate these five exercises into your daily life, you’ll notice an instant difference. Because we’re living in such unprecedented times, it’s hard to gauge our own cognitive function accurately. Social connection, exercise, self-compassion and curating your entertainment can go a long way toward banishing that fog forever.