MIT neuroscientist shares 4 things she never does to avoid ‘brain fog and forgetfulness’

The alarm is going off. You get dressed, grab your coffee and go to work. But by lunchtime, you start to feel disorganized. You reread emails because you lack focus and mental clarity.

There’s nothing worse than brain fog. In addition to stress and lack of sleep, it can be caused by the immune system triggering 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 (e.g. stiff neck, back or shoulder pain). This can be due to stress from things like unfinished tasks or approaching deadlines.

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

  1. Inhale through your nose as you slowly count down to four seconds.
  2. Hold your breath for four seconds.
  3. Exhale through your nose and let all the air out of your lungs as you slowly count down 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 lower levels of cortisol, the chemical produced when the body is under stress.

2. I never use screens an hour before bed.

3. I never load glucose.

4. I never go a day without meditating.

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