Sunday, February 16, 2014

Energy Economy - 10 Ways to COMBAT Cognitive Dysfunction (Brain Fog, Fibro Fog)

10 Ways To Combat Brain Fog

As I see it, dealing with cognitive dysfunction falls into two categories:  1. Coping, and 2. Combatting.


Coping means to accept that it is a problem and do what you can to live within its limits.  Cope can literally mean to come into contact with, to meet.  So to cope is to go out and meet the challenge as best we can.  Last week we discussed 10 ways to cope with this problem.  Today we will discuss how to combat it.

When I think of Combat, I think of a battle.  And often battles are fought over territory.  So, ‘to combat’ means to fight for our mental territory.  Literally it can mean to take action to reduce, destroy, or prevent something.


So here are some ways to reduce or prevent Brain Fog (progressively, as in over time):

1.      Exercise your brain.  It’s true, we need to be careful and not push too hard.  But if we never push our brains their abilities will continue to lessen and lessen.  The common saying, ‘if you don’t use it, you lose it’, is true.  We want to strengthen our brain function, not make it weaker.  We want to increase our brain capacity.  Here are some ways to do this:

·      Play games like Sudoku, Tetris, memory games, logic problems and crossword puzzles.  You can pick these up at any grocery store or online.
·      Give yourself a list and try to remember it all day.  See if you can still remember it in the evening.  (If it is important you should also write it down.)
·      Learn something new.  Learn a language, an art form like drawing or painting, a skill like cooking or sewing.  Take an online class or tutorial.  Learn about history or world events.  Learn to play an instrument.
·      Re-learn something old.  We may have difficulty remembering elementary things like basic math, spelling, grammar, or the basics of a skill we learned years ago.  Teach yourself again.
·      Teach others.  Teaching others what you know is a great way to stretch your brain muscles.  It not only imparts knowledge to someone else but also reinforces that knowledge in yourself.

Check out these blogs for some more really great idea’s:
Fog Brain - OOPS I mean Brain Fog

2.      Regularly do things that make you happy.  Joy is good for your brain.  It is good for your whole body.  So make a list of things that make you happy (being outside, the sunlight, the circus, art, music, being with specific people, helping others, playing with your children, a cup of tea, a good book, a bath etc…).  Next, try to incorporate something that makes you happy into your daily or weekly routine.  (Did you know that laughter increases brain function?)

3.      Find interests in life. Being bored can negatively affect your energy and your brain.  Shake things up a bit.  Get out of old ruts and find something new or different to be interested in.

4.      Practice good pacing.  Pacing is about balancing activity and rest.  Remember that what you do today will effect what you can do tomorrow.  Limit the amount of time you engage in any activity.  Stop before you are exhausted.  Stop at the first sign of brain fog symptoms (or worsening of symptoms).  You may be able to gradually expand your time limits.  Here are some articles discussing the art of pacing.  Remember, these techniques and practices are good for many illnesses, not just the specific ones being addressed in these articles.  

Pacing 101  Some practical suggestions.
The Spoon Theory  This explains how a healthy person's approach to a day is very different from a sick person's approach and what the difference is.  It is like one long illustration of the point. 

5.      Get more water.  It’s amazing how much water can affect brain function.  Sometimes brain fog can be the result of simple dehydration – or at least it can be effected by that.

6.      Avoid foods you are allergic to.  Eating food that your body can’t tolerate or has difficulty assimilating will lead to brain fog.  If you know you are allergic to specific things put forth effort to avoid them.  After being off of soy and gluten for over a year now I have begun to recognize my body’s symptoms when I accidentally ingest these products.  My very first symptom is brain fog – I actually feel it descending on my head like a hat that is weighted down.

7.      Get good nutrition.  I’m not saying never eat sugar or chips.  I am saying to eat more fruits and vegetables.  And more protein.  (I notice that I sometimes get worse brain fog when I haven’t had enough protein.)  Get more good food in your diet.  Juices and smoothies can really help with this.  Take vitamins.

8.      Get good sleep.  This can pose a problem.  So, you might think of working on your sleeping habits for a month.  Find things that help you get a good night’s sleep.  If you can improve your sleep your brain will thank you.

9.      Exercise.  This can actually help a lot.  Just stay within your energy limits.  Even very small amounts of exercise make a difference with my brain fog and pain.

10. Work with your doctor or healthcare practitioner.  You and your healthcare professionals are a team.  Work together to find solutions.  Give your doctors or practitioners feedback.  This requires that you try to be somewhat aware of your body’s reactions.  Make notes of what helps your cognitive dysfunction.  Make notes of what doesn’t help or what hurts it.  Actively participate in your healthcare.

Keep in mind that we are all different.  The causes of our brain fog will vary and even if the cause is similar our personal body reaction is unique, as is our mental and emotional makeup.  The key is to find things that help you personally.

And now it’s your turn.  What are your favorite methods of fighting off or reducing brain fog?  Won't you share them?

Other Energy Economy posts:

3 comments:

  1. I am really happy my obsessive game playing is serving a purpose! : )

    ReplyDelete