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Understanding Brain Fog: The Key Causes and Solutions

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Brain fog is as annoying as it is inevitable. For some, it’s an occasional nuisance that gets in the way of a productive day at work. For others, it’s a chronic disturbance that can have wide-reaching impacts on their quality of life. 

While not traditionally recognized as a condition in its own right, brain fog can still be distressing and disruptive. If you suffer from it regularly, it’s best practice to see your doctor about possible causes. If brain fog is an occasional or new feeling you are working through, learn more about it below. This article lists some of the leading causes for – and best solutions to – this common problem. 

What causes brain fog?

As mentioned, brain fog isn’t necessarily a condition. Rather, it’s a common symptom of several possible conditions, lifestyles, hormonal imbalances and emotional states. If you have ever asked yourself, why do I have trouble focusing then here are a few of the main reasons for brain fog. 


As Harvard Health points out, what you eat (or don’t eat) can affect your brain in myriad ways. Diets lacking a varied profile of vitamins and minerals (namely B12, which promotes brain health) may cause you to feel foggy or unfocused. Also, contact with food you are allergic to or sensitive to make cause the same feeling. 


Stress has a way of depleting your mental energy, drawing your concentration away from the concrete tasks and hand and refocusing it on nebulous internal fears and doubts. 

Lack of sleep

Sleep is a way for your brain to recharge its metaphorical battery. Without quality sleep, you may wake up still feeling fatigued. 

Pregnancy and other hormonal transitions

Pregnancy, menopause, some thyroid diseases, hormone therapy and even chronic stress: each of these can cause hormone imbalances that may leave you feeling unfocused. 

More serious medical issues

Finally, in some cases, brain fog can be a symptom of a more serious medical condition. If you are at all worried that your inability to concentrate may indicate a deeper problem, don’t hesitate to visit a doctor. 

How to Think Clearly Again

The solution to your problem may be simple or complex. It may be alleviated by a quick cup of adaptogen mushroom tea, or it may require medication. The overarching tip here is to experiment with solutions while also consulting your doctor if the problem persists. 

Dietary changes

Incorporate brain-healthy foods into your diet. If your dietary restrictions permit, include more Omega-3-rich fish or avocadoes. Nuts and chocolate are also good for your brain since they contain Vitamin E and antioxidants. To learn more, consult this handy guide from Medical News Today on focus-boosting brain food. 

Try Lion’s Mane Powder

Lion’s mane mushrooms hold a special place in traditional Chinese medicine, valued for their ability to support cognitive health and function. Recent studies suggest it may be a powerful tool in the promotion of nerve and brain health. 

Declutter, decompress, and enjoy yourself

Taking the time to declutter your living space may go a long way toward mitigating stress and establishing better conditions for concentration. Also, remember to leave time in your busy schedule to relax and enjoy yourself. Continually stressing over work may be counter-productive – the more you worry, the foggier your brain will be, which can tank your productivity. 

One salient point that’s worth mentioning at the end here is that brain fog is common. It happens to everyone. Try the tips above to help alleviate the problem, and remember that you can always consult a physician if in doubt.

Helen Bradfield did her degree in psychology at the University of Edinburgh. She has an ongoing interest in mental health and well-being.

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