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Feel Like Your Brain Not Working? It’s A Warning Sign That You Need To De-stress

Feel Like Your Brain Not Working? It’s A Warning Sign That You Need To De-stress

Have you ever sat down to complete a task or tried to focus at work and you felt so overwhelmed you just couldn’t get it together? Have you ever felt that your stress levels were at an all-time high and you felt like your mind is scattered and foggy? Have you ever felt constantly exhausted, irritable, distracted, and unhappy overall? Then you probably are suffering from something called brain fog.

The good news is you won’t suffer from this forever. There are many natural ways you can rid yourself of this debilitating condition and get yourself back to a happier you.

Symptoms of Brain Fog

  • Inability to focus
  • Processing information at a slower pace
  • Memory is poor
  • Feelings of grogginess and confusion
  • Anxiety

Keep in mind that brain fog typically tends to worsen when you are feeling stressed, worried, rushed and dealing with too much information at once. Here are 4 ways to de-stress and get rid of brain fog:

1. Get more sleep

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woman-sleeping-in-bed

    When suffering from brain fog, it may be difficult to shut your brain off at night. You may find yourself lying in bed for hours before finally drifting off to sleep, and when you do fall asleep, you may find that you’re unable to sleep through the night without waking up a few times.

    There are quite a few ways that you can unwind prior to getting into bed so you’re able to relax and fall asleep much easier. For example, if you start reading before bed, it sends a signal to your body and mind that it’s soon time to sleep. Or, if you take a warm bath before bed, your body recognizes that the day is coming to a close and it’s time to relax.

    Also, try listening to calming music in conjunction with some stretching and relaxation exercises. The whole point of having a pre-sleep routine is to prep your mind and body for sleep. Figure out when you want to be in bed by and then set aside 30-60 minutes for your pre-sleep time.

    2. Get moving

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    635924574014208042697820024_exercising

      When suffering from brain fog, your brain is unable to get the nutrients and oxygen that it needs to function properly. It boils down to a circulation issue, which can be caused by not getting enough exercise, or having a somewhat sedentary lifestyle. By getting regular exercise, your neural connections increase, and your hormones balance out. Numerous studies have shown that one of the most crucial things you can do for your brain is to get up and start moving around. When we find ourselves stuck in brain fog, we may want to just crawl into bed and sleep away our stresses.

      Get out and experience nature. Take a walk, ride a bike, and link up with a friend to join you. Having a workout buddy is a nice little trick to pick up a daily habit. The clarity you feel afterward will be such a relief.

      3. Keep a journal

      Woman writing in journal against tree in woods

        Keeping a journal is extremely beneficial for a number of reasons. You don’t need to just journal at the end of the day before bed. Carry it with you throughout the day. When you’re feeling overwhelmed, have a random thought that is bothering you, make a point to write it down, regardless of what time of day it is.

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        In addition, keep track of the foods you’re eating, your daily activities, and your sleep patterns. It may seem a little time consuming, but by the process of elimination, you may begin to notice a pattern that triggers your brain fog.

        Either way, sometimes the best way to get out your thoughts is to see them down on paper. Keeping thoughts in your head that cause you any type of mental and emotional discomfort is not healthy.

        4. Meditate

        meditation

          Meditation is good for the mind, body, and soul. When a person meditates, the body produces less of those so-called stress hormones, better known as cortisol and adrenaline and this increases the neurotransmitters. Regular meditation is one of the most powerful activities to improve overall health.

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          Start out practicing for five minutes a day until you’re able to practice for 20 to 30 minutes morning and evening. However, if you can’t dedicate that much time during your day, 10 minutes a day will make a significant difference.

          Stress can cause you to feel overwhelmed, depressed, and anxious. It can make getting out of bed almost unbearable some days. The good news is that there are many natural ways you can reduce your stress and regain control over your mental wellbeing.

          Using the above tips to get rid of brain fog reduces stress and helps us regain normal cognitive abilities like mental clarity, memory, and concentration. Get started today to get yourself back to a better and healthier you.

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          Erica Wagner

          Freelance Writer

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          Published on November 18, 2019

          How to Think Critically: 5 Powerful Techniques

          How to Think Critically: 5 Powerful Techniques

          Critical thinking is the art of filtering through information to reach an unbiased, logical decision that guides better thought and action. It can be learned through powerful techniques listed in this article.

          Before you read further, it is important for you to know that critical thinking is a state of mind, not a tool or strategy.

          If you are bogged down in the trivial day to day matters of your professional and personal life, learning skills to develop your ability to think critically can help you rise above these issues and focus your energies where they are needed – to solve problems and accomplish objectives.

          It stands to reason that the better the learning techniques, the better critical thinking and reasoning will be. My experience in helping people grow means I know exactly what is needed to teach critical thinking (hint: it’s not just pondering over the problem).

          There are 5 powerful techniques that form the base of critical thinking:

          1. Analytical thinking
          2. Communication
          3. Creativity
          4. Open-mindedness
          5. Problem-solving

          Once you learn the techniques listed and start employing them in your daily life, you’ll quickly start to notice a change in the way you approach problems and consequently, how you resolve them too.

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          1. Analytical Thinking

          Analytical thinking is the gathering and breaking down of information into small bites that help make sense of it.

          To use it for critical thinking:

          • Be very clear on why you need the information. This is to recognize your limitations and employ foresight to overcome them.
          • Gather information from as many sources as you can: peers and experts, podcasts, relevant literature and any other place you can think of.
          • Rephrase questions multiple times to get different perspectives on data available and possibly arrive at different solutions.
          • Break down the data into factual subsets and relate each to the issue at hand.
          • Think on paper to make new connections. Write, doodle, make mind-maps or use spreadsheets. Data presented visually can help you make new connections make sense of emerging patterns.
          • Tidy up the workplace. Once data has been gathered, your workspace and your brain will both be cluttered with excess information. Neaten the physical space and clear your mind with meditation. The change in focus will help you view the information in a new light, potentially helping you reach newer, better conclusions.

          Want more information and tips on adopting this powerful technique? What Are Analytical Skills and How to Strengthen Them For Success has all the information you need.

          2. Communication

          Communication is a key technique for critical thinking as it gives you access to the thoughts of people around you.

          Data can be communicated through audio and visual means and in many cases, through careful observation of body language:

          • Ask for different points of view and seek justification for the same thing. When you invest in the matter, you will be able to explore all options to reach the best solution.
          • Listening without interrupting and only asking questions or voicing concerns once the speaker is done helps you make better connections.
          • Be 100% focused on a verbal or written discussion, you can better hear/read the opinions of the people involved.
          • Paraphrase the speaker/writer’s point of view and ask for affirmation. This enables you to pay full attention and use the input to think critically.
          • In a meeting, subtle communication cues are given by the body language of fellow attendees. An imperceptible frown, a small nod, pencil tapping etc. will all give you clues to what they are really thinking, just in case their actions are not in sync with their words!
          • Active observation, where you are watching and listening intently helps you know what to make of the information that is being passed around. It gives you clues to the general opinion about the topic under discussion and opens up new possibilities.

          The information you gather through such communication will be invaluable in thinking critically to arrive at a decision that is holistic and unbiased.

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          3. Creativity

          Critical thinking is an art, and like any art form, its lifeblood is creativity. To really learn critical thinking, you need to include elements of creativity in the process!

          • Brainstorm with your team in an all-new location or work-shadow an industry expert to step out of your comfort zone. You could be surprised by the ideas that flow at a picnic or a game of billiards!
          • Gather data and tabulate it in the form of colorful, eye-catching charts, graphs and mind maps. The simple exercise makes your mind bring data together in different ways and presents them so multiple unique conclusions can be reached, giving you the flexibility to choose the best one.
          • Play brain games such as Sudoku or chess to appreciate how different factors can be manipulated to reach a preferred outcome. These games help make connections between previously disconnected nerves, giving your brain the power to find multiple pathways to answering problems.
          • In a similar vein, you can forge new neural connections by learning a new skill, a new language or even a new recipe!

          I break down creativity in my other article What is Creativity? We All Have It, and Need It. If you want to be good at critical thinking, you need to adopt creativity!

          4. Open-Mindedness

          It’s easy to say you’re open minded but is your mind really open?

          To get an idea,

          • Be brutally honest about your strengths and weaknesses, and how these will impact the matter at hand.
          • Hear an opinion that conflicts with your own without forming a response before the opinion is fully voiced.
          • Acknowledge that there may be more than one approach to solving a problem and that they may all be right in some way.
          • Consider your true feelings when you will implement any required changes.
          • Disregard your long-held beliefs and assumptions and let go of habits.
          • Imagine the decision-making factors placed on weighing scales. Are they balanced?

          Open-mindedness is a powerful technique for critical thinking. New possibilities can be uncovered, helping you resolve personal and professional matters in a manner that doesn’t frustrate you or alienate the other party.

          5. Problem-Solving

          Critical thinking is heavily dependent on problem-solving. An effective critical thinker will be a problem solver with the foresight to anticipate roadblocks and negative outcomes, and the experience and presence of mind to resolve them quickly and move on.

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          One of the most effective problem-solving methodologies is the 5 Whys Analysis. Invented by Sakichi Toyoda, the founder of Toyota Motors in the 1950s, it has been used successfully by the automobile giant to get to the root cause of problems.

          The idea behind this is simple: start with the end problem and keep asking why until you get to the root cause of it.

          The general idea is that asking why 5 times from the effect is enough to get to the cause, hence the name. However, the methodology does not limit the questions to 5, and why can be asked as many times as need to peel away the layers until a satisfactory answer is reached.

          To use the 5 Whys Analysis, start off by listing the problem and writing why in front of it. The next point in the list should be answer to the first why with another why in front of it. Continue answering the question asked above followed by a why until you’ve asked the question 5 times and answered it six times. 99% of the time, the last answer will be the root cause of the problem stated in the first point.

          For example, consider the a commonly given scenario where a vehicle does not start.

          1. Vehicle will not start. Why?
          2. Battery is dead. Why?
          3. The alternator is not functioning. Why?
          4. The alternator belt has broken. Why?
          5. It was old and worn out. Why?
          6. The car is not maintained according to manufacturer’s recommendation.

          By this example, it is clearly demonstrated that 5 whys were asked to reach the root cause of the problem.

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          The 5 techniques discussed here are important for effective critical thinking. When employed regularly they will become a habit and will definitely improve your critical thinking skills so you can get better at predicting and resolving issues that concern you and your environment.

          Over the years, the 5 Whys Analysis has been adopted by millions to reach the root cause of their personal and professional problems. Industry giant Six Sigma has also incorporated the 5x Why Analysis in the Analyze phase of their DMAIC methodology.[1]

          Final Thoughts

          Is critical thinking a new-fangled notion? Not at all. Its history can be traced back to Socrates who questioned commonly held beliefs. This practice was carried forward by leading scholars and thinkers from different times such as Aristotle and Plato, Colet and Moore, Descartes, Galileo and Newton.[2]

          Today’s world is dependent on critical thinking to resolve all sorts of issues. It is now indispensable for issues ranging from personal relationships to professional jobs and those involving the global community.

          The 5 techniques discussed here are important for effective critical thinking. When employed regularly, they will become a habit and will definitely improve your critical thinking skills so you can get better at predicting and resolving issues that concern you and your environment.

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          Featured photo credit: Mariya Pampova via unsplash.com

          Reference

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