We've all been there…
You walk into a room only to forget what you needed…or maybe you find yourself a few pages into a book and realize you absorbed very little of what you just read.
It's completely normal to have these brief periods of brain fog now and then.
But if it happens regularly, it can affect your work, your creativity, and even your ability to enjoy conversations.
The good news is sound can be an especially strong ally in helping to clear the mental haze.
So today, we'll take a look at some of the common causes of brain fog—and two sound-based solutions you can use to help dissolve it.
Brain fog—also known as mental fatigue—is a is a term used to describe a variety of cognitive symptoms including:
And if you've ever experienced it, you know how challenging it can be to do every day things like remember names and solve problems.
For some, brain fog can be a result of things like lack of sleep, the things you eat and drink and chronic stress.
For others, this mental fatigue can be a symptom of a medical condition or even recent surgery.
Personally, 18 months after having five life-saving surgeries and the five accompanying rounds of anesthesia, I still battle brain fog every day.
But, I'm here to tell you that there are effective, pill-free strategies that can make a big difference in both clearing and energizing your mind.
In fact, I use them myself every day.
Once I realized that my brain wasn't the same post-surgery, I decided that I would go all-in on giving it the best chance to heal.
To start, I follow a handful of simple, common-sense recommendations:
But there are also a couple of specific, sound-based activities I've found have made a big difference in clearing my head.
#1: Listening to my favorite music (especially from my youth)
Research shows music has a significant impact on brain activity. In fact, it's been shown to light up regions of the brain in ways that other activities don't.
It's also been shown to help various regions of the brain communicate with each other more effectively.
And a 2019 study demonstrated how actively reliving past memories—particularly those involving nostalgic music and movement—helped patients with memory issues improve their quality of life, memory, mood, and social interactions.
I personally prefer uptempo music, especially in the morning as I'm preparing for the day.
#2: Stimulating the vagus nerve with sound
The vagus nerve is the longest cranial nerve in the body, responsible for sending chemical messages from the brain to all the major bodily organs, and vice versa.
Stimulation of this nerve has been shown to spur the production of oxytocin, as well as other brain-protecting chemicals like nitric oxide and acetylcholine.
I personally chant vowel sounds like "Eeem" or my favorite Tibetan mantra Om Ah Hum (known as the mantra of purification—you can hear an example here).
The bottom line today is that if brain fog has been interfering in your daily life, don't give up!
I know how frustrating and demoralizing it can be to feel like you don't have access to your brain's full abilities. But with just a little effort each day, you can start on the path to a clear and peaceful mind.
Clearing Brain Fog and Energizing Your Mind
What does "brain fog" refer to?
Brain fog describes cognitive symptoms like feeling mentally unclear, having concentration issues, a lack of focus, and facing memory challenges.
What might lead someone to experience brain fog?
Some people experience brain fog due to insufficient sleep, certain dietary choices, and ongoing stress. Medical conditions or the aftermath of surgeries can also be culprits.
How is music beneficial in addressing brain fog?
Music has a notable positive influence on brain activity. Engaging with music, particularly tunes that evoke memories, can improve several aspects of cognitive and social function.
What role does the vagus nerve play in brain health?
The vagus nerve is a crucial cranial nerve that facilitates communication between the brain and major organs. Activating this nerve can lead to the release of certain chemicals that support brain health.
How can sound be used to stimulate the vagus nerve?
Methods such as chanting certain sounds or specific mantras have been found beneficial for activating the vagus nerve.
What everyday practices can assist in reducing brain fog?
Adopting habits like ensuring adequate sleep, maintaining hydration, regular physical activity, consuming a balanced diet, and dedicating time for learning can be beneficial.
What personal steps did the author take to address their brain fog?
The author combined standard health practices with sound-related techniques, including enjoying familiar music and using sound to stimulate the vagus nerve.
Why might music from earlier years be particularly effective in clearing the mind?
Engaging with music from earlier times can stimulate various parts of the brain and enhance inter-brain communication. Such musical memories can contribute positively to mood, memory, and overall life quality.
What's the essence of the "sound healing method" mentioned?
The methods center on harnessing the power of sound, rhythm, and music for enhancing health and mental clarity.
How can someone experience the sound healing techniques championed by the author?
The author offers a program that provides insights and guidance on using these sound-based techniques for a nominal fee.
Choo, T., Barak, Y., and East A., (2019). The Effects of Intuitive Movement Re-embodiment on the Quality of Life of Older Adults With Dementia: A Pilot Study. American Journal of Alzheimer's Disease and Other Dementias. Retrieved from: journals.sagepub.com/doi/10.1177/1533317519860331
Tokyo University of Science. (2020). 'Love hormone' oxytocin could be used to treat cognitive disorders like Alzheimer's. ScienceDaily. Retrieved from: sciencedaily.com/releases/2020/07/200720093308.htm
Sauer, A. (2014). 5 Reasons Why Music Boosts Brain Activity. Alzheimers.net. Retrieved from:
Watt, J. et al. (2019). Comparative Efficacy of Interventions for Aggressive and Agitated Behaviors in Dementia: A Systematic Review and Network Meta-analysis. Annals of Internal Medicine. 171(9): pp. 633 – 642.