It’s 5 p.m. and despite your better judgment, you find yourself stuck in rush hour traffic because you’ve got a few essentials you HAVE to pick up from the grocery store. Horns are honking, hands are waving, and you’re barely moving. Finally, after what feels like an eternity – you escape the rush hour chaos and pull into the parking lot.
You grab your purse and head determinedly inside. Once inside, you grip the shopping cart and stand there for a moment to determine your plan of attack. “Now, what was it I needed?” you ask yourself.
You sit there waiting for the answer to come – but it doesn’t. Five minutes ago you knew exactly what you came for – but now it escapes you. Your mind races and retraces, searching for the answer – but the fog has settled and seemingly erased the reason.
Frustrated, you walk up and down the aisles hoping it will come to you – but it doesn’t. Feeling deflated, you return to your car and drive home empty-handed.
Has this or something similar happened to you? Has your mind seemingly been filled with fog – making it difficult to remember things or to stay focused and alert? If so, you’re not alone. Millions of people with fibromyalgia will experience these symptoms. In fact – it’s so common that it’s even been given a nickname: fibro fog.
Fibro fog can wreak havoc on your cognitive functions – affecting everything from memory to concentration. So what can be done to combat these symptoms and return your brain to full capacity? Quite a bit, actually. But before we get to let, lets take a look at the most common symptoms and as well as what causes them.
Do You Have Any of These Symptoms of Fibro Fog?
Fibro fog is characterized by symptoms affecting your cognitive functions. As the name implies – many report feeling as if their mind has become clouded or foggy, making it difficult to think clearly. The most commonly reported cognitive problems associated with fibro fog include:
- Short-term memory loss
- Difficulty retaining new information
- Difficulty carrying on a conversation
- Inability to focus or concentrate
- Easily distracted
- Lack of alertness
- Mental and physical fatigue
Have you noticed an increase in any of these problems since you began experiencing the symptoms of fibromyalgia? If so, it’s a good indication that you’re feeling the effects of fibro fog.
What is Causing Your Fibro Fog?
The symptoms you’re experiencing from fibro fog are likely caused by a number of factors. In fact, they can usually be attributed to a combination of different fibromyalgia symptoms affecting your mind. For example, chronic fatigue is a major contributor to fibro fog.
Other factors that can cause fibro fog or make it worse include overstimulation, stress, poor sleep and certain medications.
8 Strategies for Clearing the Fog & Boosting Mental Clarity:
So – what can you do about fibro fog? We’ve spent hundreds of hours in search of the most effective ways to regain your mental edge and clear fibro fog naturally. Here are the top strategies for eliminating your fibro fog:
#1 - Boost Your Brain Power with Vitamins & Supplements
Did you know that your brain consumes more than 20% of the calories you eat everyday? Just like your heart, lungs, kidneys, etc. – your brain is a living organism that requires nourishment in order to thrive. Unfortunately, we don’t always get enough of the brain-boosting vitamins and nutrients it needs.
In fact, a few of the vitamin and nutrient deficiencies that have been linked to fibromyalgia can also affect your cognitive functions. Two of the primary culprits are vitamin D and magnesium. Both play a critical role in improving learning and memory. They are also important for regulating mood – which can have a significant effect on cognitive health.
Not sure which vitamins or supplements to take to enhance your memory and cognition? Here are a few of our top picks:
- Vitamin D
- Vitamin B12
- Alpha-lipoic acid
Prior to taking any vitamin supplements, do your research. Talk to your doctor about them and discuss any concerns you may have about a potential vitamin or nutrient deficiency.
#2 - Improve Memory & Focus with Herbal Supplements
Certain herbal supplements can also give your mind an extra boost and improve memory and focus. What is our go to herb for fibro fog? Bacopa monieri. This powerful herb helps repair damaged nerve cells in the brain. By improving nerve impulses within the brain, bacopa monieri helps improve mental clarity and boost memory.
Here are a few of our favorite herbs for improving memory and focus:
- Bacopa monieri
- Gingko biloba
- Panax ginseng
- Rhodiola rosea
#3 - Brain-boosting Foods
Are you fueling your brain with the premium fuel (i.e. healthy foods) or are you settling for the cheapest fuel available (i.e. junk food, fast food)? Believe it or not, your diet can have a significant impact on your brain functions, including memory, focus and alertness.
So what foods can help you out the most? Try including some of the following in your next meal or snack:
- Chia seeds
- Flax seeds
- Green, leafy vegetables (spinach, kale, swiss chard)
- Sunflower seeds
- Turmeric (bonus: it also acts as a natural pain reliever!)
#4 - Enhance Memory Through Physical Activity
Don’t be scared away by the title “physical activity”. We’re not suggesting any kind of strenuous physical activity. Instead – low impact exercises like walking and stretching can help improve mood and brain function.
In fact, studies have shown going for a walk just three times a week can effectively increase the size of the part of the brain in charge of memory (known as the hippocampus).
#5 - Exercise Your Brain
Everyone knows that if you don’t use your muscles, they’ll begin to weaken and deteriorate. The same is true for your brain. Regularly exercising and challenging it helps keep it sharp. To help prevent or slow the mind from losing its edge, do some simple exercises or activities to challenge it. Things like crossword puzzles, Sudoku, etc can help.
#6 - Meditation & Mindfulness
No – you don’t have to be a Buddhist monk to enjoy the benefits of meditation. In fact, meditation and mindfulness are finally taking root and being recognized by medical professionals and scientists alike as a powerful tool for calming the mind, reducing stress and improving health.
Consider downloading a guided meditation app to your smartphone and meditating for 10 minutes a day. You’ll quickly learn new skills to help you organize your thoughts and cope positively with stress – one of the major culprits that can cause fibro fog.
Or check out the new mini-series on Netflix: "A Guide to Meditation." They partnered with one of the leading meditation apps to explain the benefits of meditation - and each episode guides you through a short 10-minute meditation exercise to help you practice.
#7 - Listen to music
Music has the power to reach in and touch your soul – but scientists are learning it can do so much more. In fact, studies have shown that listening to music helps stimulate the hippocampus – the part of your brain responsible for memory. Music can also help slow our breathing and bring us into a relaxed state – thus helping to alleviate some of the stress that can make fibro fog worse.