Ofosu and Leah discuss three tips that can help you manage brain fog—that all-too-familiar feeling of confusion, disorganization, or just a general lack of focus.
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OFOSU: Hey, what’s up? I'm Ofosu Jones-Quartey.
LEAH: And I'm Leah Santa Cruz. We're the meditation coaches on Balance.
OFOSU: And this is our weekly show -- Well Balanced. It's good to be back with you, Leah. Before we sat down to tape this episode, I sent you a recording that I made about a problem I was having, and I thought that I might need some extra help getting down to the bottom of it.
Why don't we just play that for the listener real quick.
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OFOSU: So today in general has just been a hard day to focus. I'm in my bedroom. There's a lot that has to get done and I just don't feel like doing any of it. And there's so much to do that it's hard for me to even focus on what the next thing to do is so, yeah, it's just like that.
I'm not letting it bother me, but, there is an undercurrent of anxiety that's there that like, you know, Hey, we gotta, like, we gotta get focused, man. So, um, yeah, but it hasn't come so far. So hopefully it does at some point.
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LEAH: Oh boy, I can completely relate. And I hear this. Uh, so yeah, that's brain fog, which, uh, I struggle with myself at times.
And it's those times when I just feel confused or unfocused, I get disorganized. I forget things. I especially have felt this a lot, being a new parent and dealing with sleep deprivation or lots of competing priorities at the same time.
OFOSU: Yeah. It's not a really pleasant feeling like I do my best when that happens to not like, let it really, really bother me, but honestly it does suck.
OFOSU: So listener Les and I, we teamed up and we came up with three tips to help ourselves and you combat brain fog.
LEAH: I'll go first. And I like this tip. Super straightforward, do nothing.
OFOSU: Oh my God. This is my favorite.
LEAH: I know. Right. So brain fog is caused by brain fatigue and you can treat it like physical fatigue. You just give it rest. So give your brain some rest after it's been working hard, like you'd give your body a rest after you run a marathon. Right? So that might mean you shut out the world completely for a few minutes or do a task that takes less brain power at the very least, you just don't want to be multitasking. So you can reduce some of the strain and fatigue that causes you.
OFOSU: Yeah. I mean, I love this and what makes that a little tricky sometimes for me is like the guilt of doing nothing. And then there’s so much of something to do on your phone.
So you think you're doing nothing, but then you just get lost in your phone. Then you stress yourself out by doing all the phone things.
LEAH: You know, these are things easier said than done. Right? We can have the tools, but it's a whole other thing to utilize them. Like. I can say, I know I need to do nothing right now, but I am going to get on Duolingo and learn Italian during my break.
And that's just been my default recently. So yeah. Do nothing. I got to tell myself that as much as I tell them,
OFOSU: I, you know, I think self-kindness can be the mitigator here between doing nothing and the impulse to do something. It's just a reminder to just be kind to yourself and really do nothing.
But I love this and you know, I'm gonna find an opportunity to do nothing. Okay. So do nothing. I can do that. Um, and I'll share my tip next. The next tip is big surprise, meditates. Uh, there is a specific meditation, however that I want to walk us through right now that can help us focus. I know that you're familiar with this one layer because we have it in the Balance app and it's our Quick Refocus meditation.
LEAH: Yeah, this is a good one because you get to keep your eyes open, which I love.
OFOSU: Yeah. It's not like you're sort of conventional eyes closed meditation. So let's get into this. You can do this right now. Leah and I will start us off with a little ring of one of my singing bowls. Okay. Here we go.
So the first thing is just to relax your body and take a deep breath. And once you've done that, just using your eyes looking around and silently name to yourself, five things that you can see in your immediate surroundings.
And just name those things to yourself. [~12 seconds] And if your vision is impaired, for whatever reason, you can skip this altogether. No problem. And go to the next step, which is four things that you can touch or feel. And this can be the clothes on your body, the air against your skin, the feeling of your feet, making contact with the surface beneath you, wherever your hands are touching anything that you can touch or feel, and just take those in. And you can even name those to yourself as well. [~12 seconds]
And now we can shift to three things that you can hear. So just opening your ears to the sounds that are happening. My voice can be one of them and I'll be quiet for a second for any other sounds that might be present. [~12 seconds]
All right. Now, bring your attention to two things that you can smell, and it could just be the air or maybe there's a particular scent in the room, or you've got some kind of lotion or perfume or shampoo or something - whatever's easy to smell. And if there's nothing you can just notice, oh, nothing, nothing really there. [~12 seconds]
And then lastly, one thing you can taste, maybe it's the last thing you ate or maybe it's just mouth. [~12 seconds]
All right, take one more deep breath. And that's it. How was that for you, Leah?
LEAH: Very relaxing. And, uh, yes, I think that did help me with focusing. Did anyone ever tell you Ofosu, you have a great voice for guiding meditation?
OFOSU: I've never, ever heard that. And this is news to me [laughs]. So thank you so much. Maybe I should explore that a little bit more, but thank you.
LEAH: No, it actually makes me want to close my eyes after I get through the first part of the visual. And then I get into the feeling of touching, I naturally want to close my eyes and I liked that. I think that if you're impaired with vision, you could even just use your inner vision and just imagine.
OFOSU: Sure, sure. Absolutely.
LEAH: Or like light forms or colors.
OFOSU: Yeah. I think that this is such a simple, helpful practice. And it really does help you kind of come to your senses and come out of that brain fog.So it's like one of my favorite go-tos so, okay. Hey, that's two tips. We got one more. You are up Leah.
LEAH: Okay. So the last tip is move your body, move your body. This is super important because aerobic exercise helps our brains function. So here's some of the details. Studies have shown that when we work out, we release a chemical called brain derived neurotrophic factor. You don't have to remember that, but basically brain scientists have shown that this chemical affects our brain function.
And when it releases in our brain, while we're working out, they call it fertilizer because it makes it easier for all your little neurons to make connections and to grow. So we are actually helping our brains when we work out pretty cool. Right?
OFOSU: Yeah. This must be why I feel more clarity after, after walking and, uh, like I love taking long walks, so yeah, maybe that's the reason why, or just after a workout, like I got a big punching bag in here, uh, the other day, just to go on my martial arts journey and I do feel a little bit more clear and focused after a workout.
So yes, I love this advice.
LEAH: So to recap, listener, I want you to try one of the following three things next time you're feeling brain fog. First, do nothing, even if it's just for a few minutes next, do a quick refocus. This eyes open meditation that Ofosu guided us through - you can find it in the Balance app if you need to remind yourself of what that is and move your body.
OFOSU: Yes. Yeah, I think, I mean, I'm inspired to do any of these, but the one that's super inspiring for me is to do nothing because that's just not my intuitive response. So I am certain that I will be walking into a brain fog tomorrow because it happens to me so frequently. And I'm going to try to do nothing or move my body.
LEAH: And when your partner, spouse, children come up to you like, what are you doing? You can just say nothing,
OFOSU: I'm doing nothing.
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OFOSU: Well, thanks so much for joining us today and thank you Leah, for bringing some very useful advice on brain fog.
LEAH: And thanks to you for your tip. I thought it was really useful. So we come up with new episodes every Monday, and I love for you to join us on our next one so make sure you subscribe or follow us on your favorite podcast app so you can get notified when our next conversation goes live, but until then have a wonderful week and stay focused.
OFOSU: Stay focused, come out of that brain fog.
All right, love y'all take care. Bye.
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