Fight Brain Fog!

Or, at the very least, give your­self more resources to fight it!

Cog­ni­tive abil­i­ties are like mus­cles, in that they have to be devel­oped and exer­cised reg­u­larly, even stretched to keep them flex­i­ble. We can’t nec­es­sar­ily avoid the cog­ni­tive deficits that come with some of our ill­nesses, or as a side effect of our med­ica­tions. What we can do is improve our fac­ul­ties, giv­ing us a bet­ter level of over­all func­tion­ing despite those deficits.

Ways to Improve Your Men­tal Fit­ness
is an excel­lent arti­cle on the sub­ject. I rec­om­mend read­ing it and not­ing some new things to try.

Per­son­ally, I find that doing things like a Sudoku or cross­word puz­zle or a cou­ple of rounds of soli­taire Mahjongg each day help me “wake up” my brain and think bet­ter. I’ve long wished I had access to the Nin­tendo brain train­ing game (Brain Age? some­thing like that), as it sounds like just the thing.

I really wor­ried about tak­ing col­lege courses, because I know that if I had to take an IQ test these days, my score would be markedly lower than it was pre-FMS. Hap­pily, I found that tak­ing the courses helped me to regain some men­tal agility. I still have mem­ory prob­lems, and all bets are off dur­ing a bad flare—but I def­i­nitely feel that I’m cop­ing bet­ter on a day to day basis.

Now that I’m not in school for­mally, I’ve been learn­ing to pro­gram. It’s another kind of think­ing, and one I’ve thought about acquir­ing for years. It hasn’t been easy, but I’m doing it, and it cer­tainly is stretch­ing my men­tal muscles.

Mak­ing music is another thing that works for me. I’ve been re-learning to play the ukulele, some­thing I orig­i­nally learned in the sec­ond grade. I used to know how to play piano, flute, and other instru­ments

I’ve always been a singer, pri­mar­ily, though

, and I’m sur­prised at how much I’ve for­got­ten about read­ing music. I “know” the notes, but I’m so slow that I have to stop and think, “Now, wait, that’s two lines below the bass clef, so…” when it used to be as easy as read­ing any Eng­lish text. The more I work with it, though, the more I find the exer­cise of think­ing in another lan­guage to be use­ful as an exercise.

What are you doing to stay sharp? Have you tried any of the activ­i­ties rec­om­mended in the article?

July 15, 2012 · cyn · One Comment
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One Response

  1. Enemy of Entropy » Blog Archive » Fibrant Living: Fight Brain Fog! - July 15, 2012

    […] Mood: Play­fulOver at Fibrant Liv­ing, I’m talk­ing about ways to fight brain fog. That’s a prob­lem for peo­ple with chronic pain, depres­sion, and other dis­or­ders, and […]

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