Tips to Cure Blank Brain and Get Rid of That Foggy Feeling
What's That Foggy Feeling in My Head?
What is Blank Brain?
We've all experienced it at one time or another. It's that dreaded feeling when your brain goes blank, where you stop in mid-sentence and the words don't come. Or you don't remember where you just put your keys.
Or you're a writer and all creative thoughts and ideas cease to exist for a spell. What IS this? It is sometimes defined as brain fatigue, brain fog, overworked brain, brain drain, brain freeze, or writer's block.
From a medical point of view, if blank brain is accompanied by neurological and physiological symptoms, it may warrant an evaluation for a diagnosis of anxiety disorder, depression, or other physical illness.
But for most people, it's an irritating phenomenon that temporarily interrupts us from doing what needs to get done.
We anxiously wonder whether we're developing early dementia.
It can cause:
a) public embarrassment,
b) humiliation in front of audiences,
c) increased self-consciousness and self-doubt, and
d) a decreased sense of self-worth about our ability to produce at will.
We even think that our peers and colleagues will judge us or question our intelligence because we're not quick-witted or articulate enough. We fear that our professional reputations are at risk and will suffer. Simply put, we end up feeling dimwitted, like we don't measure up.
Drawing A Blank Brain
When does your brain draw the most blanks?
The Human Brain
Fears About Our Brains Going Blank
What is your greatest fear about your brain not working?
Our Pens Stop Writing When Our Brains Freeze
Five Practical Steps to Taking Control and Combating Blank Brain
In order to combat blank brain, five critical areas need to be addressed. Being proactive can help decrease the fears, frustration, and lack of control this phenomenon can cause.
These steps are offered based solely on years of experience counseling clients who deal with high levels of exposure to stress and performance anxiety.
STEP ONE: Understand How the Brain Works
- Accept that the brain at times can go on overload and needs a break; even computers crash so why not the complex human brain.
- The brain has the capacity to store an infinite amount of information but cannot always retrieve it immediately.
- Short-term memory, long-term memory, and attentiveness determine your ability to retain, recall, and retrieve information; it's not your fault.
STEP TWO: Don't Take Yourself So Seriously
- Re-adjust your expectations about producing; temporarily reset your goals.
- Laugh at yourself when you fumble or forget what to say; play it off with a confident demeanor and move on.
- Read a sample of your favorite work or view a video of your best presentation to remind yourself how productive you have been and can be again; you are the same person with the same skills.
STEP THREE: Use Specific Techniques to Assist You
- Learn deep breathing exercises; incoporate them into your life as a way to stabilize and maintain a sense of inner calm; at the moment of blank brain, take a long, deep breath, relax, collect your thoughts, and allow your memory to do it's job before anxiety sets in.
- Do not take information in passively; be alert and attentive to the information you want to retain, remember, and retrieve later; pay attention to external cues, make them meaningful to you; let your awareness of information around you feed your ideas.
- Keep written notes and ideas on 3 x 5 cards; have them handy for presentations in case you draw a blank; for writers, use the same technique to jot down ideas that you can refer back to and expand upon when you're having a dry spell. Create an idea bank.
We Can't Produce When Our Brains Lock
Blank Brain Produces Empty Pages and Blank Screens
STEP FOUR: Know Your Stuff
- If you familiarize yourself with your topic, know what you're talking about, do your research, and strive to become an expert, you are less likely to flub or go blank. Develop a niche.
- Expand your experiences and social circles to increase exposure to more encounters from which you can draw more ideas. Sitting at home without regular social interaction and involvement will not lend itself to fresh ideas coming into your head.
- Learn something new that you're not necessarily interested in and either speak about it or write about it. You may discover something new and unexpected that will stimulate new ways of thinking outside the box. Use a thesaurus for new words and phrasings to change up your speaking or writing flavor.
STEP FIVE: Know Yourself
- Be aware and honest with yourself about personal issues, losses, elevated stress levels, or unresolved traumas that might be getting in the way of your capacity to function optimally. Self-care, breaks, regular support, and healthy outlets are necessary for sustained productivity and performance.
- Recurring panic attacks, sleep problems, changes in appetite, dizziness, headaches, poor concentration and memory, fatigue, negative self-talk, and feeling overwhelmed and depressed are signs that you might need assistance. If these symptoms persist, worsen, or prevent daily functioning at home and at work for a significant duration (six months or more for anxiety, 2 weeks or more for depression -Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders), consider a medical or neurological evaluation to rule out any medical conditions.
Cure Your Blank Brain with Knowledge and Prevention
In our society where productivity and performance define our self-worth, blank brain can take a toll on our ability to live up to our professional and personal expectations. We contribute to those unrealistic expectations by pushing ourselves too much.
It is imperative for us to realize that we cannot continue to place ourselves in overdrive without a cost to our well-being.
We have more control than we think we do by taking preventative steps to combat blank brain. Taking better care of ourselves will increase our ability to produce good work on a consistent basis.
Symptoms and Cures for Brain Fog Related to Fibromyalgia
Questions & Answers
I get blank brain mostly when I go shopping with others. I take a lot of time to search for what I want and finally choose with no ratification. I don't get a clear idea and always need someone's opinion. I also feel the blank brain when I do something new. What can I do?
Sounds like you're not retaining and easily losing focus. Your issue may be more about distraction and not being fully attentive. Try to be more intentional about retaining information by focusing more. You also may need to work on increasing your decisiveness and confidence about making choices.
My brain has a hard time retaining information. What can I do?
If you're having severe or chronic learning problems, it needs to be determined whether there is a learning disability, anxiety disorder, or some other neurological problem. The only way to know this is to have a thorough evaluation by a doctor to clarify what the problem might be. Then follow through with their recommendations.
I went totally blank while writing in exams, and I am unable to sleep when going to bed. My shoulders, neck, and head have become painful. Why did all this happen?
Unfortunately, I cannot address the specifics of your inquiries. Most of your questions should be directed to a medical doctor. However, a lot of issues with taking exams have to do with anxiety and problems with sleep, and physical pain often requires a need to assess sleep habits, bedding and body alignment.
I woke up totally blank, what does that mean?
That could mean several things about which I am not at liberty to guess. If this happens regularly and for an extended period, you may want to get an evaluation from a neurology specialist. Also make note of any behaviors that may be contributing to the problem that you can change, i.e., poor sleep habits, not enough sleep, alcohol use, or use of medications or other substances.
© 2012 Janis Leslie Evans