Brain fog can occur as a result of anxiety. Every person who suffers anxiety will have their own symptoms. I could treat 10 people with claustrophobia and they could all have different associated symptoms. Brain fog might be your side effect of anxiety and this can be very unnerving.
** disclaimer at bottom off page
Brain fog is where we struggle to remember, think straight or concentrate. A client years ago compared it to ‘having your IQ reduced dramatically’. When this happens it has the knock on effect that we feel we may be going crazy. That we may be suffering the onset of dementia. Why can I remember that person’s name, why did I forget to attend that meeting!
Your cognitive levels may be impaired when feeling anxious but there is a good reason for this.
Our brain is an extremely complex organ and one that is still not fully understood. For this explanation we will break it down into just 3 parts, the hind brain, mid brain and forebrain. This is also known as the ‘evolutionary brain model’.
The 3 parts
The hind brain (or Reptilian Complex) is the part of the brain that is associated to instinct. This ‘bit’ of the brain was the first to developed and been part of us for over 650 million years. As we evolved we then added the mid brain (Paleomammalian Complex or Limbic System). This part of the brain is associated with motivation and emotion. It is the seat of anxiety that is triggered when we feel in danger. Then we have the forebrain (or The Neomammalian Complex). This is the area of the brain associated with conscious thought.
Hind brain developed 650 million years ago (the seat of our triggers)
Mid Brain around 250 million years ago (the seat of our feelings)
Forebrain around 2.5 million years ago (the seat of how we think about something)
It is important to know that they were developed in this order as this is also the order they are used. We get triggered, we experience a feeling against that trigger, and we then have a thought about that feeling.
One of the main jobs of the hind brain is to keep you safe. There are no grey areas in this area. You are either safe or not safe. If you are perceived to be in danger it reacts and reacts in the best way possible for the threat. This may be to fight, flee (flight) or freeze. 650 million years ago this simple process was all we had and it did a very good job. We instinctively kept ourselves safe.
Fast forward a few hundred million years and evolution added the Mid Brain. Now when we were triggered from the hind brain we were given sensation feelings in the body. This feeling made sure we were aware that the trigger had been activated and forced a reaction.
Addition of consciousness
Lastly we added conscious awareness and this is where the problems began. We were now able to reason against what we were feeling. This is where conflict arises and this is where anxiety starts. If we in danger then consciously we accept the sensations produced. We may not like the feelings but we do accept them. This is because there is a logically reason for this. Our brain likes to work logically. We react to a stimuli, produce a sensation, and then think about it. The thinking about a situation is at the end and this is important in understanding brain fog.
If you stepped out into the road (by accident!) and was about to be hit by a car this is the sequence in which it would happen. Your Hind brain would be triggered instantly. You would react and jump out the way. You would then consciously be aware of what happened. It has to happen this way because it takes just over .5 seconds for you to react. In that half a second you could be hurt.
What has this got to do with brain fog?
Your safety has nothing to do with conscious thought. Your hind brain keeps you safe without you needing to think about it. It is the way we are designed and is the optimal way we need to be to ensure our best chances of survival.
When we are in survival mode we don’t rely on the forebrain. We rely mainly on instinct from the hide brain. Because the functionality of the forebrain is redundant for some people it’s turned down. It could be seen like a dimmer switch on a light. In survival mode we tend to shut down functions that we don’t rely on (digestion). The forebrain isn’t relied on for survival so its functionality limited.
Brain fog when anxious isn’t something to worry about because you now know why. This doesn’t mean you are losing your marbles and have onset dementia. It simply means the way your body prepares for survival doesn’t include the forebrain. It is one of your symptoms of anxiety and nothing more. Someone else may or may not have it. But that doesn’t matter, they likely will have a symptom that you don’t.
It is the way we are designed
Our body works on instinct, then feeling, then consciousness (if you want to go spiritual then awareness). It is just how we are made up and we can’t change that. The issue we have is that we have triggers that are being activated when there is no danger.
But what we can do is change the feelings we experience when the triggers kick in. This can be completed so effectively using BWRT. We can change the response in the limbic system to be that of calmness. This means the fight or flight survival mode doesn’t kick in and we don’t experience anxiety.
Learn more here about BWRT
Click here to contact me to book a free consultation on how BWRT can make Rapid Positive Change.
** Brain fog can be caused by numerous other conditions including
- Lack of sleep
- Hormonal Changes
- Other medical conditions
Always consult a doctor for diagnosis.