Tips to Cure Blank Brain and Get Rid of That Foggy Feeling

What's That Foggy Feeling in My Head?

Drawing a blank in the brain is frustrating.
Drawing a blank in the brain is frustrating. | Source

Drawing A Blank Brain

When does your brain draw the most blanks?

  • Public Speaking
  • Writing
  • Test-taking
  • Looking for Missing Items
  • Having a Conversation
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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 a diagnosis of an 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.

The Human Brain

Frozen or foggy brain draws a blank.
Frozen or foggy brain draws a blank. | Source

Fears About Our Brains Going Blank

What is your greatest fear about your brain not working?

  • I have pre-Alzheimer's symptoms.
  • Dementia may be setting in early.
  • My memory recall and retention are not working properly.
  • I may have a brain tumor.
  • I'm experiencing symptoms of menopause.
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Our Pens Stop Writing When Our Brains Freeze

Blank brain interrupts creative flow.
Blank brain interrupts creative flow. | Source

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 halts production from the keyboard.
Blank brain halts production from the keyboard. | Source

Blank Brain Produces Empty Pages and Blank Screens

Empty pages of a notebook is a metaphor for the creative brain going blank.
Empty pages of a notebook is a metaphor for the creative brain going blank. | Source

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.

It is imperative for us to realize that we cannot continue to push ourselves into 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

© 2012 Janis Leslie Evans

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Comments 60 comments

Dan Barfield profile image

Dan Barfield 4 years ago from Gloucestershire, England, UK

Useful and Interesting, voted up! Great stuff!

janshares profile image

janshares 4 years ago from Washington, DC Author

Thanks, Dan. I appreciate that.

Om Paramapoonya profile image

Om Paramapoonya 4 years ago

Haha I actually just experienced this yesterday. I was talking to my husband and I couldn't think of the word "endorse", a simple two-syllable word. It finally came to me after about a minute. How weird. Nice hub, by the way. Rated up and useful!

janshares profile image

janshares 4 years ago from Washington, DC Author

Thanks, Om. I appreciate the comment. It happened to me as I was writing the hub, ha ha ha. I couldn't think of the word "Disclaimer" that I wanted to add since I was talking about health issues without any medical background or references. I think I covered it ok without actually using the word.

rajan jolly profile image

rajan jolly 4 years ago from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar,INDIA.

Wonderful pointers. Sometimes e do worry about this too much. Even our brain needs to pause for a breath seemingly, unless of course it is serious and requires medical investigation.

Sharing this on G+1.

Voting it up, useful and interesting.

janshares profile image

janshares 4 years ago from Washington, DC Author

Wow, thanks, Rajan. I soooooo much appreciate your comments and your support. I hope it will get lots of traffic. I'm a newbie and looking forward to traffic increases soon.

innerspin profile image

innerspin 4 years ago from uk

" Foggy" should be my middle name, I'm an expert in going blank! You make very good suggestions. Sometimes you do have to laugh at yourself. It's easy to become overly self-conscious and think you're the only person this happens to, but the majority of people flounder at times. Interesting hub, thanks.

janshares profile image

janshares 4 years ago from Washington, DC Author

Ha ha, yes, innerspin. So glad you related to this hub, as we all do. Thank you for stopping by, reading, and leaving a great comment.

kittykfree profile image

kittykfree 4 years ago

These are some great tips. Thanks for sharing!

janshares profile image

janshares 4 years ago from Washington, DC Author

You're welcome, kittykfree. Thanks for stopping by and reading it. Glad you liked it.

2besure profile image

2besure 3 years ago from Charlotte, North Carolina

It is good to know you're not going senile, of you become forgetful. There is a lot of stress in the world. We have to learn how to be still and recover. Great topic!

janshares profile image

janshares 3 years ago from Washington, DC Author

It does feel that way sometimes as we get older but it is mostly stress. Thanks for stopping by and commenting.

HoneyBB profile image

HoneyBB 3 years ago from Illinois

Great hub Jan, Voted +++ I have been experiencing this brain fog a lot more often lately. I think it's because I'm addicted to HubPages and I rarely ever sleep. LOL! Thanks for giving be some sound advice to unload my overloaded brain. I appreciate you spending your time to put this info out here.

janshares profile image

janshares 3 years ago from Washington, DC Author

Hi HoneyBB, so glad u found this hub helpful. You know, I'm feeling the same way, forgetting and neglecting things since addiction to hubpages. It kinda creeps up on you. Thanks for stopping by and reading this hub. A lot of people can relate to this.

brakel2 profile image

brakel2 3 years ago from Oklahoma City, Oklahoma

Great hub on brain fog. Your suggestions are right on target. The breathing especially works well in getting the oxygen to the brain, as you mentioned. I know your article will help others with problem solving.

janshares profile image

janshares 3 years ago from Washington, DC Author

Thanks so much, brakel2, glad you liked it. I appreciate that comment. I truly hope it helps someone.

Ruby H Rose profile image

Ruby H Rose 3 years ago from Northwest Washington on an Island

Yes, our brains and bodies do cry out for adequate rest and relaxation. Thanks for such wonderful tips to keep our thinking in top notch shape. Foggy brainers, unite! Great hub, thumbs up and shared.

Willsummerdreamer profile image

Willsummerdreamer 3 years ago from Marietta, Georgia.

Wish they had this advice when I was in school. I have ADHD and this happens to me all the darn time, so this sort of advice is invaluable. Thanks for writing it ^_^. *voted up and shared*.

janshares profile image

janshares 3 years ago from Washington, DC Author

You are quite welcome, Willsummerdreamer. I'm so glad you found it now and can still use the advice. I appreciate your stopping by and I'm especially grateful for the votes and sharing. Thank you much.

Norin 3 years ago

I faces this problem quite often. Once while giving a presentation on livestock to senior management , I got completely blank and forgot the word 'bull' but within seconds when I realised every one was looking I just used 'husband of buffaloe' and every one in the room burst into laughter. Oh I can't forget the embarrassment..

janshares profile image

janshares 3 years ago from Washington, DC Author

Norin, thanks for the laugh. I think you handled that very well. Humor helps as you laugh at yourself. Thank you for stopping by and relating to this article.

brakel2 profile image

brakel2 3 years ago from Oklahoma City, Oklahoma

Hi Jan - You are so right about brain drain. If our brain becomes overloaded, the brain drain you talk about occurs. The steps you mentioned are important. I enjoyed this hub so much, my husband and I step into brain drain and then try to get out of it. When I forget someone's name, it comes to me in a few minutes. In the meantime, if I relax it helps. I told my little granddaughter one day I was having brain drain, and she laughed. I asked her if she ever has that, and she said "in school." We all have it. Thank you so much for sharing your expertise. I will try the methods you suggested.

janshares profile image

janshares 3 years ago from Washington, DC Author

Thanks so much for those comments, brakel2. I'm happy this hub resonated with you. I'm glad you came by. :-)

C.j 2 years ago

How can you learn new things when your brain just doesn't take in information? Even watching tv feels like my mind can't keep up.

janshares profile image

janshares 2 years ago from Washington, DC Author

Try to practice deep breathing. When you slow down your breathing, you slow down your brain. Make you breaths long, slow, fine, and deep. You may be on brain overload due to stress and anxiety. Check with your doctor for medical advice and alternatives. I hope this helps.

Nacy 2 years ago

I find myself with anxiety and something fear if death/etc of love ones and my brain goes blank. Usually when I mediate but then I get scare because my brain is always thinking. What can I do to teach myself that it is ok to have a blank mind and not to panic. I should enjoy these moment of no brain activity?

janshares profile image

janshares 2 years ago from Washington, DC Author

I think you're referring to two different things, nacy. Sounds like your brain goes blank to avoid thinking of the worst, e.g., death of loved ones. Your brain going "blank" at those times is how you cope with fear. On the other hand going "blank" with intention is a great way to empty your mind to cleanse and open to positive thoughts as you meditate. Try having a blank mind with intent, not to avoid fear or anxiety. Replace those racing thoughts with the sound of your breath as you breathe deeply. If things don't improve, see your doctor for an evaluation for more intervention. Thank you for reading this article. I appreciate it.

Lance 2 years ago

well i experienced this for the past few months like 4 or 5 what should i do? i don't know what to do? when i explain it to my parents they just laugh at me and say i'm crazy or something , so i didn't know what to do now. I can't imagine write good stories or even my math problems like i used to. When i think my head hurts, When i think it's all black please help me. am i going crazy or what

janshares profile image

janshares 2 years ago from Washington, DC Author

I suggest breathing techniques to help you relax. But if it's been going on for that long, I recommend talking to a counselor or even a doctor. I don't think you're crazy, just stressed out. I wish you luck and peace.

pstraubie48 profile image

pstraubie48 2 years ago from sunny Florida

Hi This is so well done, Jan. This does happen to most of us at some point. Knowing how to 'back up and regroup' or to prevent it from happening to begin with can be of such a great help. Thanks for taking the time to share this information with us.

Angels are on the way to you ps

janshares profile image

janshares 2 years ago from Washington, DC Author

Thanks for reading and leaving a great comment, pstraubie48. I'm glad that it's helping so many people. Bless you.

Harmel profile image

Harmel 2 years ago from Staff Ave Cochranton Pa 16314

How interesting that you are writing on this topic. I am in therapy right now due to losing my memory. or even my mind. .I am working using DPT with a counselor but I had to go look to see what it was called because I forgot. I was afraid to try writing again due to the fact I have forgot a lot of grammar and spelling , thank you spellcheck. But most of all thank you janshares for helping me more than once on the same day.

janshares profile image

janshares 2 years ago from Washington, DC Author

Glad you found this hub useful, Harmel. Thank you for the visit. I'm glad I could be of help, my pleasure, anytime.

Harmel profile image

Harmel 2 years ago from Staff Ave Cochranton Pa 16314

thank you very much

tompublicspeaking 2 years ago

Glad I found this Hub, there is some really great tips on here. I have been writing about how I cured my Fear of Public Speaking over on my blog at , I hope it helps some of you!

freedomfight profile image

freedomfight 2 years ago from Durham, NC

Good article. Worth considering next time the "fog" appears,

janshares profile image

janshares 2 years ago from Washington, DC Author

Thank you very much for taking the time to read it. I appreciate the comment and visit. Hope it helps when you need it. Thanks for the follow and fanmail.

freedomfight profile image

freedomfight 2 years ago from Durham, NC

You are welcome. I wish you the best on your next Hub

rasta1 profile image

rasta1 2 years ago from Jamaica

This is a great article. I have never thought of it before. My experience with brain fog may due to anxiety or panic. I will try your solution anyway.

janshares profile image

janshares 2 years ago from Washington, DC Author

Thanks for taking the time to read it, hope it helps with the anxiety.

agvulpes profile image

agvulpes 21 months ago from Australia

Wow great information in this Hub I have experienced Brain Fog/Fade many times and mostly through not 'paying attention' :)

janshares profile image

janshares 21 months ago from Washington, DC Author

You are right about how not paying attention can be a factor. Thank you for taking the time to read this one. Glad you liked it, agvulpes.

pumpkincat210 profile image

pumpkincat210 15 months ago from Houston, Texas U.S.A.

Thanks for sharing, I always seem to have nothing to say in a conversation, especially the surprise kind, but I am good at talking in front of a large group, which I dont often get to do. i found your hub comforting,

janshares profile image

janshares 15 months ago from Washington, DC Author

You're welcome, Courtney. Thnanks for stopping by and taking the time to read it. Glad you found it helpful.

Bob 14 months ago

If your brain is empty try storing this it might help I have the same issue but mine is blank because I reach to a point when all I think are this things and it has solve my problems and worries 1 love peace and family 2 is past present and future 3 trust believe and have faith 4 truth acceptance and choice 5 Soul heart and mind 6 Forgive help and give 7 is the Father the Son and the Holy Spirit 8 is reality belief and change. And the four pillars of the cube positivity pray hope and strength. Memorize it and it's yours

janshares profile image

janshares 14 months ago from Washington, DC Author

Thank you.

word55 profile image

word55 14 months ago from Chicago

Thanks jan, when you are very active, having multiple duties and responsibilities in life it would seem extremely difficult to have a brain lapse as long as proper rest is gotten and healthy eating is applied as well as having a closer relationship with Father, God!

janshares profile image

janshares 14 months ago from Washington, DC Author

I appreciate that, word55. But I do all of that and still have brain lapses, lol. I think it comes with too much multi-tasking and age! Thanks for stopping by and commenting.

ThatMommyBlogger profile image

ThatMommyBlogger 13 months ago from The Midwest

I'm bookmarking this. I have post-concussion syndrome and deal with ongoing memory problems. They used to be severe, but they're getting much better. It's been almost 2 years since my brain injury, though. Things were terrible at first.

janshares profile image

janshares 13 months ago from Washington, DC Author

I hope you find it helpful, ThatMommyBlogger. You've been through a lot. I wish you the best.

Rabadi profile image

Rabadi 12 months ago from New York

Happens to the best of us lol thank you for this interesting article!

janshares profile image

janshares 12 months ago from Washington, DC Author

You're very welcome, Rabadi. It happens to me several times a day, lol! Thank you for your visit.

AshlyChristen profile image

AshlyChristen 11 months ago from Illinois

this happens to me and my sister all the time! It really is an inconvenience. She does have fibromyalsia but i do not.

janshares profile image

janshares 11 months ago from Washington, DC Author

It's very common for probably millions of people every day, AshlyChristen, even without a diagnosis. It happens to me daily. It would happen a lot between me and my sister during phone conversations. We'd just laugh it off. Thanks for stopping by.

Shazzia 3 months ago

Hi my son is 6 n he has started getting blank like10 to 12 times a day. Will this effect him in future will he be able to drive cars what should I do to stop this

janshares profile image

janshares 3 months ago from Washington, DC Author

Not sure what that may be so I cannot answer your specific question. If a child is having frequent blank brain, that needs to be assessed by a pediatrician. Thanks for reading and for the question.

Linda 2 months ago

I get brain fog quite often but usually when I'm asked a question, I will become hot, sweaty and cannot think of the answer to a simple question like who is the Vice President ? It will take several minutes for the answer to come to me. Or I will read something and cannot remember what I just read . I'm very worried . What is this?

janshares profile image

janshares 2 months ago from Washington, DC Author

The only thorough way to know what might be going on is to talk to your doctor, share your symptoms and see if a neurological exam is needed.

MarleneB profile image

MarleneB 2 days ago from Northern California, USA

My blank brain tends to occur when I am caught in a situation where I have to stand up and speak, like, when I visit a new church and the pastor calls on me to stand up and introduce myself. I have been known to forget my own name! It's embarrassing. I feel better knowing I am not alone. Thank you for clearing up a few things and for giving tips for helping solve this issue. One thing I do is keep a notepad with me at all times.

janshares profile image

janshares 2 days ago from Washington, DC Author

Excellent, Marlene. Glad to know this was helpful. My brain is getting worse with age. :) Thanks for stopping by.

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    Janis Leslie Evans (janshares)603 Followers
    83 Articles

    Janis is a licensed professional counselor in Washington, DC. Areas of specialty include grief, loss, life transition, and trauma recovery.

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