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Can’t think? Unable to remember? Why most people are suffering from cognitive fog these days | – Times of India

“Some months ago I ordered two denims from an online store,” recalls Jyoti, 58, in conversation with Etimes Lifestyle. “They delivered one piece and sent mail for the date of delivery of the second one. However, a few days later, I thought that date had passed and started talking about the delay in delivery with my family.”
“I called customer care and complained about the delay.The person on the other side tried to make me understand that the parcel will arrive in time, but I was not able to get that and scolded him for the delay from the company. I realized my mistake after a few hours and felt guilty,” she shared how forgetfulness became a cause for embarrassment.
This is just one incident, as the grandmother of three recalls, adding that she feels her brain feels “fogged” many times. While it is completely normal to “forget” something once in a while, it can become problematic when this habit of forgetfulness becomes frequent and disrupts your day-to-day life.
“The prevalence of cognitive fog, the feeling of being unable to assume reality or forget things, has become a common concern. Several elements contribute to this phenomenon, impacting human beings of every age,” says Dr Kunal Bahrani, Director of Neurology, Fortis Escorts Hospital, Faridabad.
What causes this mental fog?
“Firstly, the information overload we experience daily can weigh down our cognitive abilities. Constant exposure to a barrage of records, notifications, and stimuli can lead to intellectual fatigue, making it difficult to concentrate and consider facts,” explains Dr Bahrani.

Smita, a working mom based in Delhi, feels the same. “I have been experiencing this kind of forgetfulness for the past 3-4 years, but I noticed this increases when I have a lot of work-related stress, when I have to manage and juggle a number of things,” she shares. “Sometimes in meetings I fumble for words or I am not able to recollect names. It worries me if it is an early sign of dementia. But I largely feel it happens because there is so much going on in my life, there is so much to handle, that my brain gets tired and then it leads to this kind of forgetfulness.”
While on one hand hectic work can contribute to brain fatigue, mundane work that does not ‘exercise’ your brain or memory can also lead to similar symptoms. Akshay, 25, shares that it feels like now he can “only focus on one thing and every other thing runs in the background.”
When asked about the cause, he reveals that he is no longer “taking up mentally challenging tasks as I continuously used to do in school or college. Further, mundane office tasks with no actual analysis but only procedural steps are also to blame.” Dr. P Venkat Krishnan, Senior Consultant – Internal medicine, Artemis Hospital Gurugram, agrees, explaining how we ourselves are making our brains weaker.
The Senior Consultant explains, “Earlier, we used to do a lot of calculations mentally because of which our mind was very active. It was an exercise for the mind. Now we just open the computer and we do everything on the computer. We don’t remember any anniversary. We put a memory on the phone and a date on the phone, that’s all. As a result, our mind is not getting the activity it gets to remember things. We don’t make an effort to remember things for a long time. We don’t try to recollect what we have done during the day.”
“So as a result, what is happening is our brain is becoming more and more inactive. It is becoming more and more slow. Like the body becoming fat because of lack of activity, the brain also becomes thicker. It is not able to function properly. It is not able to think. Our memory becomes very slow because of these reasons.”


Aakansha, 31, who works as an Architect, and Ayush, 25, who works as a Finance professional, agree on common symptoms and causes related to cognitive fog; despite differences in age, gender and work profiles, among other things.
“I have observed changes in my memory since the past 1.5 years,” says Aakanksha. “I forget about events, names of people, and can’t recall what happened a few days back.”
Ayush adds, “I tend to skip names of people around me, as if it’s almost erased from my memory. I once or twice forgot the conversation I had with people, and don’t remember it until the time they circle it back to me.”

As for the cause, both feel stress to be a contributing factor. The analysis might be correct, as Dr Bahrani explains, “stress and tension have a profound effect on cognitive function. It can lead to chronic pressure, impairing memory and consciousness.”
Long COVID and Brain fog
Apart from poor lifestyle habits, the impact of Coronavirus infection and pandemic is also one of the contributing factors behind cognitive decline for some people.


Mayank, 27, recalls, “if I remember correctly, everything before the pandemic is distinctly categorized into specific memories with clear time stamps, but during the pandemic and particularly after that, my brain seems to be acting in a mush mode.”

He added, “I experience difficulty in remembering details of the day and weeks. New information, in particular, slips off easily. I end up mixing up time and sequences of events.”
Other possible causes
Dr Jyoti Kapoor, founder-director and senior psychiatrist, Manasthali, shares other common causes that can lead to mental fog:

  • Lack of Sleep: Many people today struggle with inadequate sleep due to busy schedules, electronic device use, or other factors.
  • Sedentary Lifestyle: Lack of physical activity is associated with various health issues, including cognitive decline.
  • Poor Diet: Diets high in processed foods and low in essential nutrients may negatively impact cognitive function.

Remedies to clear brain fog
To combat cognitive fog, “it is important to strive for stability. Incorporating breaks, workouts, and satisfactory sleep into our routines, in conjunction with pressure control techniques, can substantially enhance mental clarity and quality well-being,” says Dr Bahrani. “Regular exercising not only blesses the body but also stimulates the brain, promoting higher cognitive features. Quality sleep is crucial for memory consolidation and overall mental clarity.”


For stress management, regular practice of yoga asanas such as Viparita Karani and breathing exercises such as Bhramari Pranayama can be helpful.

Udgeeth pranayama- The 5-minute guided meditation for mindfulness

“It’s essential to recognize that these factors are interconnected, and addressing one aspect may positively impact others. If someone is constantly experiencing cognitive difficulties, it’s advisable to consult with a healthcare professional to rule out any underlying medical conditions,” signs off Dr Kapoor.

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