Have you been feeling less alert? Less clear headed? More emotional? Feeling mentally fuzzy? than before Covid 19 appeared?
It isn’t just lack of sleep. Our brains actually change how they work in very stressful times.
Neuroscientist Hilke Plassmann calls this Covid Brain.
She explains why, instead of being clear headed during a pandemic, you may be having trouble concentrating. The area of the brain, called the prefrontal cortex, that does the planning, thinks analytically and uses your working memory is overwhelmed when:
- It gets unclear or contradictory signals, which hinder your decision making ability.
- It has no previous experience to draw on for an event like a pandemic, and looks outward but finds the signals are not consistent.
- Higher sensitivity to outside information and decreased ability to think analytically keeps us unfocused and anxious.
Here are some tips to help your brain cope:
1. How you think about stress matters
It isn’t the stress itself that gives us difficulty, it is our thoughts about the stress. If you think of stress as helpful in managing difficult times, it becomes less harmful, maybe even helpful This may be even more true now.
“Regarding stress as a catalyst for positive change rather than a threat, for example, can promote clearer thoughts and keep negative emotions at bay”.
2. Music can change your mood
“Something as simple as listening to music can restore our equilibrium. Indeed, one study linked emotions induced through music to activity in brain networks that are essential for generation and regulation of emotions. Playing music in the background while working can also bolster productivity in times of stress by sustaining mental attention and sharpening focus,” Plassmann says.
3. Meditation helps your brain
Much research shows that meditation helps you manage your own brain.
Developing ways to regulate your brain, your stress levels and your mood will be a benefit long after Covid 19 is gone.