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Brain Fog from Sensory Overload

3 minute read

Have you ever felt so overwhelmed by the bombardment of daily stimuli that your thoughts seem to traverse through a hazy mist? The term 'brain fog' might resonate with you – it encapsulates that perplexing sensation when our mental clarity checks out, leaving us feeling disoriented and fatigued. Equally puzzling is the experience of sensory overload, an intense reaction to an excess of sensory input that our brains struggle to process. This challenge can dominate the lives of individuals with sensory processing disorders or ADHD, thus, understanding and managing these phenomena is not just beneficial—it's crucial.

In this post, we'll unravel the definition of brain fog and sensory overload, explore their causes, and shine a light on the intricate connection between the two. Most importantly, for those who find themselves wading through these murky waters, we will share actionable strategies designed to help regain a sense of balance and clarity.

Causes of Sensory Overload

  • Overstimulation of Senses: In this modern era, life bombards us with ceaseless noises, sights, and information—an abundance that can feel like an assault on our senses.
  • Environmental Factors: Chronically noisy environments, visually cluttered spaces, or even certain fabric textures can escalate the quantity of sensory input to unbearable levels.
  • Emotional and Cognitive Factors: Stress, anxiety, and cognitive tasks that demand high levels of concentration can heavily tax our sensory processing capabilities.

Connection Between Brain Fog and Sensory Overload

The brain, magnificent as it is, has its bandwidth limitations when it comes to processing sensory information. Sensory overload can jam this bandwidth, causing cognitive functions to falter, which often manifests as brain fog—a dense cloud that obscures focus and short-circuits memory. It's a signal that you've hit your sensory threshold and need to retreat and recalibrate.

Tips for Managing Sensory Overload and Reducing Brain Fog

Implementing strategies to manage sensory overload isn't just about relief—it's a reclamation of power over your environment and mental faculties. Here’s how you can mitigate the fog and turn down the volume on the world's cacophony:

Deep Breathing Exercises

Taking deep, controlled breaths is akin to sending a tranquil breeze through the cluttered alleyways of your mind. Use this exercise to navigate back to mental serenity:

  • Find a quiet space.
  • Close your eyes and take a slow, deep breath through your nose, filling your lungs completely.
  • Hold your breath for a count of three.
  • Exhale slowly through your mouth.
  • Repeat this cycle for a few minutes until a sense of calm envelops you.

Limiting Screen Time

In an age where screens serve as portals to a world of information and interaction, it's essential to impose limits. To prevent these windows from disturbing your sleep—which is pivotal in maintaining mental clarity—try to turn off all screens at least an hour before bedtime. Embrace the serenity of the night to prepare your brain for rest.

Practicing Body Scan Meditation

Apprehend the state of your body and senses through a body scan meditation. This process encourages an insightful journey through your physical self, noting each area without judgment while nurturing a grounded awareness of your sensory experiences:

  • Lie down comfortably in a quiet environment.
  • Starting at your toes, shift your attention slowly up through your body.
  • Acknowledge any sensation—tension, warmth, tingling—without trying to change it.
  • Continue the scan all the way to the crown of your head.
  • Notice the overall sense of calm and balance reigning within you once complete.


Journaling offers a structured avenue to untangle the wired web of emotions and thoughts that contribute to sensory overload:

  • Set aside a few minutes each day to jot down your thoughts and feelings.
  • Do not censor or judge—let the words flow freely.
  • Reflect on what you've written to gain insights into the patterns of your sensory experiences.
  • Use your journal as a powerful tool to cathartically process your sensory world.

Balancing Sensory Input

Practicing sensory balance is akin to conducting an orchestra—each instrument contributing to the symphony without overwhelming the others:

  • Consciously allot time to engage different senses, whether it's touching fabrics, tasting distinct flavors, listening to music, or viewing art.
  • Seek environments that provide a harmonious sensory engagement—nature walks can be especially beneficial.


The veil of brain fog and the siege of sensory overload need not be your constant companions. By employing these thoughtful strategies, you can declutter your sensory environment and navigate toward cognitive clarity.

Together, recognize that amidst the sensory onslaught is potential for equilibrium and clear-sightedness. So take heart, wield these tips with intention, and navigate your way through the fog.

Get started with the 5 senses grounding ritual

Photo by Stefano Pollio

Disclaimer: The content provided on this blog is for informational purposes only and is not intended as a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.

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