Why is My Brain So Slow? 

This article will answer the question “Why is my brain so slow?” It will discuss the reasons in detail. It will also cover the various ways in which you can make your brain fast and sharp. The article will answer some frequently asked questions in the end.

Why is My Brain So Slow? 

A lot of reasons for your brain being slow at processing information may be due to a way of life that gives rise to hormonal imbalance and is exacerbated by stress. 

In this modern day and age, we are constantly exposed to electromagnetic radiation from the devices we use, like our phones and laptops. These electromagnetic waves are harmful to us and may lower our brain’s processing speed.

Moreover, social media takes up a good portion of our attention and has increased our screen time. In a day, there is only so much attention we can allocate to tasks. Social media and its cashing in on the attention economy have left our cognitive resources depleted.

Living in the modern world and working in a fast passed environment is extremely stressful. We constantly have deadlines to meet and meetings to attend. This leaves us very little time to relax and wind down, which could leave us tired and make our brain slow. 

Stress reduces blood flow to the brain, which can drastically affect our memory. The stress could also lead to burnout, which is another reason our brain is slowing down. 

Not getting enough sleep also contributes to the decline of brain processing speed. A fast-paced work environment, grind culture, and toxic work culture not only leave you stressed out, wanting to be productive at all times, but also deteriorate your quality and time of sleep. 

Apart from that, other aspects of one’s lifestyle like lack of exercise and a balanced diet can also make our brain slow. Because people’s work takes up most of their time, people may not find the time to exercise or cook nutritious food for themselves. 

Along with regular exercise, we also need to eat a balanced diet and eat nutritious food rich in amino acids, vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and probiotics. 

Climate change-induced pollution, large-scale industrialization and urbanization have exposed us to toxins and pollutants. Even the food we consume is full of toxic insecticides and pesticides. Pesticides and insecticides also kill off the good bacteria in the crops and depreciate the quality of the soil, reducing the number of minerals and irons in it, and the fertility of the soil. This has drastically reduced the quality of products we consume and have access to. 

While human beings tend to think everything happens in real-time, that is not the case. For example, if you’re sitting across the room from a friend and say something to them, there will be a certain time that your friend will take to hear what you’re saying. However, we humans take the processing speed of our brain for granted and assume that everything is happening instantaneously. 

Writer Carl Zimmer compares the human brain to a telegraph passing messages. It will take a certain amount of time for the dots and dashes to pass down the wire and make it to the person on the other end of the telegraph; they don’t start seeing the message as soon as we start typing it out.

Consider this: when we touch our finger to our nose, we feel the finger and nose touch at the same time, even though our finger is farther away from our brain and our nose is closer to the brain. Thus, our brain deals with the delay of our thoughts so that things make more sense to us. Neurons in our brain are myelinated- a kind of insulation, which speeds up our brain’s processing. 

Apart from these reasons, mental health issues like depression, anxiety and ADHD also decrease the speed at which our brain processes thoughts, feelings and emotions. Brain fog induced by other medical conditions, as well as head trauma including concussions, plays a role in reducing the processing speed of the brain. 

Some people may be genetically predisposed to age-related white matter decay, something that still needs a lot of research to be studied in-depth. In older people, reduced speed of processing could be the first symptom of neurodegenerative illnesses like Alzheimer’s disease. 

How can I make my Brain Fast?

In order to improve processing speed, thus, it is important to make some changes in our lifestyle. We can try to reduce our screentime as well as our usage of devices that produce electromagnetic waves that are harmful to our brain. 

While most work-related tasks happen on devices, we can still reduce the amount of time we spend on social media. There are apps and in-built digital wellbeing settings that can lock your social media after you have used it for a certain amount of time. Even while working, take regular breaks to walk and stretch in between so you don’t get overwhelmed with information overload. 

Try to manage work-related stress better by establishing clearer boundaries with your employer and co-workers. Maintaining a work-life balance can go a long way toward ensuring that we are not stressed out, and hence could also reduce the rate at which our brain’s processing speed is declining. Try to take breaks between work and days off when you need them. 

Meditation, mindfulness, journaling, etc. can also help reduce stress as well as help you process your thoughts, feelings and emotions in an efficient manner. 

You can also indulge yourself by picking up new hobbies or activities that you may enjoy. Remember, you do not need to be productive 24×7, as that could lead to burnout, which can make your brain slow. 

Change your diet and include more nutritious and organic options in your diet. Adding supplements for vitamins, omega 3, etc. could also enhance your diet, and by extension, your brain’s processing speed. Along with eating organic food, you can also introduce some form of body movement into your daily routine, whether it is exercise, dance, walking, or stretching. 

All the above changes will also improve your quality of sleep. Try to make sure you’re getting at least 7 to 8 hours of sleep, and that you don’t stay up past midnight. 

Since we’re already exposed to toxic pollutants, avoid smoking and alcohol. Since caffeine stays in the system for 6 hours, try not to drink tea or coffee in the evening so the caffeine doesn’t disrupt your sleep, as sleep is very important to our brain’s processing prowess. 

One way to sharpen your brain is by challenging it to learn a new language, preferably a foreign language. In fact, learning a second or third language can even delay the onset of disorders such as dementia. Try picking up a new language, and try speaking in it and communicating in it, no matter how poor you may sound in it. 

Another way to sharpen your brain is to connect with other people. Social connection soothes the brain and calms it down. It helps in increasing the efficiency of inhibitory responses. Thus, go out and spend time with your friends or family members. 

These were some of the reasons why your brain is slow- and some of the changes you can make in order to undo some of the damage and help increase the processing speed of your brain. 

Conclusion

This article answered the question “Why is my brain so slow?” It discussed the reasons in detail. It covered the various ways in which you can make your brain fast and sharp. The article will answer some frequently asked questions in the end.

Frequently Asked Questions: Why is My Brain So Slow? 

Does the brain go to sleep when we do?

No, this is actually a myth. The brain is extremely active when we are sleeping. Sleep is critical for the functions of memory, problem-solving, creativity, and general emotional well-being. 

Do we use only 10% of our brain?

This is another myth about the brain. It is not true that we only use 10% of our brain. In fact, we use all of it, even while sleeping. Neuroscientists have now confirmed that the human brain is always active. We just don’t use it 100% all at once for greater efficiency and help the brain in working more effectively.

How fast can the human brain think?

According to some estimates, the human brain can experience sensory stimuli presented to it in as less than 50 milliseconds. 50 milliseconds is one-twentieth of a second. However, scientists do believe that our brain can in fact respond to information briefer than this, information that lasts for less than a quarter of a millisecond.

References

Lardone, A., Liparoti, M., Sorrentino, P., Rucco, R., Jacini, F., Polverino, A., Minino, R., Pesoli, M., Baselice, F., Sorriso, A., Ferraioli, G., Sorrentino, G., & Mandolesi, L. (2018). Mindfulness Meditation Is Related to Long-Lasting Changes in Hippocampal Functional Topology during Resting State: A Magnetoencephalography Study. Neural plasticity, 2018, 5340717. https://doi.org/10.1155/2018/5340717

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