‘Covid brain’ is real. Here’s how to deal with it



This article is a repost from INC


If you’re feeling more mentally fuzzy or emotionally fragile than usual these days, blame this culprit: Covid brain.


That’s neuroscientist Hilke Plassmann’s name for the way the pandemic’s trauma and uncertainty is changing how our brains function. Plassmann, who coined the phrase on Tuesday in a blog post co-written by editor Benjamin Kessler, explained that, if you’re like most people, your brain’s prefrontal cortex--the center of analytical thought--is being swamped by ambiguous signals. Simultaneously, the brain is searching its memories for comparable experiences to guide its next steps, and coming up empty.


The result: “a fragile, frazzled state that keeps our thoughts simultaneously on edge and unfocused.” In other words, Covid brain isn’t just sleep deprivation or stress. You’re not alone, you aren’t imagining things, and taking a couple of extra naps won’t solve the problem. (It’s worth noting that “Covid brain” doesn’t refer to the physical experience of contracting Covid-19. On Wednesday, researchers at the University College London released a small study of 43 patients indicating that the virus could lead to potential brain damage.)


What will solve the problem? Plassmann offers three useful tips for getting yourself into a more clear-headed state. Read our story to learn how to deal with Covid brain, so you can approach this crisis as your sharpest self.