by Carolyn Meers
Be creative, be on time, finish that project, launch that new business idea, make that really important decision and definitely call your parents back…sound like your morning to-do list?
Today, it’s no mystery why our brains are begging for some stamina-boosting support to keep up with daily demands. If you’re like most of the population, you regularly experience some form of mental fatigue, the results of which are often moments of forgetfulness or an inability to focus—aka “brain fog.”
While not a medical condition, when brain fog rolls in, its impacts can be deeply frustrating. Its causes can range from dehydration and lack of exercise to sleep disruptions, Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, poor diet, and — of course — prolonged mental stress.
In today’s world, the myriad of stressors and challenges brought on by the pandemic can precipitate bouts of brain fog. Before 2020, a survey by the American Psychological Association found that the majority of Americans were stressed about money and work, and three out of four experienced at least one stress-related symptom per month.
Conventional wisdom would lead us to surmise that many individuals are experiencing a number of regularly occurring stress-related issues currently—and accordingly, a more recent APA survey reported a significant uptick in average anxiety levels in adults.
So what can you do about it? Read on to discover the mental, emotional and creative benefits of certain nootropics that can help you take on high-stress moments and power through tough tasks, to get you into a feel-good flow state.
What are nootropics?
Nootropics are supplements and compounds (some are naturally derived from plants, some are man-made) that can improve cognitive function. Some stoke motivation; some sharpen focus; others boost mood, strengthen memory, and even reinvigorate creativity.
While each nootropic has its own distinct effects, many works by enhancing the uptake of oxygen in the blood and increasing the metabolic activity of the body’s mitochondria, which help power the cells in the brain and other essential organs.
More metabolic activity leads to quicker neural responses, which can translate to faster memory recall and streamlined focus.
Nootropics for energy and lifting brain fog
The nootropic most people are familiar with is caffeine. It’s a powerful, popular, psychoactive supplement widely consumed through coffee. Though effective in the short-term, caffeine itself has less desirable side effects, like dehydration, jitteriness, spikes in anxiety and big energy crashes, to name just a few.
Derived from a root herb with origins in mountainous regions of Asia and Europe, Rhodiola is an adaptogenic nootropic with a number of mental and emotional benefits.
The herb can enhance memory, improve cognitive function and protect against emotional stress. Rhodiola may also sustain mood-boosting brain chemicals including norepinephrine, serotonin and dopamine.
For more on how to battle brain fog and flagging energy with nootropic products, check out how CBD can boost energy and how to ditch brain fog and get through an afternoon slump.
Nootropics for motivation
Think of Lion’s Mane as a mind mender. This mushroom contains active compounds that stimulate brain cell growth, fight fatigue and are thought to help protect cells against damage from inflammation and destruction caused by degenerative diseases like Alzheimer's.
Day to day, it helps you focus more closely and for longer periods, meaning your motivation won’t crash unexpectedly.
This herb is a mainstay in traditional Ayurvedic medicine, where it’s often referred to as Brahmi, and is best known for soothing restlessness and improving focus — both of which can drain motivation if left unchecked.
If you could use a boost of inspiration or creativity, L-theanine is for you. An amino acid commonly found in green tea, L-Theanine fuels feelings of calmness while also increasing the brain’s alpha waves, which are linked to creativity. Meaning that big ideation session just got a lot easier.
The best nootropic stacks
As we mentioned above, each of these nootropics are powerful brain-boosting agents when taken on their own. But like many supplements, they can be combined or “stacked.”
These stacks often include nootropics designed to target multiple areas — such as energy and motivation or creativity and focus, for example — are some of the most efficient and effective ways to incorporate these herbs and powerful plants into your daily routine.
If you’re looking to increase energy and motivation, FOCL Day is your ultimate nootropic power stack. It’s a potent combination of Lion’s Mane, Bacopa Monnieri, L-Theanine, Rhodiola Rosea, premium hemp CBD and mood-regulating Vitamin B6. Next time a deadline looms or a stressful day of to-dos arrives, skip the morning coffee and put this expertly arranged plate of brain food to work for you.
Carolyn Meers is an editor and copywriter based in Los Angeles. She has more than a decade of experience in the luxury lifestyle realm, specializing in health and wellness, and has contributed to publications including CSQ, C Magazine, Robb Report, 805 Living and The Knot.