Brain fog? Try humming it out.


Brain fog. You can’t think well and have trouble focusing. During my recent bout of COVID, the first sign was that I could not think well and felt like I was slogging through mud.

Brain fog is a common part of pain, stress, anxiety, and exhaustion.

Jim Donovan recommends this simple technique for reducing fog and restoring focus. It works by vibrating your throat and stimulating the vagus nerve. The vagus nerve is fascinating – it both helps control and regulate breathing and heart rate and is also critically important in emotional regulation. Gregorian chanting and Buddhist meditation techniques both use exhaling long tones to focus the mind and evoke calm.

What Do I do?

  • Still yourself and bring yourself into the moment.
  • Take a cleansing breath. Relax your shoulders. Release the tension in your jaw.
  • Hum while breathing out. Feel it in your throat. If you relax your mouth you can feel the hum and vibration move up and down from your jaw down to your chest.
  • Keep your throat open and relaxed.
  • Explore different tones. When I lower my tone, the vibration moves from my upper to lower throat.
  • Repeat 5-10 times. Notice that you are breathing OUT and emptying your lungs and then breathing deeply to refill them.


  • Make yourself dizzy by running short of air. This is supposed to be a relaxing exercise!
  • Tense up. Consciously focus on how it feels and on maintaining a relaxed posture.
  • Hum loudly. It can hurt your throat if you’re not used to it.

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