After years of heavy cannabis use, you might feel as though you aren’t operating at your optimal level. If you re a heavy user, you might find that over time, your memory, motivation and attention span have been negatively affected. You might also be feeling lethargic and notice the flow-on effect this can have on your concentration, work, relationships and mood.
At NCPIC, we often get asked questions like how can I recover my brain-health after I quit using? and what kind of damage does marijuana do to the brain? While there is no one quick-fix solution and the jury is still out on some potential harms, the good news is it is possible to improve your brain-health over time. We ve put together a few different ways to help recover from some of the effects of smoking weed and whip your brain back into shape.
A healthy diet and regular exercise will help start to recover a lot of different areas of brain-health affected by long-term heavy weed use, and your memory is no exception. But did you know it s also possible to exercise your brain like you would a muscle in your body?
Download a free app, like Lumosity, and you can play games that will improve memory, concentration and attention span. Neuronation also has a great program of daily brain exercises with regular email reminders to keep you on track. These only take a few sessions a week and can easily fit into your daily routine.
If, like many others, you find your attention span has dwindled over the years, there are several things you can do to improve this. Prioritising your tasks can help you get the most important things done when you have the most energy, so make a list and organise it in terms of importance. Breaking tasks down into bite-sized chunks with regular breaks can also help you achieve more throughout your day. You might want to set a timer to remind you to get back on track if your mind is prone to wandering.
Another way of helping you focus is to limit the distractions around you. Set yourself up in a clean, quiet and productive environment, free from external stimulation.
Lowered reaction time
Now you finally have an excuse to play video games! Some research has suggested playing certain video games can actually help you develop a heightened sensitivity and awareness to what s going on around you. Just make sure you set a limit for your screen time each day and it doesn t become a trigger to smoke again, or an addiction all of its own.
Signing up for a sporting team, particularly ball-based sports, is another great way to improve your reaction time and build hand-eye coordination. You ll be surprised how quickly your skills improve and develop when a hard ball is being thrown at you, and the exercise you get while doing it will have health benefits that will improve other areas of your health.
If you re feeling sleepy and tired all the time, it s bound to start impacting other areas of your life, like your work and relationships. It s tempting to reach for a stimulant like coffee or an energy drink for an immediate pick me up. But take a closer look at your routine. Could you be getting more sleep? Are you going to bed and waking up at the same time every day? How much time are you spending in front of a screen (TV, phone, computer, videogame) just before bed? Making a few small adjustments to how you go about your day can have a huge impact on your energy levels.
Lack of motivation
Plan your day/week/month/year/life. Write down your goals and commit to what you want to achieve. How will you achieve them? Setting yourself small goals and then rewarding yourself can help you build momentum and motivation to keep moving forward.
Take note of your posture. How do you carry yourself? Research has shown body language can have an enormous impact on your thoughts and feelings, and also change the chemistry in your brain. Check out Amy Cuddy s famous TED talk on how just two minutes of high power poses can help improve your motivation and confidence.