Brain Flatulence: How to Fight Back

It’s silent. It’s deadly. It’s down right embarrassing. It sneaks up on us when we least expect it–brain flatulence a.k.a the brain fart. If you’re under the age of forty you may have no idea what I’m talking about. If you’re over forty, or a premature sufferer of brain flatulence, keep reading.

Good old brain flatulence is what causes us to ask, what the heck am I doing here? after we enter a room. And those times when we catch ourselves about to put the salt and peppershaker in the refrigerator– chalk that one up to brain flatulence as well.  Don’t tell me you’ve never come to an abrupt halt in the middle of a conversation, just as you were about to make some truly profound statement, only to realize you haven’t a clue what you were about to say next.

Now, for the sake of politeness, and my mum, (who to my knowledge has only ever said the word fart once in her life) I’ve chosen to use the term brain flatulence for this post. But if you prefer to call it forgetfulness, brain fog, a senior’s moment, no one here’s going to stop you. It all amounts to the same thing.

The first step in overcoming a problem is always admitting the problem exists.

Yes, I’ll admit to three of the above. If it wasn’t for brain flatulence, I could likely cite more. Some days are worse than others. Truthfully, I shouldn’t complain. I know one person who tried to vote for a Canadian Idol contestant with the tv remote control. After several attempts she asked her daughter what was wrong with the phone. True story!  (I’m betting about now you’re not nearly as scared about your own brain flatulence, are you?)

But for those of you who just aren’t ready to admit to having a problem there are ways to cover up those momentary lapses of memory.

1.Saying things such as  “Not to change the subject, but……” when you suddenly haven’t the foggiest idea as to what the conversations is about is a good place to start. Of course you’ll need to prepare for this one ahead of time because even when your NOT changing the subject, you need to have a subject to talk about. Choose something you’re knowledgeable about. If need be, tie a string to your finger to remind you of what that something is. That way instead of trying to come up with something at the spur of the moment you need only to glance down at your finger. If all goes as planned, you won’t wonder why the heck you tied it there in the first place. Something you saw on Dr. Oz would work well and, since he’s the most quoted person on the planet these days, you’re not going to raise any suspicions.


2.If you’re caught putting the salt and peppershakers in the fridge swear up and down that you saw it on an episode of the Dr. Oz Show. You won’t really have to know why they belong there. The fact that you mention seeing it on Dr. Oz will be good enough for most people. They’ll accept it as law. Before you know it, your family and friends will be doing the same.


3. As for covering up the reason for entering a room, that one should be a piece of cake. Remember, you only have to worry about this if someone’s actually in the room. No one’s going to see that befuddled what-the-heck- am-I-doing-here look, when the room is empty, right? If there is someone in the room, that’s a different kettle of fish. Be inventive, ask them a question, “Do you know what was on Dr. Oz today?”

Fighting back

For all of you sufferers of brain flatulence I’m here to spread the good news. There’s a way to fight back. I’ve done a little research and here’s what I found. Roll up your sleeves. Let’s get serious for a moment.

Sitting in front of a tv screen day after day is a sure fire way of adding to the brain flatulence you’re already experiencing. Sorry Dr. Oz, but this needed to be said.. Your brain is a muscle, or should be, and like every other muscle in the body it needs a good work out. A great way to cut down on brain flatulence is to read my book. Okay not just my book, but any book. (Sorry, I thought I’d slip one that past you.)

Seriously, if books aren’t your thing try reading newspapers, magazines, even blog post. The written word is everywhere. There really is no excuse. It’s probably one of our best defences. I’m not simply saying this because I’m an author. The experts will back me up on this one. Keeping our brains active is important. My weekly visit to the nursing home these past four years is enough to convince me of that. While it’s fun to joke around, it really is important especially as we age. If we let our brains go to mush in our youth we can’t expect to make up for it later in life.

While reading is a great way to keep our minds active, the experts also say that trying new things will keep our brains energetic and healthy too. Learn a new craft, do crosswords or puzzles. Take piano lessons. Challenge yourself. Anything that requires you to use your brain will help protect you against brain flatulence.  Continue to do things you already enjoy that stimulate your brain. Often times older individuals simply lose interest, but this doesn’t have to be that way.

So there you have it, everything you no doubt already knew about brain flatulence, but likely forgot. Hopefully, down the road you’ll remember that your best defence is to stay active and challenge our brain. Keep reading. Keep thinking. Keep learning. Don’t just let your brain go stale.

Do you ever suffer from brain flatulence? Share your story. We’ll read it. Plus, we’ll be contributing to our brain health while we read it.

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  1. Well, you got me. Only, I call it brain burps, or … oh dear, I just had one .. what else do I call it?? Oh yes, brain fog. (honestly, that just happened and I had to look in your post for it. *sigh*)
    Living part-time with someone with dementia sure makes one notices one’s own memory slips – another good description. It had me worried until I was assured that a certain amount of that temporary forgetfulness is normal. whew! But, of course, the niggling question lurks in the background …

    when I forget the word I was about to say, when the name of someone I know well escapes me, when I have to ask a third time .. what was that list again?, when I know I walked into that room for something in particular … just to name a few alarms.

    This is such a good post and needful topic, Laura. Exercising one’s brain is vital to its health. Jigsaw puzzles, word games, math puzzles, physical exercise – be it ever so little, learning something new, dancing, reading, trying to learn another language, all are great to encourage brain health.
    hmm Considering my own situation, perhaps this is a topic I should be blogging about. If I manage it, I will also direct my readers to check out your post.

    • We all seem to have these memory lapses, joking helps, but you’re right, Lynn, dealing with a family member who suffers from dementia makes us all the more mindful. It’s a dreadful disease that I’ve witnessed up close, They do say the best thing to do is to keep our brains busy. Glad you liked the post. :)

  2. Laura, this is a great post and it reminds me of …..

    Ah, I couldn’t resist a bit of tongue in cheek … foot in mouth … or was that hoof in mouth and thumb up … ooops … respecting your mom I won’t say where that rude thum went.

    I would add to your list. MOVE … dance, swim, walk, laugh, play loud music … talk to kids, meet new people, just get up and out and meet the world before you forget why you were put here :)

    • Thanks Florence. You’re comment will never reach my mum’s ears..:)
      We do need to stay physically active as well. A strong mind and body go together.

  3. Laura, I just blogged about my distractibility, but you know, I think I may be having some brain flatulence mixed in there, too! Love your Dr. Oz references;I giggled out loud about your swift redirection if someone IS in the room during a what-the-heck- am-I-doing-here look!
    I do lots to keep my brain busy, but I will admit on a serious note, to losing the exact word I want in conversation more often at age 58, and you KNOW how we word lovers want the perfect word!
    Thanks for your post this morning!

    • Good old Dr. Oz. What the heck is his first name? Can’t remember. It’s something unusual. Maybe I’ll ask my mum. She’ll know. She’s been quoting him for years.. ;)
      We all have our moments, Cate. It’s always best to be prepared!

  4. John Medina wrote a great book called Brain Rules. He says that one of the best ways to keep our brains healthy is to move more. Our ancestors spent most of their days on the move looking for food and our bodies still crave that regular movement. Here’s one solution I’ve found: I also think that I become a lot more prone to brain burps (love that term!) when I’m stressed. When I’m juggling too many projects, people, problems, deadlines … I can barely remember my name. Thanks for the timely post. Nice to know I’m not alone : )

    • For sure, most of us don’t move around as much as our ancestors did, Heather. Again, we probably try and do many more things at one time then they did as well. Thanks for adding the link. :)

      And no worries, you are NOT alone!

  5. Judi

     /  June 24, 2012

    Yes, Laura, I know where you are coming from and I know you know me well enough that I have brain (fart) sorry Mum, all the time. But I think I keep my brain quite active. I do lexulous, quilts, puzzles, crosswords, play with my grandchildren, try and out wit my husband and friends, try and keep one step ahead of my sister (which is an all round waste of time), I read (most) of your blogs, and still I put salt and pepper shakers in the fridge. But I tell people, if there is someone here to see me, that in the summer it keeps the humitidy from caking them up. I thought that sounded really logical, so that’s what I told them. I love reading your blogs they make me laugh when some days I find it hard to even smile…….Thanks, your a gem that shines brighter then all the rest….

    • Gee thanks, Judi. Did I say I’d pay you for all the compliments? Cause if I did I I like your explaination for putting the salt & pepper in the fridge. Does that work for other strange items like books?

      Glad to make you smile. Smiles are one of our most precious commodities. They are free and easily shared. :)

  6. When did Nanny ever say fart?? Must have been some kind of a racket goin’ on.

    • Many years ago. You were too young to remember…
      Just wondering if you forgot to check your email or if I sent it to the wrong address or not at all. Sounds like a case of BF to me. :)

  7. For me it has been car keys and wallet for decades Forgetting names of various girlfriends over the years hasprobably contributed to my bachelorhood since divorce 1984. On a serious note every now and then I am unable to register where I am but it lasts only a few seconds. When lost I always head east to Atlantic shore , Miami Beach and can always find my way home from there. But how does one get lost in the same county in which one has lived almost six decades ?

    • I can see where forgetting the girlfriend’s name could be

      Perhaps you need a GPS to help find your way home. Then again , you’d have to remember how to use it. If you’re like me that would be next to impossible. ;)

  8. Ah, misfires of the brain, I’ve experienced a few. What were they? Let’s see… Uh. Not to change the subject, but…

  9. Count me in, Laura! The worst part is forgetting what one wanted to add to a conversation, or even just a particular “word” that escapes as quickly as it came to mind.

    • Um and what’s the topic?..Oh right… Brain flatulence.. The word was escaping me..

      My husband tells a story that he was talking to a coworker he’d worked with for years and had to stop and ask him what his name was…

  10. There must be something wrong with me. I’ve never had a brain fart. I don’t know why. I’m pretty brain-dead most days, so I’m a little perplexed that I’ve never farted through my brain. Does it come out your ears or your nose? Surely not your eyes? Oh, I forgot about the mouth. My dad used to fart out his mouth. He’s passed on now. Hope he’s not brain farting in heaven. Wouldn’t make for a good reception when I get there. One of my cats does, farts from his mouth. Stinks like a sewer tank. Makes me gag. I’d look in his mouth to see why, but if it’s a fart like you say, what would I see? Can’t recall any warning signs. Colour coated fumes exuding first. No. Can’t recall. He’s old though. Got bad eyes, can’t hear. Wabbles when he walks. Good cat though. Very loving…

    Where was I? Oh yeah, brain farts. Nope, I’m pretty sure I’ve never had one.

    • Joylene, you unofficially win the prize for using the word “Fart” the most times in one paragraph. lol!!
      I can’t remember what that prize is, and when it comes right down to it I’ll likely forget to award it to you, but none-the-less you win girl!!! Maybe I put your prize in the fridge..maybe.. Thanks for making me laugh. :)

  11. fivecats

     /  June 24, 2012

    You covered it all. No need to watch Dr. Oz this week. What were we talking about …

  12. Lol! This really made me chuckle today. :-D

    I have brain farts all the time and I’m not ashamed to admit it. Sometimes I have so many things going on inside my head, one or more are bound to get lost along the way.

  13. Ann Best

     /  June 25, 2012

    A lot of great advice, Laura. You think YOU have “senior” moments. You should follow ME around for a few days!! The one about tying a string around your finger: this brought back a very old memory: I did this when I was a teenager, to remember what I wanted not to forget. And lately, well, I can see a face that I know so very well, and can’t recall the person’s name. But keeping one’s brain as active as possible, I agree this is the thing to do to stave off brain “flatulence.”

    Thanks for stopping by and commenting, Laura. I’m trying to keep my finger in blogging; to at least pop in occasionally and visit some dear “old” friends. It felt good to come over here.

    And, I thought, did I ever write a review of Bitter, Sweet? I thought I did (there it goes again, the memory), but apparently I didn’t. I just wrote one for you on Amazon (US), which should be up in a few hours if you’d like to take a look at it. I thought the book was wonderful. Definitely an award winning book. I’m so glad I read it. You are a very talented writer — and you SHOULD suggest that people read your book. It’s not easy to self-promote, and I’ve been shy about it. But I never have minded an author saying he/she has written a book that they think is good that I might like to read. So do it!!

    • Nice to have you visit, Ann. I know life has been challenging for you. Blogging is a big commitment and time consuming. Sometimes we’re all just too busy and we have to take a step back.

      I popped over to Amazon and checked out your review. Thanks so much. How sweet of you. I greatly appreciate it. :)

  14. The less physically active I’ve become, the more I experience those mindless moments. At times it’s scary! What I hate most is not being able to find the exact word I need while I’m writing. I know it exists but it eludes me until I give up and use something else. Then the right word pops into my head hours later. Ack!!! Thank goodness for my thesaurus!


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