For some, losing focus is a chronic issue that can feel debilitating and never-ending. However, there is hope, whether you’re a student preparing for final exams, a parent trying to learn a new sport or a movie buff. If you’re one of the many people wondering How to focus, read on to see what could be causing your loss of focus.
1. Not Enough Sleep
Sleep is a critical component that helps keep the human body working correctly. Without it, body processes will begin to slow down and eventually stop altogether. You likely notice how sluggish you feel after a night of inadequate sleep. If you cannot consistently get a good night’s sleep, this could be the culprit of your lack of focus. Try cutting out electronics an hour before bed, drinking tea, reading a book, or any other calm self-care activity to boost your potential to catch some good Zzz.
2. Exciting environment
Did you know that planes are banned from flying once a year in South Korea as 650,000 high school seniors take their college entrance exams? The government wants to give their youth the best shot at scoring well by giving them an ideal environment to focus in. You should grant yourself the same honor by setting yourself up for success in a calm environment. It would be nearly impossible to get anything done if you’re sitting in the crowd of a concert or the midway of a carnival. Do your best to remove yourself from distractions like the television or other people so you can put all your focus on your task at hand.
3. High-stress levels
Stress is a normal thing that all people experience, but high levels of it can weaken your ability to focus on important tasks like studying. If you’re taking on too many things at once and have little time to spare, your concentration will be significantly diminished. You can attempt to alleviate this by doing some deep breathing exercises. You should lay on your back, close your eyes, breathe in through your nose, fill your belly with air, and slowly breathe out through your mouth. Repeat this a few times and give yourself a little pat on the back. You can do this!
4. Lacking good nutrition
Not getting proper nutrition through your food and drink intake can drastically impact your ability to focus. A deficiency in vitamins and minerals has been linked to negatively impacting mental clarity, making it fantastically hard to focus on your task. Be sure to eat a balanced diet that includes all levels of the food pyramid to give yourself the best shot of staying on task.
5. Post-concussion syndrome
People who have suffered concussions understand that their symptoms (headaches, confusion, difficulty focusing) can last for multiple days and even weeks. So if it’s been more than two weeks since your incident, take a trip to your primary care physician to inquire about your potential post-concussion syndrome. You’ll need an MRI to be officially diagnosed, and your treatment will be personalized to you – although many doctors recommend letting the brain rest and recuperate. If you’re young and active, your physician might even suggest that you take it easy and refrain from participating in sports or exercise for a while until your symptoms improve.
6. Trying to complete too many tasks.
While some people thrive under this pressure, you may need a different process for your brain’s focus on tasks. If you’re running into this issue at work or school, talk to someone you trust about trying out different strategies until you find a process that sticks. This will help you succeed and keep your classmates and coworkers on track.
7. Not eating enough
Similar to poor nutrition described above, not getting enough to eat can undoubtedly affect your ability to focus. Not only is skipping meals or drastically reducing your food intake detrimental to your overall health, but it can lead to your body being sufficient in glucose which can lead to side effects like impaired thinking, learning, and memorizing. This will make it hard for students to retain new study materials or even new hires at a job who are learning the day-to-day processes at their organization. Always consult your doctor or a registered dietician before beginning a new diet or reducing food intake.
8. Mental health struggles
Anxiety, depression, insomnia, generalized anxiety disorder, and mental shock can make it difficult for people to focus on simple tasks – even ones they may have enjoyed before their battle with mental health. One of the best things you can do for yourself is to visit your doctor or psychiatrist to discuss your symptoms. They can accurately diagnose what you’re dealing with and provide you with a personalized care plan to help you overcome this temporary roadblock.
If you’ve read through this entire article and can’t figure out why you lose focus quickly, it might be time for you to talk to your doctor about hypothyroidism. This is a condition in which the thyroid gland doesn’t produce enough or produces too much thyroid hormone. People with hypothyroidism experience a slowed metabolism and trouble concentrating.