5 reasons you’re having a hard time focusing

hard time focusing

You shouldn’t drain your energy in a hard time focusing so here is 5 reasons you should know

Everyone’s ability to focus naturally fluctuates with time and hormones. These bouts of distractibility usually ephemeral in nature tend to cause momentary lapses in productivity, which are quickly recovered as your body recalibrates or reenergizes.

Those experiencing significant difficulties focusing on a more chronic scale may have more going on than daily fluctuations. Below are 5 possible reasons your attention is not what it should be.

1. Your Diet

Although you may be eating enough food throughout the day, you may not be eating the right ones. Even if you consume adequate amounts of fruits and vegetables, regularly enjoying candy bars and other processed sweets can still have harmful effects (1). Further, habitual use of artificial sweeteners and additives may have deleterious results. A global investigation of several endorsed diets and their relationship with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder indicated that refining diet can often work to inhibit progression of the condition and enhance cognitive abilities. This can be extrapolated to other acute attention deficits as supported by additional research.

2. Your Interest

It may be fairly obvious but degree of interest regarding the task at hand can either help or hinder your ability to provide full attention. This spans beyond emotional ties to subject matter; interest represents a cognitive state in which you experience heightened sensations of energy and alertness. It operates as a positive feedback loop: when you are interested in something, you are able to focus and utilize more energy for gathering and enciphering relevant information. With a larger information base, your brain creates novel connections to existing knowledge, enhancing both the extant knowledge and desire to increase such connections. This, in turn, accentuates the initial interest, establishing a pattern of increased focus when encountering the topic of interest (2).

While you may not be able to force interest for certain tasks, identifying the level of interest can help you create an approach for maximizing focus. For instance, for tasks that seem less engaging, focus for spurts at a time. Start with 5 minutes and rotate it with other tasks or subjects.

3. You’re not getting enough sleep

Research has repeatedly demonstrated the importance of sleep in order for organ systems to function optimally, especially your brain. Mental functioning deteriorates quickly after a single night of disturbed sleep. For those who don’t receive adequate sleep (recommended on average to be 7.5 to 8 hours a night), the brain is unable to consolidate new information and other forms of cognitive functioning become increasingly compromised the greater the sleep deprivation. If you are having difficulty focusing and cannot figure out why lack of sleep may be the culprit.

4. You’re physically inactive

Regular exercise stimulates the brain and influences the production of several supportive proteins and chemicals that play a role in brain health. One of the ways it does this is through promoting the production of what is called a brain-derived neurotrophic factor, or BDNF. BDNF is a growth factor that strengthens connections between neurons and the overall ability to retain memories. It orchestrates memory formation and related tasks in the brain. Exercise also indirectly affects brain health by lowering body weight and fat content, limiting stress and anxiety as well as improving cardiovascular health (4). Better physical health ultimately contributes to better mental health.

5. You’re experiencing poor emotional health

Experiencing emotionally-taxing life events can be a huge distraction even on matters you find extremely interesting. At some point, every person undergoes a stressful or emotional occurrence resulting in lower abilities to focus and perform cognitively. According to one study, people that tend to be highly emotional demonstrated lower physiological rates such as heart rate and blood pressure (5). This, in consideration with other findings, indicates the disrupted ability to focus when experiencing emotions has a physiological basis and is not restricted to just emotions. Therefore, in order to help yourself focus try to care for any emotional ailments, even if they may not seem directly related.

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