We live in a fast-paced era. People wear multiple hats due to work, school, families,
volunteer responsibilities, and social and personal relationships. With such
constant demand, our minds become overloaded and sometimes we find it difficult
to concentrate. Stress radically reduces our abilities to concentrate.
If you feel that you have difficulty focusing, it may be symptomatic of a
bigger issue. From boredom to lifestyle choices, from medication to health
your first step is to identify if your difficulty concentrating is based on
an internal or external cause. Once you understand the cause, you have the
to control it.
Internal causes include:
- Physical - exhaustion, hunger, medications, drug or alcohol use
- Psychological - avoidance, intimidation, boredom, overload, daydreaming,
External causes include:
- Environmental - noise, visual stimulation, activity, lighting,
- People - colleagues, family, spouse, neighbors
Mental Health Conditions That Impact Concentration
- Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD)
- Bipolar disorder
- Substance abuse
- Learning disabilities
- Physical illness
Tips on Improving Concentration
- Set reachable goals
- Focus on one thing at a time
- Break large jobs into small tasks
- Create checklists
- Re-examine your habits and routines
- Strengthen your organizational skills
- Eliminate distractions
- Get plenty of rest
- Review your medications for side effects
- Exercise regularly
- Improve your diet
- Watch your sugar and caffeine consumption
- Set boundaries with people who are distracting or stressful
- Visit a Marriage and Family Therapist to learn coping skills
- Visit your physician to eliminate illness as a factor
What You Can Do Right Now
- Start at the Beginning.
Determine the cause of your inability to concentrate and then take the first
necessary step to gain control of the cause. For example, if
your inability to focus on your homework is due to a noisy neighbor, you
to study, ask your neighbor to hold down the noise, or wear a
pair of earplugs.
- Ask for Help.
If you believe your lack of focus is due to a medical condition or
the side effect of a prescription drug, you should contact your primary
If you suspect your inability to concentrate is a signof a more
serious mental health condition such as anxiety or depression,
a licensed Marriage
and Family Therapist. A Marriage and Family Therapist can
also help you learn better coping skills.
- Break it Down.
When overwhelmed with a large project or challenge, break it down
into smaller, more manageable tasks or components. What may seem
in its entirety
can often be readily managed piece by piece. A checklist
can help keep you on track.
- Set Boundaries.
Stick up for yourself by setting realistic and fair boundaries.
While you should consider the needs of others, you do not have
it's human nature to fear not being liked, it's sometimes
hard to tell someone that
you can't help them or that you need quiet time. A therapist
can help you learn how to communicate directly and honestly so
that you can