Have you ever felt that you’re unable to concentrate no matter what you do, and you just have no idea what’s going on? Sure, life is busy, but is it really any different than it was a week, month or year ago? The fact is your ability to concentrate can be affected by a ton of different things. Some of them can even build up over time while others are more of a sudden onset. In this article, we’re going to take a look at 6 reasons why you might be unable to concentrate. And we’re going to offer a variety of solutions, from adding CBD drops to your routine to eating and sleeping right. Don’t worry, we got you! Now let’s get started…
1) Chronic Conditions
The first thing to look at is your general health and any chronic conditions that you may be dealing with. Because, according to the CDC, they can play a role in cognitive decline, which will affect your ability to concentrate. The biggest issue comes for those who suffer from different types of chronic pain, which, according to research, will cause emotional distress that in turn affects your ability to concentrate. Different forms of common chronic pain to be on the lookout for are:
- Lower back pain;
- Nerve damage.
If you feel like one of these is an issue for you, get in touch with a healthcare professional to see what options exist for treatment. They may recommend prescription therapies, over-the-counter medication or natural supplements like CBD products.
Now, if you are on medication of any kind and also suffering from concentration issues, it might be the side effects of your meds that are giving you grief. According to our pals at Drug Watch, some of the most common side effects that people experience when taking medication include:
- Nausea and vomiting;
- Stomach upset;
- Heart issues (including palpitations, irregular heartbeats);
Looking at that list, it’s easy to see why concentrating would be hard if you’re suffering from one or more of those issues. Who can concentrate on a task when their bowels are in revolt or their heart is two-stepping to the beat of some obscure mumble rap track?
If you suspect your medication is to blame, and it is doctor-prescribed, definitely speak to them about it and never discontinue treatment on your own. If it’s over-the-counter and not doctor-prescribed or recommended, try talking to a pharmacist to see if there’s an alternative that’s better suited for you with fewer side effects.
3) Lack of Sleep
Not sleeping enough will have a huge impact on your ability to concentrate properly. According to researchers, there are two kinds of prolonged wakefulness, as they put it, and both can have really negative effects on our bodies, including our brains.
The first is acute sleep deprivation, which is when you have one or more nights with no sleep or severely reduced sleep. The other is chronic partial sleep restriction, which is when you’re sleeping between one and three hours less than you need to, per night. And, according to our friends at Northwestern University, any kind of sleep deprivation like this is going to cause huge cognition impairments.
Now, there may be some valid reasons why you’re not getting enough sleep. Some of them, like a newborn baby, you won’t have much control over. However, there are others, like excessive screen time before bed and a poor evening routine, which are totally within your power to fix. Get your sleep back on track and watch your concentration improve!
4) Hunger / Dehydration
If you’re hungry or dehydrated, you won’t be able to concentrate properly. That’s just science. If you don’t believe us, you can check out any of a number of school-focused initiatives like Filling Tummies. Their aim is ending hunger among students so that they can concentrate better on their school work and open themselves up to more complete mental, emotional and physical development.
But the examples need not be extreme. If you’re thinking about skipping breakfast or lunch to pack in an extra hour of work, you may be doing yourself more harm than good because you won’t be able to concentrate on your tasks quite as well with your stomach growling in the background.
Source: Antonio Guillem/Shutterstock.com
And then there’s the study that looked at the effects of dehydration on short-term memory and attention. They found that when dehydrated students rehydrated using water, they saw immediate improvements in these areas. That makes sense, because your brain is 75% water! So, give it what it needs to work properly. The take-home message here is that you need to eat and drink your liquids to stay focused!
5) Poor Nutrition
Now, building off our last point, let’s take a look at what you’re eating and drinking. According to research, food isn’t just a way to provide energy. It can also have an effect on your cognition, which influences your concentration. This happens because certain nutrients impact your body’s ability to produce and regulate gut hormones that can enter the brain and other hormones produced by the brain itself.
While it’s true for weight loss that a calorie is a calorie, when it comes to your body’s overall health, you’ll want to choose nutrient-dense calories. These include long-chain omega-3s, magnesium, calcium, and vitamins like B1, B9, B12, D and E. Your best bet here is to eat organic, fresh, whole foods. Here’s a quick list of foods good for your brain:
- Fatty fish like salmon and tuna.
- Cruciferous vegetables like broccoli, brussels sprouts and collard greens.
- Nuts and seeds like walnuts and pepitas.
- Citrus fruit like oranges and grapefruit.
- Eggs, like… eggs. Just eat them!
If you’re consistently feeding your body the right food, your concentration will be greatly improved. And if you’re worried about not getting enough of the right foods, consider adding a multivitamin to your routine.
6) Excess Stress
The killer of all concentration is stress and, unfortunately, it comes at us from so many areas in our lives. Family life, personal or romantic relationships and, of course, work. Research shows that stress has negative effects on us, from a cellular level all the way to our cognition and motivation. It’s no wonder, then, that if you’re suffering from one or more stressful situations or environments, that you simply won’t be able to concentrate. Here are a few quick tips on managing stress so you can improve your concentration:
- Get into a Routine: At home, at work, anywhere and everywhere. The more predictable your day is, the less it’ll stress you out. This way you know what is coming and that you’ll be able to handle it.
- Set Clear Boundaries and Expectations: Again, at home, at work and just about anywhere. If you know what you’re willing (or unwilling) to take on in a given situation, you’ll feel a whole lot less stressed trying to do everything.
- Make Time for Yourself: You need time for you. It could be a relaxing bath at the end of your day, some time spent playing guitar when you come home from work or a daily meditation to set yourself up right each and every morning.
Get Help: If things get serious, reach out for help. There are many mental health services available, and you don’t have to go through difficult times on your own. But if you’re just looking for a little nudge in the right calming direction, try a natural supplement like chill CBD capsules to get you there.