Cart
Checkout Secure

Have a Question? Call Us!

1-800-794-5355

Mon-Fri 8am-5pm MST

Difficulty Concentrating? 5 Reasons Why (And 3 Ways to Fix It)

By Adam Trainor August 27, 2019

Have you ever found yourself reading a paragraph in a novel, only to realize that you processed none of it and will need to read it again?

How about catching yourself starting to zone out during a conversation with a colleague or friend?

Or ever find yourself unable to focus on reading the news and prefer to just skim the headlines and close the tab?

The odds are high that you can relate to one of those above scenarios.

Distractions

Image source: tenor.com

These types of situations can be normal and they do happen to everyone once in a while.

However:

If you can’t concentrate on anything for a period of time and become distracted to the extent that you cannot finish an article, or forget about an important work meeting, then it’s time to be concerned and take action to improve your focus.

When Paying Attention Becomes Hard…

Lack of focus at work

Image source: whatsyourgrief.com

Okay, so WHY is it that I can't concentrate on anything?

Glad you asked. It's prudent to first identify the root of the problem before attempting to fix the problem itself.

The inability to focus can be attributed to numerous reasons, but here I have narrowed it down to the following five reasons that may cause lack of focus in people.

Other than a diagnosis of the widely known ADHD (attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder) and lesser known sluggish cognitive tempo (SCT) or concentration deficit disorder (CDD), there are other conditions and circumstances that can shorten one’s attention span and negatively impact one’s ability to pay attention.

Suspect #1: Anxiety

Anxiety

Image source: foxonanisland.com

Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD) actually lists difficulty concentrating as one of the diagnostic criteria for the emotional disorder, and it has been proposed that there is a strong connection between worrying and cognitive impairment. It is also a very frequent complaint among individuals living with GAD, and greater levels of worry or anxiety potentially worsen the clinical severity of impaired concentration.

Suspect #2: Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder

Another mental condition that can lead to concentration deficit is Post-traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), where survivors of a traumatic event may experience prolonged states of emotional numbness, social detachment, apathy, insomnia and irritability. When these patients have nightmares or sleep disturbances during the night, it then translates to fatigue and reduced concentration during the day.

Suspect #3: Major Depressive Disorder

Major depressive disorder (MDD), or depression is a widely prevalent condition that not only negatively affects a person’s mood and quality of life but is also strongly associated with cognitive impairment. Research has shown that there is direct correlation between the severity of depression and the level of cognitive deficits.

Symptoms such as diminished concentration and attention, memory deficits and inattentiveness may be present in depressed individuals, which then results in significantly lowered work productivity.

Suspect #4: Lack of Sleep or Insomnia

Insomnia

Image source: culturedvultures.com

Insomnia is a common condition that many people experience on a regular basis. However, to put things into perspective, an official diagnosis of insomnia requires dissatisfaction of sleep quality or sleep duration alongside night and day symptoms that are present of 3 or more nights per week while lasting for more than 3 months. The daytime insomnia symptoms include fatigue, low energy, mood disturbances, and impaired attention or concentration. A specific clinical study demonstrated that those with insomnia do perform worse on attention-related tasks compared to those who do not suffer from insomnia. Hence, when sleep-related problems arise, consequently focus and attention is also significantly reduced.

Suspect #5: Aging

Last but not least, aging is a contributing factor in the decline of selective focus and concentration.

Situated in the brainstem, there is a small nucleus called the locus coeruleus (LC), which releases noradrenaline during an arousal response to external stimuli. In younger adults, this response amplifies the focus to the most salient or relevant information to achieving the task on hand while suppressing other non-relevant information.

In contrast, in older adults, there is a decline in the locus coeruleus’ functional connections with the frontoparietal networks that is responsible for the coordination of attention selectivity. Hence, their arousal responses increase processing of all stimuli and information, regardless of its relevance or importance to the intended goal.

As one’s age increases, the capacity for selective focus and attention markedly diminishes.

How to Reclaim Your Focus?

Now, after presenting the most likely suspects that can lead to decreased focus and concentration, it is time to take the necessary steps to correct the issue.

However, before trying out focus techniques listed below or anywhere else, make sure you check with a physician to determine if there are underlying medical conditions, and whether any medications or non-pharmacological therapies are available to help treat the problem.

Follow a healthcare provider’s advice first and then feel free to incorporate one or more of the following methods into your routine and see if it offers any improvement!

Tip #1: Pomodoro Technique

Chances are you have heard of the Pomodoro Technique by now, as it has become quite popular in the last decade and been widely touted as a “productivity hack” in various news sources and social media feeds.

Developed by Italian graduate student Francesco Cirillo, the Pomodoro Technique is simple and straightforward yet surprisingly effective. The concept consists of allocating specifically timed work sessions to a single task and focusing on completing one task at a time before moving on to the next task.

Pomodoro for concentration

Image source: imgur.com

Although a typical Pomodoro session usually lasts 25 minutes, with 5-minute breaks between sessions, you are totally free to customize the length of both your work sessions and break intervals to fulfill your own needs and preferences. You can also use a variety of tools to time yourself, such as desktop apps, mobile apps, or even just a kitchen timer. This technique works for numerous people, as it eliminates multitasking, reduces procrastination, and reinforces memory. As well, since you cannot work on any other task, it compels you to complete the assigned task in order to move on to the next item on your calendar or to-do list.

Tip#2: Meditation & Mindfulness

Next up is a particular technique that not only extends one’s attention span, but also provides great benefit for those who can’t concentrate or focus on reading due to mind-wandering and distracting or anxious thoughts.

Meditation

Image source: advice.shinetext.com

Meditation allows one to practice regulating their mental awareness, focusing on the present, and maintaining their attention on the current task at hand. For example, in two studies where study participants underwent intensive meditation training and reading tasks, they significantly had less mind-wandering and lower incidences of mindless reading.

Hence, if you have trouble sustaining your attention on certain cognitive tasks, then meditation would definitely be worth trying.

I'd suggest starting your meditation journey with mobile apps that include guided meditations, as most of them are both convenient and user-friendly.

Tip #3: Eat & Drink Right

The diet and memory connection is real, which is why Harvard Health recommends steering clear of trans fats and saturated fats.

Instead, go hard on mono- and polyunsaturated fats and other brain-healthy goodies!

Among foods that promote brain health are whole grains, fruits and vegetables, fish, olive oil… and if you think I am just giving you a refresher on a Mediterranean diet right now, I'm actually talking about something even better: the MIND diet.

Vegetables

Image source: wifflegif.com

What about the drinks? Well, coffee and green tea have both been found to boosts brain function and improve memory, and hydrogen-rich water, due to its neuron protective effects and antioxidant properties, may lessen the age-related changes in cognitive functions such as cognitive decline and reduced focus.

The Sky is the Limit...

Though we have only listed 3 ways to improve your concentration in this article, know that the possibilities are endless it comes to making positive changes to your life.

With productivity being a hugely popular topic these days, there are countless techniques and apps to increase focus and optimize efficiency. Take the time to try out different approaches, adapt existing methods to suit your lifestyle, and honestly assess the end results.

Some techniques will work better than others, and it is important to decide what is best for you.

Also, remember to be patient with yourself, as building new habits take time and effort!

Read Also:

7 Tips To Lower Your Risk of Dementia & Alzheimer's

References:

Barkley, R. A. (2013). Sluggish Cognitive Tempo (Concentration Deficit Disorder?): Current Status, Future Directions, and a Plea to Change the Name. Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology, 42(1), 117–125. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10802-013-9824-y

Bryant, R. A., Creamer, M., O’Donnell, M., Forbes, D., McFarlane, A. C., Silove, D., & Hadzi-Pavlovic, D. (2017). Acute and Chronic Posttraumatic Stress Symptoms in the Emergence of Posttraumatic Stress Disorder. JAMA Psychiatry, 74(2), 135. https://doi.org/10.1001/jamapsychiatry.2016.3470

Burton, L. D. (2016). Can a Tomato Increase Your Productivity? Journal of Research on Christian Education, 25(2), 95–96. https://doi.org/10.1080/10656219.2016.1191926

Clark, M., DiBenedetti, D., & Perez, V. (2016). Cognitive dysfunction and work productivity in major depressive disorder. Expert Review of Pharmacoeconomics & Outcomes Research, 16(4), 455–463. https://doi.org/10.1080/14737167.2016.1195688

Fortier-Brochu, É., & Morin, C. M. (2014). Cognitive Impairment in Individuals with Insomnia: Clinical Significance and Correlates. Sleep, 37(11), 1787–1798. https://doi.org/10.5665/sleep.4172

Gu, Y., Huang, C.-S., Inoue, T., Yamashita, T., Ishida, T., Kang, K.-M., & Nakao, A. (2010). Drinking Hydrogen Water Ameliorated Cognitive Impairment in Senescence-Accelerated Mice. Journal of Clinical Biochemistry and Nutrition, 46(3), 269–276. https://doi.org/10.3164/jcbn.10-19

Hallion, L. S., Steinman, S. A., & Kusmierski, S. N. (2018). Difficulty concentrating in generalized anxiety disorder: An evaluation of incremental utility and relationship to worry. Journal of Anxiety Disorders, 53, 39–45. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.janxdis.2017.10.007

Kenwright, D., Charlton, A., & Grainger, R. (2018). Teaching twenty-first century trainees. Pathology, 50(6), 591–592. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.pathol.2018.07.001

Lee, T.-H., Greening, S. G., Ueno, T., Clewett, D., Ponzio, A., Sakaki, M., & Mather, M. (2018). Arousal increases neural gain via the locus coeruleus–noradrenaline system in younger adults but not in older adults. Nature Human Behaviour, 2(5), 356–366. https://doi.org/10.1038/s41562-018-0344-1

Morin, C. M., Drake, C. L., Harvey, A. G., Krystal, A. D., Manber, R., Riemann, D., & Spiegelhalder, K. (2015). Insomnia disorder. Nature Reviews Disease Primers, 1(1). https://doi.org/10.1038/nrdp.2015.26

Zamarian, L., Högl, B., Delazer, M., Hingerl, K., Gabelia, D., Mitterling, T., Brandauer, E., & Frauscher, B. (2015). Subjective deficits of attention, cognition and depression in patients with narcolepsy. Sleep Medicine, 16(1), 45–51. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.sleep.2014.07.025

Zanesco, A. P., King, B. G., MacLean, K. A., Jacobs, T. L., Aichele, S. R., Wallace, B. A., Smallwood, J., Schooler, J., & Saron, C. D. (2016). Meditation training influences mind wandering and mindless reading. Psychology of Consciousness: Theory, Research, and Practice, 3(1), 12–33. https://doi.org/10.1037/cns0000082

Related Posts

The Benefits of Exercise For Brain Health
The Benefits of Exercise For Brain Health
We all know that exercise is good for your body; we hear a lot about how it’s important for weight management, streng...
Read More
Is Dementia Hereditary? (+7 Tips To Lower Your Risk of Developing Dementia & Alzheimer's)
Is Dementia Hereditary? (+7 Tips To Lower Your Risk of Developing Dementia & Alzheimer's)
Is dementia hereditary? First things first: What do we even mean by the term "dementia"? Dementia isn’t really a dis...
Read More
Molecular Hydrogen and Depression
Molecular Hydrogen and Depression
Molecular Hydrogen and Depression As science continues its steady march forward, and our capacity for measuring and ...
Read More

Older Post Newer Post


0 comments


Leave a comment

Please note, comments must be approved before they are published

Why Use Molecular Hydrogen Tablets and Inhalation Machines?

In the body, H2 molecular hydrogen eliminates only the most harmful free radicals, thereby reducing oxidative stress and allowing the body to maintain optimal functionality and achieve balance.

At Vital Reaction, our H2 supplement is a natural antioxidant and anti-inflammatory molecule, which works rapidly to promote wellness and balance within the body, without adversely affecting cell signaling.



Moleculary Hydrogen, a unique antioxidant

Molecular hydrogen (H₂) is a unique antioxidant with the potential to revolutionize the self-care industry. By boosting your intake of this ordinary element (made extraordinary through our availability technology), you can reap multiple benefits. In the body, H₂ molecular hydrogen eliminates only the most harmful free radicals, thereby reducing oxidative stress and allowing the body to maintain optimal functionality and achieve balance.

Due to its extremely small size and superb bioavailability, a hydrogen supplement easily and rapidly travels far and wide throughout the body. It’s able to cross cell membranes, penetrating well into the cytoplasm of your cells and mopping up rogue free radicals. H₂ is a molecular hydrogen antioxidant that also crosses the blood brain-barrier with ease, and accesses parts of the cell that other antioxidants are incapable of reaching.

At Vital Reaction, our H₂ supplement is a natural antioxidant and anti-inflammatory molecule, which works rapidly to promote wellness and balance within the body, without adversely affecting cell signaling.

Free Radicals Cannot Be Eliminated — But They Can Be Limited

Free radicals are generated naturally — and inevitably — deep within our cells. They are a natural byproduct of the fundamental processes that enable us to generate energy from the foods we consume. There’s a reason we say we are “burning calories.” This energy-generating process literally uses oxygen to “burn” the molecules obtained from the food we ingest for fuel.

This process generates free radicals. In some instances, the immune system uses these highly reactive and potentially damaging molecules to attack foreign invaders and maintain robust immune function — so free radicals are not entirely negative.

As always, though, balance is everything. Many lifestyle activities — ranging from inactivity, to consuming fried foods, to avoiding fresh fruits and vegetables, to breathing polluted air — can affect one’s balance of antioxidants and free radicals.

Social Proof buy Molecular Hydrogen Tablets at Vital-Reaction.com

Molecular Hydrogen Tablets and Inhalation Machines From Vital Reaction

Consumable H₂ molecular hydrogen from Vital Reaction affords you the opportunity to boost your supply of one of nature’s most versatile, potent antioxidants. It’s the natural way to combat inflammation and promote healthful balance.

Vital Reaction offers high-quality molecular hydrogen products, including tablets and hydrogen inhalers. Tablets can be dissolved in drinking water for a quick boost, as part of your daily health regimen. With Vital Reaction, you get the most hydrogen per serving of any product on the market.

The most powerful antioxidant and anti-inflammatory, molecular hydrogen, offers these benefits:

  • Improve cognitive function
  • Reduce inflammation 
  • Promote cellular health
  • Increase energy
  • Have better skin health and tone
  • Improve sleeping patterns
  • Enhance athletic performance + decrease recovery time
  • Support healthy weight management
  • Hydrate at the cellular level
  • Prevent hangovers
  • Order Today

    Take charge of your health — and/or the health of your patients. Shop our molecular hydrogen supplements and inhalers today.

    Added to cart!
    Free shipping when you order over XX You Have Qualified for Free Shipping Spend $x to Unlock Free Shipping You Have Achieved Free Shipping You Have Achieved Free Shipping Free shipping when you order over XX ou Have Qualified for Free Shipping