Tag Archives: Brain

Driven to Distraction: ADHD and Your Environment – Part 2

distracted man with adhdNagging Thoughts That Won’t Quit

It’s next to impossible to focus on the task at hand if you’re worrying about errands you need to run or housework that needs to be done.

Perhaps you’re still thinking about a conversation you had yesterday and it keeps replaying itself in your mind.

Nagging thoughts of any kind can be a powerful distraction that keeps you from achieving your daily goals. The best way to keep nagging thoughts from sticking around in your brain is to write them down.

You can make a list of errands, chores or other tasks you plan to complete later. Save it for review at a later time when you can actually tackle the items you wrote down. Learn to let them go while you give your attention to the present activity.

The Powerful Grip of Stress

As mentioned above, when you feel that you are doing too many things all at once it can be hard to focus on individual tasks.

To make matters worse, stress has a palpable negative effect on your body. You may develop pain in your shoulders, headaches or palpitation, all of which can hinder your ability to concentrate.

To decrease your stress level, you can learn stress reduction techniques, such as meditation. It can make it possible for you to lessen the impact of stressful thoughts so they don’t demand so much of your attention.

Researchers found that people who took an eight-week meditation class were able to significantly improve their ability to focus

Chronic Lack of Sleep

Not sleeping well night after night can lead to daytime fatigue. It can, in turn, make it very tough to concentrate even when you have just a few distractions. There are studies that suggest that too little sleep can permanently diminish your ability to concentrate as well as your short-term memory.

Staying Hungry

It is a well known fact that the brain can’t focus without fuel. Skipping meals, especially breakfast, is a top concentration killer.

Research clearly indicates that short-term memory and attention suffer if you neglect to feed your brain the proper nutrients. The best way to keep hunger at bay and give your brain a steady source of fuel is by always eating breakfast.

In between meals you should eat high-protein snacks like cheese or nuts. Do not rely on simple carbs (sweets, white pasta) to boost your energy and choose whole grain alternatives instead.

A Cloud of Depression

When we think of depression and its devastating effects we tend to think of sadness as its hallmark symptom. However, the National Institute of Mental Health says difficulty concentrating is one of the most common symptoms of ongoing depression.

If you’re having trouble focusing while also feeling empty, hopeless or even indifferent to people and things your cared about before, you may be experiencing depression.

If you think you might be depressed, always seek medical advice. Depression is highly treatable and you could significantly be improving your attention span and ability to complete tasks.

distracted young couple

Driven to Distraction: ADHD and Your Environment – Part 1

distracted young coupleSocial Media Obsession

You or your child could be living with ADHD or perhaps having some trouble focusing from time to time. In any case, today’s world is full of concentration zappers that are difficult to escape.

Modern psychology can offer you a few tips to manage these distractions. When it comes to social media, for instance, it’s easy to connect with friends — and disconnect from work — many times during the day.

Every status update zaps your train of thought, forcing you to backtrack when you resume your work. This is a definite concentration killer.

In order to eliminate this problem, avoid logging in to social media sites while you’re working. Make a point to only log in during breaks, when a steady stream of posts won’t interrupt your concentration. Your brain will have an easier time focusing on the important task at hand.

You’ve Got Mail!

Email messages shoot into your inbox and demand instant attention . It would seem that they had to be answered immediately. It could be a real problem for someone with ADHD to feel compelled to answer every email (work-related or not).

Remember, that you won’t make much progress if you constantly stop what you’re doing to reply to every message. Instead, set aside specific times for that purpose. To make it even easier, during the rest of the day you can shut down your email program. This allows you to carve out blocks of time when you can work uninterrupted.

Cell Phone Blues

A phone ringing is a sound few of us can easily ignore. Unfortunately, answering a call not only robs you of the time you spend talking, but it can also cut off your momentum on the task at hand.

This is the time when caller ID can become your best friend. If you know that the call is not urgent, let it go to voicemail. Furthermore, if you’re working on a particularly important task, consider turning off your phone so you’re not tempted to answer.

Choose specific times to check voicemail. Listening to all your messages at once can be less disruptive than taking every call as it comes in.

The Age of Multitasking

If you are a chronic multitasker you probably feel you’re getting more done in less time. However, experts point very much to the contrary. Research shows that you actually lose time whenever you shift your attention from one task to another. The end result is that doing three projects simultaneously usually takes longer than doing them in a sequence.

Whenever possible, you will be more efficient devoting your attention to one project at a time. This is particularly true if you’re working on an important task that deserves all your focus. Save your multitasking skills for more mundane, household chores.

Boredom is your Enemy

Obviously, some of the tasks we have to do daily are more interesting than others. The most boring ones, the ones you don’t look forward to at all, may exhaust your attention span in minutes.

Any of the distractions mentioned above (your phone, your email…) can become the focus of your attention. Falling into the boredom trap is common and pointless.

Rather, think of it this way: If you stay on task for a certain period of time, you can give yourself a10-minute break. Often times boring tasks are easier to accomplish when you have something to look forward to such as a coffee, a favorite treat or any other small indulgence.