“Why can’t I focus on my job, my studies, and other important areas of my life?” If you find yourself frequently asking this question, today’s article can help you discover which of your habits keep you from focusing well.
In this article:
- Eating Very Poorly Weakens Your Resolve Against Distractions
- Not Getting Enough Quality Sleep Can Make You Lose Focus
- Dysfunctional Personal Relationships Can Make You Lose Focus
- Lack of Mental Exercise Equals Losing Focus
- Obsessing over Things Beyond Your Control Increases Unnecessary Distractions
“Why Can’t I Focus?” – 5 Bad Habits That Make You Lose Focus
1. Eating Very Poorly Weakens Your Resolve Against Distractions
Unable to concentrate? It might be because of your diet.
The foods and drinks you consume can greatly impact your mental performance, including the ability to focus. This can affect your blood sugar levels, which is what may be causing your difficulty to stay focused.
Volatile blood sugar levels are one of the most powerful enemies of focus. This means that your blood sugar levels frequently spike and crash.
Blood sugar crashes give you brain fog and poor cognitive performance, and make you feel sluggish, lethargic, and sleepy.
Sugar crashes frequently come after sugar spikes caused by sugar-rich foods. While sugar spikes make you feel energetic, it’s actually a different kind — hyperactive.
Hyperactivity is another arch-nemesis of the ability to focus well on anything. In this state, your attention span is shorter and you can’t concentrate on one task at a time because you’re easily distracted.
A diet that’s chock full of simple or sugary carbohydrates like white bread, donuts, and other sugary stuff makes for volatile blood sugar levels. Therefore, if you want to improve focus, most, if not all of your daily carbohydrate consumption must be low-glycemic, complex carbohydrates.
Low-glycemic complex carbs give you steady energy minus the sugar spikes and consequent crashes. Steady blood sugar levels help you stay consistently energetic rather than hyperactive.
Some of the best sources of such carbohydrates include oats, whole wheat bread and pasta, brown rice, and sweet potatoes.
Going hungry for too long also leads to sugar crashes, which affect your ability to focus. If possible, eat complex carbohydrates with some protein every two to three hours to prevent your blood sugar from crashing in between meals.
2. Not Getting Enough Quality Sleep Can Make You Lose Focus
Sleep deprivation deprives your brain of rest and recovery opportunities. Without those, your brain has a hard time functioning well throughout the day and you definitely have a problem paying attention and ticking tasks off that to-do list.
Getting enough quality sleep means getting the minimum number of hours of deep sleep. Even 10 hours of shallow sleep every night won’t cut it if you want to improve your ability to focus.
It’s often better to focus on deep sleep first. When you get to sleep deeply, you may find you don’t need as many sleeping hours to feel optimal.
Here are some practical tips for getting a deep and restful sleep every night:
- Turn off all electronic gadgets at least 30 minutes before hitting the sack.
- Lay off the caffeine, such as coffee and energy drinks, after 3 p.m.
- If you’re not comfortable or unable to sleep in pitch-black darkness, wear an eye or sleeping mask instead.
- If possible, keep your room’s temperature between 60 and 67 degrees Fahrenheit for optimal sleep.
- Listen to binaural beats while you sleep.
- Push negative thoughts and worries out of your brain. Just relax.
3. Dysfunctional Personal Relationships Can Make You Lose Focus
Romantic or otherwise, dysfunctional relationships and the negative emotions they trigger (i.e. anxiety, restlessness) can cause chronic high emotional stress that competes for your mind’s limited attentional space. Whether you like it or not, your closest personal relationships have a huge impact on other areas of your life as well.
If they’re thriving and strong, they give you joy and strength, and won’t affect your focus. If these personal relationships are messy, you’ll be in a mental mess, and will have a hard time staying focused.
Prevention is better than cure, so work on maintaining and strengthening healthy relationships. If you have dysfunctional relationships, try to fix them to put your mind at ease, avoid stress, and consequently, improve your focus.
4. Lack of Mental Exercise Equals Losing Focus
There’s a whole lot of truth in the saying “Use it or lose it.”
One of them is muscular atrophy, where muscles shrink when inactive for a long time. The same is true for skills, which deteriorate when people don’t practice them for extended periods of time.
When you don’t use your mind regularly, it becomes weak just like any other muscle or deteriorates the way skills do. And along with it, your ability to focus deteriorates and remains weak, too.
The solution? Exercise your mind every day!
One of the best ways to exercise your mind and improve focus is to come up with at least 10 new ideas every day.
To generate new ideas, you need to use your mind to think. Thinking requires focus, so by thinking regularly, you exercise your ability to focus regularly, too.
Thinking of one idea is nothing. Even up to five ideas feels comfortable. Around eight ideas is where it starts getting more challenging, which helps expand your mind.
If you want to improve your ability to focus, you need to train your mind outside of its comfort zone. If you always do what you always did, you’ll always get what you always got, including poor focus.
5. Obsessing over Things Beyond Your Control Increases Unnecessary Distractions
Some things in life you have complete control over. These include what you say, what you do, and how you do them.
But there are many things you don’t have control over. These include how people feel or think about you and how much success or failure you’ll experience in life.
Obsessing over things you can’t control can prevent you from focusing on life, particularly on what really matters.
When you obsess over what you can’t control, anxiety about how such things will pan out fills your mind. If you frequently experience anxiety, don’t expect to be able to focus well on other, more important things.
When you choose to work on those things you have complete or great control over, feeling very confident about the results happens more frequently. Then, you’ll feel more at peace and relaxed, both of which foster an ability to focus well.
“Why can’t I focus? Chances are, these five habits may be responsible for your losing focus when you need it most.”
How about you, what habit that makes unable to pay attention and concentrate? Let us know in the comments section below.
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