Caller: "My concentration is shot!"
Ever felt this way? Stress and mood problems can affect our brains in many ways. Some are obvious and notorious, but some sneak up on us. One symptom in that sneaky category is impaired concentration. You may actually feel like you "can't think straight". Memory is impaired, especially short term. Decision making becomes mysteriously difficult. Organizing plans into a sequence of actions seems overwhelming and, as a result, necessary action on a range of life issues and tasks goes undone. This can lead to impulsive (not well thought out) decisions or excessive procrastination which can be a psychological straightjacket.
Many turn to medications for help. Results are mixed. Some meds actually create even more fogginess and sluggishness of thought. So be sure to talk about this with your doctor.
Other factors that can help tremendously.
1. Stop and deal with feelings or problems that have created this issue.
2. Get plenty of exercise
3. Make sure you are sleeping well. Get help if needed.
4. Perhaps get a physical exam and find out if there are other health related actions you can take.
5. Start eating better. Stress eating feels good for a few minutes but really makes the problem worse and adds additional problems to the mix. This includes overuse of alcohol or drugs.
6. Turn off the television and declutter your environment.
7. Reduce multitasking.
8. Avoid negative people.
9. Practice externalizing your attention. Do not get too "stuck" inside yourself.
10. And, my favorite, do every thing you can to put most of your attention on what you can control and much less on what you can not. Doing this wrong will wreak havoc on your life.