Reasons Why You Cannot Focus - Unmuddle Your Mind
Sudden moments of forgetfulness or lack of focus can be unsettling, young people tend to just shrug it off, but the older we get, the more we worry that it may be memory function problems due to ageing.
Struggling to concentrate or focus:
It's reading the same thing for the third or fourth time and still not getting the gist of it, or realising that nothing was absorbed, or you've just sat staring at the page for 20 minutes.
You look at someone with whom you work everyday, and suddenly brain fade - you cannot remember their name.
You know you put the car keys in your pocket, but they are not there and turn up in the bathroom or fridge!
So let's look at the common causes for muddle-minds, and the high levels of negative environmental stressors which aid the deterioration in memory function.
Medical / Physical Causes
A blood flow problem in the brain can result in a sometimes severe memory loss or failure to concentrate. Visualisation and occupational therapy can assist in rebuilding some mental skills.
According to neuropsychology experts, the brain does not differentiate between what is actually being done and what is only visualised. Visualisation therapy can therefore help the brain/body re-learn after a traumatic injury.
The thyroid gland produces the hormone thyroxine which regulates how much energy the body uses.
See you doctor if you have the following symptoms of thyroid deficiency, replacement medication is the usual treatment.
• weight gain
• being sensitive to the cold
• dry skin and hair
• muscle aches
Weakness and exhaustion can result from the lack of red blood cells, as oxygen is not transported properly in the body. Anaemia is successfully treated by nutritional supplements containing iron.
Stress and Anxiety plays havoc with your health and your concentration. Use relaxation methods such as yoga, walking, deep breathing and maintain a healthy lifestyle to reduce the mental effects of stressful situations.
Depression - one of the common symptoms of depression is lack of focus. Deep depression can make it impossible to work or study effectively, and medical treatment may be necessary.
Sleep Deprived - Obvious one this, but prolonged sleep disturbances may require a doctor's visit to determine any underlying causes.
Substance Abuse - Any dependence on alcohol or recreational drugs will cause the brain to function less effectively. If you are on medication, check with your doctor that the side effects of the drug are not interfering with mental cognition.
- Pregnancy - especially in the later months, many women report forgetfulness and lack of focus.
- Menopause - A temporary disruption to mental acuity, may be experienced by some women, according to a study by the American University of Rochester's Medical Centre.
A knock on the head from sports or a fall can cause temporary confusion, while a more serious injury like a car accident could cause permanent damage leading to concentration difficulties.
In older people a common cause of injury is a fall which could result in confusion.
Immediate treatment after a head injury is vital to keep damage to a minimum.
Here are the symptoms of a mild head injury:
• Loss of consciousness for a few seconds to a few minutes
• No loss of consciousness, but a state of being dazed, confused or disoriented
• Memory or concentration problems
• Dizziness or loss of balance
• Nausea or vomiting
• Sensory problems, such as blurred vision, ringing in the ears or a bad taste in the mouth
• Sensitivity to light or sound
• Mood changes or mood swings
• Feeling depressed or anxious
• Fatigue or drowsiness
• Difficulty sleeping
• Sleeping more than usual
A more serious head injury exhibits some or all of the following symptoms:
• Loss of consciousness from a few minutes to hours
• Profound confusion
• Agitation, combativeness or other unusual behavior
• Slurred speech
• Inability to awaken from sleep
• Weakness or numbness in the extremities
• Loss of coordination
• Loss of bladder control or bowel control
• Persistent headache or headache that worsens
• Repeated vomiting or nausea
• Convulsions or seizures
• Dilation of one or both pupils of the eyes
• Clear fluids draining from the nose or ears
Recent studies found links between some movement difficulties, problems with the sense of smell and MCI or mild cognitive impairment.
Alzheimer's disease causes damage to the brain and short-term memory loss is often the first sign, along with word finding, vision/spatial issues, impaired reasoning and getting lost. Various medications are used to slow the progression of the disease and improve some of the effects.
Memory loss should be a cause for concern when it interferes with social, work or home life. However, there must be a perceived deterioration from a previous level of functioning, such as others commenting upon your forgetfulness or other symptoms, either mental or physical, are present.
Brain Exercise to Focus your Mind
Ensuring you Keep an Un-Muddled Brain
Physical exercise and a healthy diet is a natural given.
Keeping mentally active is the best approach - use it or lose it!
Try the following for staying in top mental shape:
- Make an effort to include a new challenge in your mental activities, say learning a new language, a musical instrument, or anything else involving brain cells
- Tackling the puzzles in the newspapers and magazines is a good mental exercise. Look up those clues you couldn't complete and see how you went wrong.
- Strategy computer games, or play station TV games, can be fun and challenging and don't have to involve guns and war if you don't enjoy that aspect.
- Keep positive, make time for relaxation and get enough sleep. If something doesn't feel right, please have a medical check up to ensure there is not an underlying cause.
- Telephone numbers used to be kept in our heads, so we could get in touch with important contacts within minutes. Many of us don't even know the phone numbers of our spouses, friends or close colleagues, but rely on electronic storage capacity of the phones we use everyday. Try learning the important ones.
- See if you have the important stuff in your memory banks, such as car registration number, bank account number, electronic banking log in, Tax number, etc. If not, maybe take the time to commit them to memory.
- Be sure to set aside periods in the day when your email and messages take second place to other tasks or close it completely for an hour or two.
Ways to look after your Brain
- Forgetfulness - Not Always Serious
Forgetfulness is not necessarily the forerunner of dementia, Alzheimer's nor part of an age-related mental decline. We look at all sides of forgetfulness from the serious to the funny.
- Dementia Risk? Keep Your Memory Sharp
New research shows that making simple lifestyle changes can significantly cut the risk of dementia.
- Which eReader is Best - Kindle or iPad?
If you are still thinking about whether or not an EReader is a good idea, read about the pros and cons of the Amazon Kindle and Apple IPad.
- Retirement - Now What?
What to do now that you have retired, to maintain your vitality and ensure that you and your lifestyle are exhilarating.
© 2012 Shelley Watson
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