Concentration

Help for improving concentration and preventing adult and child concentration problems.

Select a Topic

  1. What are Concentration Problems?
  2. Diagnosing Concentration Issues
  3. What Causes Concentration Problems?
  4. Help for Concentration Issues
  5. More Information on Concentration and Focus Problems

What are Concentration Problems?

Concentration is the ability to focus attention on a task for a period of time, while blocking out other distracting thoughts. These can include background noise, visual distractions and wandering thoughts.

The ability to concentrate makes work easier, improves attention spans and results in fewer mistakes.

Focusing skills have become an even bigger challenge in today’s digitally connected world. Phone calls, text messages and social media are all distractions that make it harder to pay attention in the present moment.

Distractions make it difficult to think clearly, stay focused on a task or maintain attention span. These skills are critical for brain function, learning new things and improving performance in many different situations. Severe concentration problems can have serious mental, physical and emotional consequences.

Diagnosing Concentration Problems

A person’s ability to stay focused depends on a combination of factors:

  • Dedication or commitment to the task at hand
  • Interest in the task
  • Skill and ability to perform the task
  • A content emotional and physical state
  • An appropriate environment with few distractions

If these elements are balanced, the brain can stay focused on the desired stimuli and block out unwanted or irrelevant thoughts. When they are out of balance, it becomes harder to concentrate.

Sometimes, our lack of focus is simply due to material that is uninteresting or too complicated. Or, we may feel physical discomfort, suffer from emotional distress, or hear too much noise in the room. When we eliminate these distractions, paying attention becomes easier.

In children, attention troubles can be an early sign of learning disorders or disabilities. If lack of focus gets in the way of a child’s daily functioning, have them evaluated by a healthcare professional.

Dropping grades at school, declining performance at work, and a change in physical abilities can all indicate a problem.

What Causes Concentration Problems?

Each person is unique, so what causes distraction for one person may not bother another at all.

Internal Causes of Concentration Problems

Physical Factors:

  • Exhaustion
  • Lack of sleep
  • Unbalanced diet or hunger pangs
  • Lack of exercise
  • Stress
  • Medications
  • Alcohol or drug abuse

Many medical conditions can affect the ability to stay focused: illness, depression, ADHD, bipolar disorder, dementia and insomnia.

Being unable to focus can also be a side effect of certain medications. Ask your doctor or pharmacist about your prescriptions. Don’t change your medication unless advised by your doctor.

Psychological Factors:

  • Boredom
  • Daydreaming
  • Overload
  • Fear
  • Guilt
  • Mental Burnout
  • Lack of motivation
  • Distracting thoughts
External Causes of Concentration Problems

Environmental Factors:

  • Noise
  • TV
  • Smartphones
  • Computers
  • Poor lighting
  • Temperature
  • Visual stimulation
  • Pollutants
  • Nearby Activity

Personal Factors:

  • Personal issues and interruption from other people, such as family members, spouse, friends and colleagues.

Help for Concentration Problems

Treatment for concentration problems depends on the reason you’re having trouble focusing.

Make an appointment to see your doctor if:

  • Your memory is affected worse than usual
  • You’re experiencing decreased performance in work or school
  • You have difficulty sleeping or unusual feelings of tiredness
  • Your lack of focus affects your ability to enjoy your life or function day-to-day
  • Your ability to enjoy life is affected

Doctors may prescribe medication when needed. Be sure to ask about possible side effects.

For a more natural approach, make simple changes in diet, sleep, exercise and daily routine. Consider dietary supplements to improve your concentration:

  • Focus Formula™ for Concentration and Mental Focus – promotes focus and attention span, staying on task and memory.
  • StudyPlus™ for Promoting Study Performance promotes memory and concentration, alertness and endurance; promotes calm.

Attention issues are rarely a medical emergency, but seek medical care if any of these symptoms occur:

  • Loss of consciousness
  • Numbness or tingling on only one side of the body
  • Severe headache
  • Severe chest pain
  • Sudden, unexplained memory loss

More Information on Concentration

Boosting Focus While Studying

Here are some tips to improve attention while you study:

  • Eliminate distractions around you. Reduce disruptions from family, co-workers, phone notifications and background noises.
  • Eliminate distractions around you. Reduce disruptions from family, co-workers, phone notifications and background noises.
  • Study in a quiet, well-lit, comfortable space.
  • Create a routine study schedule and stick to it.
  • Set objectives for each study session.
  • Use checklists to say on track.
  • Fight monotony by changing up your study routine every so often.
  • Take regular breaks, even if they’re just 5 minutes long.
  • Create a reward for reaching your study goals.
Physical Fitness Improves Concentration

Keeping physically fit is important for concentration. Research shows that people who participate in sports can perform better on mental tests than people in poor health. When your body is in good shape, your mental performance will improve.

Follow these useful tips:

  • Eat a healthy, balanced diet.
  • Eat small meals throughout the day, and avoid heavy meals that can cause sluggishness before studying.
  • Include vitamin supplements into your diet.
  • Drink plenty of water while you are studying and when you are feeling lethargic.
  • Limit your caffeine and sugar intake, as they increase anxiety.
  • Regular exercise not only improves your concentration but increases energy levels.
  • Sufficient rest, regular sleeping patterns, and relaxation are necessary for memory and concentration.
  • Check medications for side effects.
  • Get regular "green time", meaning exposure to nature either from house plants or going outside.
 
The content provided is for informational purposes only. It is not a substitute for professional medical advice. If you have a health condition, please consult a medical professional and do not use this information to self-diagnose or self-treat.
References:
  1. Cherry, Kendra. “7 Useful Tips for Improving Your Mental Focus.” VeryWellMind. Accessed January 7, 2020. https://www.verywellmind.com/things-you-can-do-to-improve-your-mental-focus-4115389
  2. Uscher, Jen. “6 Top Concentration Killers.” WebMD. Accessed January 7, 2020. https://www.webmd.com/balance/features/top-concentration-killers#1\
  3. Nichols, Hannah. “Five ways to boost concentration.” Medical News Today. Accessed January 9, 2020. https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/320165.php#1
  4. Nall, Rachel. “What Makes You Unable to Concentrate?” Healthline. Accessed January 9, 2020. https://www.healthline.com/health/unable-to-concentrate
  5. Griffey, Harriet. “The Lost Art of Concentration: Being Distracted in a Digital World.” Accessed January 9, 2020. The Guardian. https://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2018/oct/14/the-lost-art-of-concentration-being-distracted-in-a-digital-world