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Anxiety and concentration issues?

I seem to really have trouble concentrating. When I sit down to study for example, it takes a long time before I get "in the zone" when reading. Until I get there, it's like my mind is obsessing about that I don't understand what I'm reading or that the work I have to do it too much, so I also tend to jump to one piece of text to the next aimlessly. I tend to do this with my thoughts as well. It's horrible for productivity and it even creates more anxiety. In a broader sense, I can also have trouble following a conversation because my focus is so fragmented. Anyone else experience this?
Category: Anxiety 7 years ago
Asked 7 years ago

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No doubt. Of course, as with almost everything, there can be other causes, but anxiety would be a common cause. My therapist says that we only have so much working memory, and when that memory is filled with anxious thoughts, its availability to be used for other things is limited. Memory is more complex than most of us realize, it's apparently a chemical process, not as simple as computers would use it. If I have something I would like to tell someone, something funny or relevant to the conversation, but the other person is talking, I try to listen to what they are saying. Can't tell you how many times my thought would disappear, almost in a flushing fashion, and I was unable to recall it. But really, what I had to say wasn't earth shattering, just contributory to the conversation. On the other hand, let's say that my coworker's spouse phoned work and I answered. He/she had no time to wait, but told me that their house is on fire, and to tell my coworker as soon as I see her/him. Now this is important. I would seek out the coworker immediately and tell them to contact their spouse. Now if I forgot this, if I saw the coworker but forgot to tell him/her about the house being on fire, I would suspect something more serious than simple anxiety. My doctor once told me if I can't remember where I put my keys, that's normal, but if I look at the keyring and can't remember what the keys are for, that would be an issue. Carl Jung, the famous psychiatrist, said that forgetfulness is merciful. We have a conscious mind (and that working memory) to deal with the here and now, but so much of our being is actually unconscious, only recalled when needed. We wouldn't be able to function if all our thoughts mixed together at the same time. Anxiety can cause you to lose focus, to preoccupy your working memory with other things, this is quite normal. If you research on the internet at all, look for Anxiety and Brain Fog or Anxiety and Cognition. See a doctor if you have concerns. Anti-anxiety medication may help. Get plently of sleep, preferably without watching the news or being agitated just before bedtime. And if you live in the Northern Latitudes, remember that winter brings less light, this reduces Serotonin levels, which can contribute to depression. Hope this helps.
Answered 7 years ago

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