How Anxiety Can Affect Concentration

Anxiety Affects Concentration

These are the things I have heard the past few weeks as I was experiencing anxiety. I was no longer happy with my work but at the same time didn’t feel like I could leave. In my mind, they were my second family. “I can’t afford to lose them”, I thought. Then, another opportunity came along. This was when my worry kicked into overdrive. Every possible question and scenario ran through my head. “What if no new opportunities come that I’d much prefer?”
“Are you sure you want to leave your friends and co-workers behind?” These are the types of questions that plagued my mind. Finally, I quit my job. It took a few days before my actions sunk in. I found it difficult to concentrate on my new work. I missed my old colleagues. I kind of freaked out. Is this what separation anxiety disorder feels like?

Anxiety disorders in the United States affect up to 40 million people according to studies. It is the most common mental illness in the country and the world as a whole. In this article, we’ll take a more in-depth look at anxiety and how it affects both the mind and body.

Anxiety– When we speak about anxiety, we are talking about a feeling of worry, nervousness, or unease, typically about an event that’s about to happen or something with an uncertain outcome.

Seven Types of Anxiety

Here are the seven main types of anxiety disorders:

  • Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD)– This is a common type of disorder involving excessive, long-lasting anxiety and worries about unknown life events, objects, and situations. With GAD, the trigger is not specified. GAD is also one of the least treated disorders. People with this type of disorder often find it difficult to focus on tasks that require concentration.
  • Panic disorder-.This refers to unexpected panic attacks. A panic attack is defined as a sudden period of intense fear that can lead to shaking, confusion, dizziness, vomiting, palpitation, shortness of breath and a feeling that something terrible is going to happen.
  • Phobia– This is characterized by an irrational fear and avoidance of an object or an event. It differs from other types of anxiety disorders, as they relate to a specific cause. The causes of phobia might be according to situations, animals or objects.
  • Social Anxiety Disorder– Afraid you’re being judged by everyone? Well, you might have social anxiety disorder. This is the most common type in the world, affecting up to 15 million people in the US alone. It is distinguished by a fear of being negatively judged by others in public situations. Fear of humiliation and can cause people to avoid being with others due to finding it difficult to operate in everyday living.
  • Obsessive- Compulsive disorder (OCD)– People with OCD tend to suffer from obsessive behaviour and intrusive compulsions. These tend to revolve around cleanliness, symmetry and aggressive impulses. Whereas adults often recognize their behaviour as irrational, children find it more difficult to.
  • Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)– If you have been traumatized by a previous incident in your life; this can lead to anxiety. People who experience such an incident might not be able to come to terms with what happened and keep on reliving it. There may be some changes a person can make to avoid triggers.
  • Separation Anxiety disorder– This is the heartbreaking disorder. It is called this due to the high levels of anxiety experienced if a person is separated from a loved one or place that provides feelings of security or safety.

Confusion between Anxiety and Depression

An excellent way to understand the difference between the two disorders is with the primary symptoms:

  • Anxiety: Apprehension over what could happen in the future. Worrying about an event that’s going to happen, or believing that the outcome could go wrong. Feeling like you need to disappear and avoid things that could cause further anxiety.
  • Depression: Feeling of deep sadness about the future. A sense that everything is hopeless. Listlessness and a lack of positive thinking things will occur. A little worry that leads to but future negative emotions. Possible suicidal thoughts.
Easy distractibility and unfocused thought processes

The minds of people with an anxiety disorder are full of racing ideas and almost always paralysed with apprehension. A brain that is increasingly active may prevent the person from focusing on new events or situations as well as effectively processing them.

An unfocused mind experiencing worry that subsumes all other thoughts is also marked by difficulties in trying to focus and remember situations and personal experiences from the past. It can be said that everyday thoughts are in a constant battle for space with random anxiety thoughts in the mind of an anxiety sufferer. This can eventually result in the temporary loss of some general memories.

Concentration and brain memory issues caused by anxiety can be resolved by following some basic guidelines and strategies such as keeping a daily activity journal, eating nutritious food, regular exercising, quit smoking, moderate alcohol intake, getting proper sleep with the use of sleeping techniques, and most importantly a CBT focused problem-solving approach.

Try the following options to do when anxiety affects your concentration

  • Have a break. If you’re working on a project that needs to be done immediately, try to have a break every 45 minutes with a timer. Take a walk or do a meditation techniques to reset.
  • Reduce caffeine. A cup in the morning may get you going, but too much caffeine intake can result in you getting nervous or tense.
  • Adjust your self-talk. Remove all the negative thoughts like “I can’t focus,” and, “I’m hopeless,” it will only make anxiety worse. instead say this:“I can focus and it’s normal to need a break.”
  • Get in touch with your breath. Practice breath-synchronized movement.
  • Tune into your senses. Rest your brain by closing your eyes but don’t sleep. Take a few minutes to stay in touch with what you hear, see (internally), smell, feel, and taste.

Scientists believe that thoughts, concentration, and other brain function issues caused by anxiety are not permanent and that they are not connected with any brain function loss. No matter how hopeless you may feel, this anxiety can be diagnosed and treated. Self-respect and self-love are the keys.

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