If you find yourself asking the question, “Am I losing my mind?” more often than you’d like to admit, your short attention span or fuzziness may be your body’s way of telling you something is just not right.
Staying focused and on task requires your brain to working off of a complex cocktail of neurotransmitters and hormones. But you may be surprised to learn what can actually derail that process and ultimately, your ability to keep things straight in your mind.
Diana Bitner, MD, NCMP, FACOG, of Spectrum Health Medical Group shares the triggers for a short attention span or the inability to focus and provides insight into how to address each of these triggers to minimize their effect.
- Perfectionism is a double edged sword. While perfectionists can be very ambitions, they also have a real fear of failure. When you are worried, your brain tries to protect you from the potential failure and, ironically, by tuning out, it can actually derail your success.
- PMS – The week before your period, fluctuations in estrogen and progesterone can cause spaciness.
- Perimenopause/menopause – Hot flashes can make you distracted, wondering when will the next one hit?
- Disturbed Sleep – Night sweats can disturb your sleep which leaves you tired, unfocused, and irritable the next day can leaving you feeling foggy and sleepy at your desk.
- Unresolved Conflict – Because your brain perceives conflict as danger, it hones in on the threat in an effort to keep you safe, making it card to concentrate on anything else.
- Low Iron Levels – When iron levels drop, cognitive performance and concentration take a dive with it.
- A Vague To-Do List – If your to-do list is written in general terms, like “grocery shopping,” you’re not giving your brain enough information about what it needs to focus on.
Diana Bitner, MD, NCMP, is board certified in obstetrics and gynecology. She received her medical degree from Wayne State University School of Medicine in Detroit and completed her residency in obstetrics and gynecology at Butterworth Hospital in Grand Rapids, Michigan. Dr. Bitner is a certified menopause physician through the North American Menopause Society (NAMS) and was named the 2015 menopause practitioner of the year by NAMS. She has also completed specialized training with the International Society for the Study of Women’s Sexual Health (ISSWSH). Her interests include women’s wellness, prevention of heart disease, menopause and perimenopause