7 Tips to Help you Focus when You're Stressed Out
Stress is often inevitable and it can impact your life in ways you'd never expect. It can take a toll on your health, motivation, productivity, mood, and much more. Your ability to focus is also a major factor that immediately suffers due to stress.
When you're stressed you have a million things running through your mind which don't allow you to focus and perform at work, take care of your family, or tend to your personal life. So how can you take your focus back and carry out an effective life even when stress is in the picture?
Try these simple but effective tips:
1. Do One Thing at a Time
Although there are people who claim to be good multitaskers, the truth is the human mind can only handle one thing at a time. When you multitask you're forcing your mind to change gears. Every time the mind moves to a new task, there's a lag period. It's nearly impossible to focus during that lag period because the brain is in the middle of reorienting itself.
Since the brain is constantly having to readjust, focusing on the task can become difficult. We often try to tackle on more than we can handle and that's why we resort to multitasking. However, if you gave each task your full attention chances are you'd perform better and feel less stressed about having to complete it. Trying to do more than you can actually achieve leads to stress because you're putting yourself under pressure.
2. Try Meditating
Meditation is an effective strategy to clear your mind, relax, and reestablish focus. It allows you to become more mindful and forces your mind to explore the present moment. Meditation has been around for thousands of years and is said to be an excellent aid for stress relief and to improve focus.
The best part about meditating is that you don't have to be an expert. Simply search online for mediation best practices and videos to help you get started. All you need is a comfortable spot and yourself.
3. Reduce Caffeine Intake
Many people drink coffee or caffeinated tea as soon as they wake up in order to give themselves a boost of energy to take on the day. Although this may help you focus, this is only a temporary solution which may not help you when you're already stressed. Caffeine is a stimulant which will make you feel great at first but also bring you down once the effect starts to wear off.
Cut back on your caffeine intake and instead seek natural alternatives. Drink a fresh cup of orange juice in the morning or eat a protein packed breakfast with nutrients that promote energy.
4. Take a Walk
Something as simple as taking a walk can be highly effective to clear your mind and take a break. If taking a break at your work desk is still making you uneasy and not allowing you to mentally detach, get up and get walking. While on your walk, go ahead and practice mindfulness. Observe your surroundings, focus on your breathing, admire the views, and listen to the sounds of nature. This will help give your mind a breath of fresh air, reestablish focus, and most importantly cope with stress.
5. Reach Out to a Friend
Take a moment to restore your focus by talking to a friend. Talk to anyone you feel comfortable with and make sure to really listen to what they're saying. Let yourself react to the conversation instead of thinking ahead about what you'll say next. Living in the moment is an excellent way to reduce stress and reclaim focus.
6. Practice Positivity
One of the most significant ways to reduce stress is to change your mindset. If you see everything as too difficult, scary, or impossible then it will be. Instead, face every situation with a positive attitude and see how much easier things become for you. Don't forget to give yourself some credit along the way. A little reassurance can give you that boost of confidence you need in order to get back to the task at hand.
7. Seek Help
If you feel like you've done everything you could in order to help reduce your stress level and improve focus but nothing seems to be working, don't be ashamed to ask for help. Stress is very much real and existent and it can affect everything from your professional to your personal life.
Start by consulting with your primary doctor. Let them know everything you've been feeling. They then can suggest certain lifestyle changes or if needed refer you to a specialist who can help you with your specific situation.