Do you feel anxious at times? Do you get frustrated when you feel anxious and you need to work on something important? Here is how to improve concentration when you’re feeling anxious.
One symptom of anxiety is to reduce working memory, which makes it difficult to concentrate on tasks at hand.
How does that work? Anxiety causes your stress hormones to be released, which means that more blood is sent to the limbs than of the brain. These stress hormones create a state of high alertness. This state makes it hard to use our intellect or focus on tasks at hand.
When you want to get things done, it is great to have some tools at hand to refocus on your tasks and improve your concentration.
How to improve concentration when anxious
What you want to do when you’re feeling anxious is trying to get to the root cause and refocus. The things you can do when anxiety negatively affects your concentration are:
- Slight distractions – put on some radio or other soothing sounds to distract your mind from your anxious thoughts. I found that Binaural Beats help to increase focus.
- Write your tasks down – when you have an entire list of tasks in your mind, writing things down can help. Your mind is trying to make sure you won’t forget the things you have to do. Why not help a bit by writing it down.
- Creating smaller tasks – when you’re trying to achieve big things, it is easier to get more anxious and seek distraction. Breaking down tasks so that they are easy to complete is a great way to improve concentration and reduce anxiety. You can keep your focus when working on it. When it is complete, move on to the next task.
- Taking a break – an important thing that many people often forget is taking breaks. When you’re feeling anxious, and you’re forcing yourself to concentrate more, that may not work. Taking a break is often all that you need to feel refreshed and continue working with concentration. Getting some fresh air and moving your body is recommended.
- Reducing caffeine – many of us depend on caffeine. I stopped drinking caffeine altogether about a year ago. My sleep improved, my concentration improved, and I felt significantly less anxious. Reducing caffeine may improve your concentration.
- Focusing on your breath – when you’re anxious, your entire body tenses up and your breath is shallow. If you’re on the edge of an anxiety attack, breathing is even more important. Inhale and exhale deeper and slow down your breath. Take four seconds to breathe in, hold it for four seconds, and breathe out for four seconds.
- Reframe it – a 2014 study found that it is effective to rephrase your anxiety as excitement. Tell yourself that you’re excited instead of nervous. Saying that you’re excited is a huge tip that has helped me over the years.
All in all
When you’re trying to get things done and you’re feeling anxious, know you’re not alone. Try to find slight distractions, write your tasks down, break up your tasks into smaller ones, take a break, reduce your caffeine intake, focus on your breath, and reframe your anxiety as excitement.
All of this will make you more productive and improve your concentration when you’re feeling anxious.