Do you feel like our attention spans are getting shorter? This is not just your imagination. New researches have revealed that human beings are, indeed, flakier than ever before.
It’s not unusual to find your mind wandering when you should be focused on a particular thing. According to a 2010 study, we spend nearly 47 percent of our waking hours thinking about something other than what we are doing. Some authors, such as Neil Postman in his book, Amusing Ourselves to Death, believe that the attention span of humans is decreasing as the use of modern technology, especially television, increases.
Roger Ebert, a movie reviewer and an active blogger and “Tweeter,” wrote of the effect of technology on his reading habits and his search for frisson on the web and in life.
Having short attention span can also cause problems. People with a short attention span may have trouble focusing on tasks for any length of time without being easily distracted.
It can have several negative effects including poor performance at work or school, missing important details or information, inability to complete daily tasks, communicating difficulties in relationships, and poor health due to ignorance and inability of practicing healthy habits.
What causes short attention span?
A short attention span can be caused by numerous psychological and physical conditions.
Some possible causes of a short attention span and other symptoms to be aware of are:
ADHD is a disorder usually diagnosed in childhood that often lasts up to adulthood. People with ADHD often have trouble paying attention or controlling their impulses. Children with ADHD may have poor grades and in some cases, they might spend a lot of time daydreaming. Adults with ADHD may often change employers and have repeated relationship problems.
The signs/symptoms of ADHD may include depression, periods of hyperfocus, forgetfulness, time management problems, disorganization, restlessness, and anxiety.
Difficulty in concentrating is a common cause of a short attention span. Depression is a mood disorder that can severely affect you. It causes continuous feelings of sadness and loss of interest in things that you once enjoyed.
Signs and symptoms of depression may include feelings of sadness and hopelessness, thoughts of suicide, loss of interest or pleasure, extreme fatigue, difficulty sleeping, or sleeping too much.
- HEAD INJURY
Attention problems are commonly reported after sustaining a brain injury. A head injury is any type of injury to your head, scalp, skull, or brain. It can be an open or closed injury and range from a mild bruise or bump to a traumatic brain injury (TBI). Concussions and skull fractures are common head injuries.
Symptoms of a head injury may include headache, dizziness, nausea, personality changes, vision disturbance, memory loss.
- LEARNING DISABILITIES
Learning disabilities are neurodevelopmental disorders that disturb the basic learning skills, such as reading and calculating. There are many different types of learning disabilities. The most common ones are:
The most common signs and symptoms of a learning disability involve difficulty following directions, poor memory, poor reading and writing skills, eye-hand coordination difficulties, being easily distracted.
ASD is usually diagnosed in childhood when signs and symptoms begin to appear. Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is a group of neurodevelopmental disorders that can cause social, behavioral, and communication challenges. People with ASD often have problems with emotional, social, and communication skills. Some symptoms of ASD include trouble relating to others, restricted or repetitive behaviors, aversion to being touched, difficulty expressing needs or feelings.
Everyone’s mind wanders from time to time and some situations can make it harder to remain interested and focused. There are things you can do to help improve a short attention span.
Some activities that can help you improve your focus are:
The benefits of exercise are endless and include improving your ability to focus. To improve your attention span, consider taking a brisk walk for 30 minutes a day or maybe four or five times a week.
• Drink water
Dehydration can worsen your ability to think. Staying hydrated is important for your body and mind. Being dehydrated for just two hours can impair your focus.
Habitual practice of meditation helps develop several beneficial habits, such as a positive outlook and self-discipline. It is evident that meditation can improve focus, and continued meditation can lead to improvements in sustained attention.
• Chew gum
Various studiesTrusted Source has found that chewing gum improves attention and performance at work. Chewing gum also appears to increase alertness and lower stress. It’s an easy way to improve your attention span in a pinch.
• Keep yourself engaged
If you struggle to pay attention during meetings or lectures, try asking questions or taking notes.
• Behavioral therapy
Behavior therapy refers to several types of therapy that treat mental health conditions. It helps identify and change unhealthy or self-destructive behaviors. The cognitive behavioral therapy is an effective way to treat inattention in people.
• See a healthcare provider
If you frequently have trouble focusing or your short attention span is interfering with your ability to perform daily tasks, see a healthcare provider.
Jasmine Mary Ekka is a passionate digital nomad doing a major in English, a word connoisseur who loves writing about raging issues, social change, and career conundrums.