Can Environmental Factors Contribute To Your Lack Of Focus?
Environmental factors can influence disease and medical conditions and syndromes. There are a variety of environmental factors, including social factors like abuse and negative reinforcement. Toxic factors include consumption of, or exposure to, chemicals and pollutants. Stress is a broad environmental factor that can take on many forms. These factors can directly or indirectly contribute to a lack of focus. Steps can be taken to reduce or eliminate the mental and physical impact of environmental factors.
Stress reduces focus
Stress can create a variety of symptoms, and is a response to elements in our environment which we deem negative. One cause of stress is time constraints. In our modern world, we often feel crunched to get many tasks completed in a short amount of time. Juggling time for our kids, spouses, work, and community obligations can be a tremendous challenge. When we don't meet our goals, we can become anxious, frantic, worried, or depressed. In other words, we become stressed. Once we become stressed, it may be difficult to focus, and stay in the moment. When we're scrambling to meet a work deadline, we're thinking about picking up the kids; when sharing time with our kids, we're thinking about paying bills; and when performing a community service, we're wondering where all our free time went.
Negative social interaction affects cognitive function
A study from the University of North Carolina concluded that negative attitudes and generalizations about aging had a negative effect on older peoples' memory. The research also showed that when the negative attitudes toward aging are obvious, not suggested, one's ability to defend themselves from the impact is decreased. The evidence suggests that positive reinforcement results in positive results, in this case, improved memory. The ability to focus is another cognitive function which would seem to rely, in part, on a positive environment. For instance, if we are working in an environment where we are constantly getting negative feedback about our performance, it is likely that we will not be able to focus on the task at hand, perhaps worried that the result will not be up to standard. Similarly, if others disrupt our work or creative space with noise, irrelevant questions, or inappropriate behavior, the ability to focus will be severely diminished.
Toxins and their negative impact
Toxins can come in the form of an unhealthy diet centered on processed foods and saturated fats. As an example of a refined food that is toxic in large amounts, let's look at sugar. Refined sugar is a toxin that is often overlooked when we consider environmental factors and their impact on our health. Aside from causing cavities and having little if any nutritional value, refined sugar can cause serious health problems including diabetes and obesity. Sugar robs the body of essential vitamins and minerals, which the body must then exert energy to replenish. When we are robbed of energy, cognitive abilities like focusing become significantly impaired. Other cognitive functions are affected too, such as memory, the ability to calculate, and the ability to make inferences.
There is a substantiated link between environmental factors and their impact on our ability to focus. Stress, negative social interactions, and toxins are all examples of environmental factors which we must try to manage in our lives for our mental and physical health.