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Grief and Concentration: Overcoming Your Inability to Focus

10 months ago

You are in your workspace, and it suddenly dawned on you that you have been staring at the window, lost in memories or thought, for thirty minutes, and you are already late for an engagement. So you got into your car and turned on the engine. 

The streams of thoughts keep trickling into your mind. Surprisingly, you took no notice of the stop sign, an attitude that is alien to you. You were lucky there were no cops to pursue you for defaulting, and when you reached home, you placed dinner in a microwave, and two hours later, you could smell the air and tell that your food is burning. One day, you came back from work and met a notice at your door stating that you haven’t paid your rent for three years now. Not like you are short of funds. You just forgot that your rent was due!

You left for another room to get something, but when you got there, you forgot what you came into the room to take. And the experience keeps replaying itself in different ways…does this sound familiar?

Many people do not know how to manage their loss of focus on what matters because they are grieving. After the death of a loved one, overwhelming and constant distractions is one of the most common pieces of evidence bereaved people refer to when they believe they are going berserk. Before plunging deeper, let us address one thing. 

Concentration and grief do not go hand-in-hand. That is not to say that you are losing it. It is normal to find it almost impossible to concentrate when grieving. It indicates that your mind is occupied with something life-changing, painful, and overwhelming.

If your loss of focus is so extensive so that it becomes a source of concern for your work and family life, it is pertinent that you seek professional help from qualified persons.

Some fundamental tools and tips help you cross this bridge. Even though it is not accurate to say that time is a healer of every type of wound, it is indisputable that time helps with this concentration and grief

It will take an ample amount of time for your brain to come to terms with the new reality before you and how you perceive the world around you after losing a loved one. You are processing different emotions, anxieties, and fears. Your brain is trying its best to manage the situation, but it gets better with time.  

That said, we compiled some suggestions and tips to help you manage your loss of focus that stems from grief:


  1. Do not beat yourself up!

We understand that it can be quite challenging as you have always been a concentrated, wonderful, and efficient person. Yet sadness is the toughest because it often messes with your head. You are just an ordinary, nice, grieving person who is only trying his best to deal with it. 

So remember to give yourself some approval and time in those periods where you have broken all concentration rules and know that it’s fine. You are still a wonderful person, and to get your focus back, it could just take a bit of time, and perhaps, a little effort.

  1. Journal

Writing things down may feel like a crazy tip for grieving and focus management, but often the challenge is that you have too many ideas in your mind. You can’t have both of them in there and expect to concentrate. 

Writing a few of those reflections out in a diary will free some room at least momentarily) to help you concentrate a bit. It is nice to have daily journaling exercise, so just taking notes of some things you ingest while you feel distracted will give you a brief reprieve.


  1. Visualization and Meditation 

There are numerous psychological and physical advantages of practicing meditation, such as having more leverage regarding your perceptions and interactions with your emotions. It is a technique that helps you tip the scales when you are increasingly distracted and disturbed. It is outside the reach of this article to educate you on practicing meditation, but there are many resources online that can teach you how to do it.

Visualization is a tool that could also be effective in helping you push the accumulating emotions aside. This may appear like denial, but we will not endorse evasion! Yet, in certain situations, it will be necessary to help you cater to the necessities of life. If you are overwhelmed by absorbing emotions, take a couple of minutes to consider what you have been overwhelmed by and imagine yourself placing the feelings inside a room or box. 

You may close the door or lid, reminding yourself that you will return later, in a place and time that you want, to tend to those emotions. Once you close your journal or diary, you can do the same by consciously retaining your feelings on the pages so you can review them in a room that has no more detrimental effects.


  1. Take notes.

This is a simple thing, but if you are mourning, it is a particularly critical thing. If you think of something and lose the thought an hour later – a note can help solve that issue. Notes can be something you write or verbalize into a recorder. There are many voice recording and note taking apps. One we like is  Voice Recorder for Android and Rev Voice Recorder for iPhone.

You kept your activities balanced in your mind before the loss – and you can do it again just by modifying the strategy temporarily until you’re 100% again.


  1. Eat and Sleep 

One of the difficulties of grieving is that complications mount upon one another; it could be detrimental. Your appetite and sleep can become disordered earlier on in mourning; insomnia could become an unwanted visitor. 

When it has to with concentration and focus, even with no mourning, lack of food and sleep is a concern. Ensure that you meet the minimum calorie and mineral/vitamin requirements, even though you are not enthusiastic about food. It could mean pushing yourself to diet and making food decisions.


  1. Just do it

Concentration and focus can be challenges when you have a mission in progress, but it can also occur when contemplating when and whether to do something. There are times when we soliloquize by saying things such as, “I am too unfocused or distracted for any activity now, so let it so that I will do it some other day, probably, tomorrow.” The truth is, the deadline will come knocking on the door by the time you start. You can even feel stressed and overwhelmed, making focus even more unlikely.  

Just like a TV commercial from Nike will read, “Just do it.” You will be initially distracted, but starting it even with a thronging distraction is your best bet.


  1. Take breaks and use alarms. 

There are several productivity apps and techniques with different systems and philosophies that you can deploy to your advantage. While we do not recommend any one of them, it is easy to know that they all share something in common – they all encourage that you set specific periods for break and work. 

Some of them deploy alarms to get you more focused on the task ahead of you. When you use these systems to schedule your time, you can strike a balance between distractions and emotions by creating some space for yourself. Also, they can be helpful to get you back on track if you are becoming too distracted. You can get started by running a little research on Google. Read reviews about the different options you will see from your research. And afterward, make an informed decision on which to go for and get started already!


  1. Let the people around you help you.

It is perfectly normal to reach out to others around you for help. Asking for help may not be the most comfortable thing, but when you need an extra pair of eyes or ears, it’s handy. Help may come from co-workers, family, and friends. You can also get it from an expert like therapists, clergy or any combination of these people.

Losing a loved one is tough. There is no way around that, but remember you have one more tool in your arsenal: prayer. Praying for peace, clarity and strength will help you settle and focus better. Try it! And remember, when you pray, pray with thanksgiving and you’ll be shocked by the calmness that overtakes you. Here is the roadmap: Phillipians 4:6



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