I have problems focussing at work. What can I do to change it?
Having a brain fog or not being able to focus on stuff we need to get done is becoming an epidemic.
Many of us are unable to pay attention for over 15 seconds to our friend’s conversation and in under 2 minutes of doing something important, like writing that email, responding to an important text to your boss or doing some research on a new topic we tend to drift. Here’s how our brain works. It needs a constant supply of energy. It occupies such little space in our body but demands 20 per cent of our body’s energy. It is constantly at work.
When we eat foods that are nutritionally draining for our body – junk food, high sugar foods, foods that we are sensitive to such as gluten, dairy, lentils – our natural detox pathways, that is the liver and kidneys, become dominant. These organs send out a signal demanding more energy or sugar to metabolise the toxins from food. So these organs start to compete with our brain for energy. The issue worsens when we are faced with day-to-day “normal” triggers like the phone ringing or your messenger beeping. Our highly evolved brain knows the difference but our nervous system will look at all of these as threats triggering the flight or fight mode. This is exacerbated if you’ve had a traumatic experience in the past and have had to deal with anxiety. So your brain has to deal with low energy due to toxins, fight mode due to daily triggers and past anxiety issues all at once. This causes a lot of stress in the brain and releases cortisol, adrenaline which over a period of time causes insulin resistance. Sugar starts to build up in your blood stream due to this and your cells have difficulty using that as energy for the brain. This unstable energy from sugar keeps you shifting from the fight or flight mode making your brain getting easily distracted no matter how hard you try.
The solution is simple: Start eating clean, stay hydrated and take regular breaks from work to do some deep breathing. It’s a great way to stay grounded.
Rashi Chowdhary is a nutritionist, diabetes educator and creator of The Protein Bake Shop