I have lost my ability to concentrate. What’s wrong with me?

Nothing. You’re entirely normal. Sixty percent of perimenopausal women have cognition-related symptoms, including difficulty concentrating, according to a study published in Neurology. During menopause, estrogen production becomes erratic. This is important because estrogen helps communicate where blood flow is needed in the brain. Your body tries to compensate for too little (or on some days, too much) estrogen, which makes you tired and affects cognition.

60% of perimenopausal women have cognition-related symptoms, including difficulty concentrating.

Stress also interferes with cognition, so reduce the stress in your life by jettisoning commitments, toxic friendships, and any unreasonable expectations you have of yourself. Life is too short! Practicing mindfulness also reduces stress, as does exercise, which has the added cognitive benefit of getting the blood flowing.

Research shows that these cognitive symptoms eventually resolve. Knowing that may be a relief, but it still doesn’t help you right now. The next time you really need to concentrate on something, pick the time of day you’re feeling most on point, early morning or afternoon. Have a bit of caffeine, which increases arousal physiologically. And schedule a break after 30 minutes. It may sound counterintuitive, but brief mental breaks actually help you concentrate. Finally, remember that focus is like a muscle. By exercising your powers of focus, you increase them.

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