Sudden Fear Makes Me Lose Focus

16 November, 2016
Q As-Salam alaykum. My heart just starts to beat fast without any danger around me. It comes up when I try to get too serious with something and it makes me lose focus. Although this problem has lately reduced, I still feel it. What shall I do?



Wa ‘Alaikum Salaam,

It sounds like you are having problems with anxiety. Alhamdulilah, you say it has reduced, but it is still having an impact on your life and is, therefore, causing you distress. There are many ways to help manage and overcome such feelings.

The first and most important thing is to ask Allah (swt) for assistance in the matter. Make du’aa’ and ask Allah (swt) to help you overcome these distressing feelings. Accept it as His test for you and be strong and confident in the knowledge that Allah (swt) will come to your aid and will see you through this successfully when the time is right with patience.

You have noticed that this anxiety specifically occurs when you get serious about something and, therefore, you end up losing focus. This is always the first step in overcoming such feelings – identifying specifically when they occur. Alhamdulilah, you have already taken the first step in recognising this. Having pinpointed the major cause of anxiety can make it easier to apply specific techniques to overcome these negative feelings.

  • When doing a serious or important task, ensure you take regular breaks. Sometimes, if you work too hard on a single task, it can become stressful and contribute to losing focus. You might try working on the task for 25 minutes and taking a 5 minute break. It is often useful to take a break away from the work space to give your mind a complete break from the task so that you can go back with a refreshed mind ready to approach the task with focus again.
  • Alhamdulilah, Islam provides us with a daily structure around prayers. So, make sure to adhere to this obligation and use it as a chance to take a complete break from the task you are doing and completely leave it behind focusing your attention solely on your prayer.
  • Make sure you are getting enough sleep each night. Often, a lack of sleep can be the cause of being unable to focus. If you feel unable to sleep, then look to your daily habits like exercise and diet and ensure that they are all conducive to a good night’s sleep. Things like cutting back on caffeine might help.
  • Write down a plan of all the things you need to do to accomplish the task at hand. This gives you a physical record to refer to if you feel yourself losing focus.
  • Engage in other hobbies. Something completely different to what you are working on so you have a complete break and avoid exhaustion from the task at hand which can also contribute to losing focus. Not spending too much time on and taking care of other aspects of your life can assist in maintaining passion for the task you are working on and will, therefore, help improve focus. This will also help you to relax as well. It seems, in your case, it is in the moment that you get serious that you lose focus, so learning to relax will help you to approach your task in a more relaxed manner.
  • Ensure that “being serious” about something does not mean that this task is not being carried into all aspects of your life. If it’s a work matter, then ensure it remains at work and you do not bring it home. Likewise, if it’s a matter at home, then don’t take it to work. Don’t let it be a task that takes over your life. Have a dedicated time of day that you commit to the task and don’t let yourself go beyond this as it can lead to this loss of focus that you speak of or in the worst case, burnout.

If these feelings are persistent and you see no improvement, or they get worse and effects more aspects of your life, then it is recommended that you seek further psychological help and support.

May Allah (swt) bring you ease in your anxieties and bring success in all of your endeavours.



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About Hannah Morris
Hannah Morris is a mum of 4 and she currently works as Counsellor and Instructor of BSc. Psychology at the Islamic Online University (IOU). She obtained her MA degree in Psychology and has over 10 years of experience working in health and social care settings in the UK, USA, and Ireland. Check out her personal Facebook page, ActiveMindCare, that promotes psychological well-being in the Ummah. (