Directed Attention Fatigue and Restoration

Quickstart if You Are Currently Experiencing Severe Attention Fatigue

These articles are an overview of mental fatigue—not a trauma unit!

If you are severely fatigued right now, you need to take steps immediately. Severe attention fatigue is no joke.

It can make you more distractible, forgetful, impulsive, and confused. It can also make you more susceptible to accidents, mistakes, social outbursts, bad decisions, and being deceived or manipulated.

Extreme mental fatigue requires immediate action:
• If possible, get yourself in a safe place, and put off risky activities such as driving, extreme social encounters, big decisions.
• Get sleep. Take a nap if it is daytime, or schedule a good night’s sleep.
• Take a walk in nature, or at least find a place with a view of nature
• Do other activities that are fascinating and require little concentration, in order to give your concentration system a rest: play with pets or babies, watch a horror movie, read a good story, do some physical activity.

If, together, these do not help very soon:
• Find a counselor, therapist, minister, or doctor who can help.
• Keep doing the kinds of things mentioned above.
• Look through these pages for more ideas.

Canin, L. H. (1991). Psychological restoration among AIDS caregivers: Maintaining self-care. Unpublished dissertation, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor

Cimprich B., Pretreatment symptom distress in women newly diagnosed with breast cancer. Cancer Nurs. 1999 Jun;22(3):185-94

Kaplan, S. (1978). Attention and fascination: The search for cognitive clarity. In S. Kaplan & R. Kaplan (Eds.), Humanscape: Environments for people. Belmont, CA: Duxbury. (Republished by Ann Arbor, MI: Ulrich's, 1982.)


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