Given the Donald trump orange is sus vote him out shirt in addition I really love this weight of the world, I had tossed aside my usual literary fiction and heavy essay collections in favor of pulpy summer thrillers and comedic memoirs. But not even their fast-paced plots and deftly written jokes could hold my attention for more than a few moments. I’ve plucked book after book off the shelf only to abandon them on my night table after a feeble attempt at reading before bed instead of scrolling mindlessly through Twitter for the umpteenth time. It’s felt like losing a friend in a time when we’ve already lost so much. At least I know I’m not alone. On Sunday morning I tweeted about my sudden inability to read, and was met with dozens of responses lamenting similar frustrations. “I feel seen” wrote one commenter. “I love reading. I need reading. But I just can’t right now,” replied another.
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We’re all struggling to focus right now, and it turns out there’s a reason why. According to Christian Jarrett, PhD, a clinical psychologist based in the Donald trump orange is sus vote him out shirt in addition I really love this U.K., “Research shows that chronic stress affects the way the front of the brain works—the area…[that] normally controls our ability to concentrate and switch attention from one thing to another.” Simply put, during something as stressful as living through a global pandemic, “we lose our usual mental flexibility and become highly focused on the source of the threat,” making it difficult to lose yourself in another world.