Tunnel Vision

Psychological Flexibility | Problem Solving | Anxiety | Workaholic | Psychological | Goals | Therapy

You know you have tunnel vision when there is nothing else you can think of but this one thing that is on your mind. It might be a problem that you're tying to solve, a future event that you can't stop thinking of, or something that has happened in the past that you just cant seem to let go. You think about it when you wake up in the morning, during breakfast, at work, after work, in the evenings and even on weekends.

Having tunnel vision is not all bad, as it can create an intense amount of focus towards a future outcome. If that is some kind of project or result you need to achieve then you can experience an enormous amount of drive or concentration that can help you get you there. However, sometimes you can get lost in your vision and fail to notice everything around you, which may make you feel like you’re stuck in a void. This creates problems within relationships as the people around you start to notice that you're paying less attention to them, and you have started to feel distant from everyone else around you. You may be getting closer and closer to that “vision” but then you also realise you’re starting to forget things such as important dates, deadlines and decisions that needs to be actioned on other projects and areas of your life.

When you experience tunnel vision, there is almost always something that you are neglecting. Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) is a useful tool that helps people to develop Psychological Flexibility. ACT teaches you strategies to open up, be mindful and set meaningful goals without losing focus on other areas of your life. The focus of ACT is to clarify your values and to move forward towards meaningful goals in life while learning to skills strategies to manage different domains in life.

Think about these four domains in your life:

1. Work/education

2. Leisure

3. Personal growth/health

4. Relationships

Ask yourself how well you are doing out of ten in each domain (1= Not doing well at all, 10= Doing extremely well). Remember that it's not always possible to achieve 10/10 in all areas of your life and that's okay.

Let's say you rate:

1. Work/education 8/10

2. Leisure 3/10

3. Personal growth/health 4/10

4. Relationships 5/10

If these were your results, then you know that leisure and personal growth/health are areas that you need to focus on to feel balanced.

There may be reasons why you are focusing so heavily in certain areas of your life while neglecting others. You may be "caught up" in certain thoughts about your future which might sound a little like this:

"I need to perform well all the time in order to get ahead in life"

"If it's not perfect it's not worth it"