The word distraction is often closely connected to the idea of procrastination and wasting time, giving it a bad reputation. But are distractions ever a positive thing? In the field of mental health and emotional stability, women are taught how and when embracing distractions can be beneficial.
It is important to keep in mind the word distraction that is valuable to borderline personality disorder treatment and other mental health issues is not the same as avoidance. It is not watching TV and forgetting to complete a work obligation; or texting while driving down the highway. It is part of the very effective dialectical behavioral therapy module, and is a temporary way to keep from feeling overwhelmed by anxious thoughts and distressing emotions.
Frequently, one negative thought quickly escalates into a series of negative thoughts. Distracting allows the chance to stop this sequence from overpowering us and enables a clear mind.
Try distracting yourself with activities you enjoy or projects you have control over. Avoid turning to alcohol or drugs, as these are temporary reliefs that only devastate emotional and mental stability. Here are a few healthy distraction ideas:
- Read: If your thoughts are everywhere it can be hard to focus on reading and soaking up the words on your page, but reading aloud can help center your mind. If you’re up for something new, try reading a book (or passage) in a foreign language. It takes a lot of effort to try and pronounce words and sounds we are unfamiliar with.
- Make a list: Write a grocery list, to-do list, a list of baby names, or really any type of list. This is a very effective way to reorganize your thoughts and can potentially help you be more productive.
- Practice arithmetic: Even if you are not a fan of math, try adding and subtracting, multiplying and dividing simple numbers. It is a great distraction technique that can help us simplify our thoughts and feel in control.
- Play Sudoku: Really any game will help distract you, but Sudoku is particularly good. Games allow you to solve a challenging puzzle, which increases self-value, an important part of mental wellness.
- Socialize: Ask a colleague, friend or family member how they are doing. Keeping the conversation about them and not you helps distract the brain away from your anxieties.
- Write: If you like creative writing, scribble out a super creative story utilizing as many new words as you can. It is pretty entertaining to see what you can come up with.