When I was a child and upset about something or other, my mom used to distract me. Rather than ruminate on the issue or try to fix the un-fixable, she would be like “look at that rainbow! Isn’t that awesome?” As a kid, I didn’t know what she was doing, but now that I have my own children I totally get it. Redirection helps kids to leave an issue alone.
Lately, I have realized the power of distraction as an adult. My mind tends to abscess about things that I cannot control. No matter how much I talk to my brain and tell it to shut up, it doesn’t always listen. I’ve been utilizing another technique to help myself and it works. I distract myself from the repetitive thoughts. These tapes in my head go over and over again if I do not take action. The action I am referring to you today is called “distraction.” I don’t know if that is a coincidence that rhymes but hey, let’s go with it.
There are so many things in our lives that we cannot control or change. There may not be an immediate solution to something that you’re coping with. One thing is certain, obsessing about a problem is not going to change it or make it go away. So what can you do? Let’s say you are with a friend and all you can think about is your recent breakup. You want to focus on having a great time with your friend but the negative thoughts keep swooping in. You can distract yourself by doing a few things:
1. Ask your friend what she’s been up to lately. This distracts you from ruminating about the pain associated with your recent heartbreak.
2. Take a look at your surroundings. Too often in this world, we are either on our phones or in our heads. I remember a time before technology took over this land. During that. period (the olden days) I lived in my head quite a bit more than I do now. And that says a lot because currently, I spend a lot of time obsessing about stuff. I make a concerted effort to look around me and noticed the things that I’m seeing; whether that means something beautiful, strange, or unexpected. This takes me away from the repetitious nature of the thoughts in my brain.
3. Go do something; anything at all. I literally mean go do something that takes you away from your head. You can go for a walk, bike ride, go to the park, or even go to the grocery store. Taking that concrete action of leaving your house and experiencing the world will help you exponentially.
Distraction is a powerful tool to give your brain a rest from overthinking. These are things that we can do to help ourselves. However, I always recommend seeking outside help when you were having trouble managing emotions that you’re experiencing in life. There are therapists from your area that can assist you in this process. Don’t be afraid to ask for help when you need it.
What about you? Have you ever used a distraction to help you cope with your intense feelings? Tell me about what works in your life when you have trouble getting out of your head.